11 Celebrities' tweets remembering Little Jimmy Dickens
The oldest living Grand Ole Opry member, Little Jimmy Dickens, has died, the Opry announced. He was 94.
According to NBC news, Dickens — along with his band, the Country Boys — was credited with bridging the gap between rock and country music by being one of the first country stars to embrace the electric guitar. He died Friday in a Nashville, Tennessee, hospital of a cardiac arrest.
Dickens joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1948 and remained a member until his death. He most recently performed at the Opry less than two weeks ago, on Dec. 20, the day after his 94th birthday.
Short-statured Dickens, who also explained his nickname by saying, "I'm Little Jimmy Dickens, or Willie Nelson after taxes," had one No. 1 hit during his long, storied music career: "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose," recorded in 1965. It incorporated electric and pedal steel guitars in its hillbilly sound, revitalizing classic bluegrass when rock music was overtaking its popularity.
But despite changing the sound of bluegrass, Dickens never completely left behind the hillbilly sound that had made him famous. He was a hero to generations of country stars, including George Jones, one of country music's most famous voices, who dedicated an entire album to Dickens in 1964: George Jones Sings Like the Dickens.
A 1983 inudctee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Dickens was remembered by fellow country stars and others on Twitter and other social media Friday. The Grand Ole Opry released a statement following his death, saying, "The Grand Ole Opry did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy. He loved the audience and his Opry family, and all of us loved him back. He was a one-of-kind entertainer and a great soul whose spirit will live on for years to come."
Our hearts go out to all his friends and family during this time.