He may stand less than five feet tall, but when it comes to country music history, the legacy of Little Jimmy Dickens is anything but slight. The Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry mainstay turns 92 today.
Born in 1920, James Cecil Dickens was the 13th child in a family of West Virginia farmers. His big break as a musician came thanks to Roy Acuff, who helped Dickens get a record deal and a spot on the Opry (where he’s remained, one long break aside, for some six decades).
Jimmy’s best-known song is “Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait).” It’s silly, sure, but it’s also plenty charming. And it’s got an autobiographical underpinning (growing up in a large rural family with little money) that gives the song richer meaning beyond mere novelty.
The biggest hit of Jimmy’s career, though, came in 1965 with “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.” Like so many of Jimmy’s best songs, it’s a snappy combo of nuttiness, wit, and homegrown country charm.
Brad Paisley is among Jimmy’s many fans. As Brad said during an Opry segment in 2007, “if I had to name one hero [who’s at] the top, this is the guy. He stands taller than anyone else in my mind.”
The two artists obviously have a special sort of relationship. After all, who can forget the lovely birthday video tribute that Brad received on his 40th this year?
— Little Jimmy Dickens (@LilJimDickens) December 19, 2012
Happy birthday, Mr. Dickens. May birds of paradise–or creatures of any type–never fly up your nose.
– Kurt Wolff, CBS Local