From the hills of West Virginia to the Grand Ole Opry Stage, Little Jimmy Dickens became one of Nashville’s greatest legends. The story of Little Jimmy Dickens marvels many country music fans and has earned the respect of generations of country music stars from the mid 1940s till today. In the late 1930s, Dickens performed on a local radio station while attending West Virginia University, setting the tone for a lifelong musical career that few will ever surpass. He was a man big enough to fill any shoes in the history of country music. He was a legend. The King of Nashville Country.
During one of his road shows, Dickens was performing on WKNX, a radio station in Saginaw, Michigan and was heard by country music legend Roy Acuff. Acuff noticed his talent and introduced him to Art Satherly at Columbia Records and officials from the Grand Ole Opry. This sparked the signing of a record deal with Columbia Records and the joining of the Grand Ole Opry road show. Dickens was a Columbia Records recording artist for 19 years, where he recorded over 200 songs. Songs like “Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait),” “Country Boy” and “A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed”, which set the tone for what was yet to come. The sound of Little Jimmy Dickens really caught on, and he went on to become a household name. “Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait)” earned Little Jimmy the nickname “Tater,” given to him by friend Hank Williams, Sr.
He impacted many legendary country artists throughout his career. During one of his performances with the Grand Ole Opry road show, he discovered Marty Robbins at a Phoenix, Arizona television station. His musical style also affected many performers to come. Little Jimmy Dickens was the original novelty artist, with songs like “May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose,” which led the way for artists like Ray Stevens, Pinkard & Bowden and Cledus T. Judd. Dickens left the Grand Ole Opry road show to tour with the Philip Morris Country Music Show in 1957, but he returned to the Grand Ole Opry in 1975 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1964, Little Jimmy Dickens became the first country music entertainer to completely circle the globe on his world tour. He was a true entertainer, and he performed 300 nights a year for many years.
Little Jimmy Dickens and his wife Mona married in 1971, and they walked through a lifetime of love. We pay tribute to a man who watched the world’s transformation during nearly a century. He grabbed hold and never let go. Every musical artist should be grateful to live a fraction of his success. We honor his passing, and we express our sincere sympathy to his family and friends.