Jimmy Dean

We will all morn the June 13, 2010 passing of Jimmy Dean.  I am not a Country expert or huge fan, but I do enjoy Country and have purchased my share over the years.

Jimmy Dean was truly a crossover artist.  Although I did not follow his career, I know that he had a TV Show, he was successful in record sales, he was a Restaurateur and had his own line of sausage links.

He has now left us, so this is my little tribute to Jimmy Dean, starting with the song that made me first listen to him “BIG JOHN”

Jimmy Ray Dean (August 10, 1928 – June 13, 2010)

Jimmy Dean

1.   Big Bad John/ Columbia 42175/ 10/9/61/ # 1 (5) Billboard

2.   The Cajun Queen/ Columbia 42282/ 2/10/62/ # 22 Billboard

3.   Dear Ivan/ Columbia 42259/ 1/20/62/ # 24 Billboard

4.   To a Sleeping Beauty/ Columbia 42282/ 2/10/62/ # 26 Billboard

5.   P.T. 109/ Columbia 42338/ 4/14/62/ # 8 Billboard

6.   Little Black Book/ Columbia 42529/ 10/6/62/ # 29 Billboard

7.   I.O.U/ Casino 052/ 5/22/76/ # 35 Billboard

Jimmy Dean (born on August 10, 1928 in Plainview, Texas) was an American singer, actor, and businessman. He was born Jimmy Ray Dean. He became a professional entertainer after a stint in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1940s.

He became the host of a popular Washington D.C. TV program Town and Country Time and, with his group, The Texas Wildcats, they became favorites in the region.

Both Patsy Cline and Roy Clark got their starts with Dean, who eventually fired Clark, his lead guitarist, for his chronic tardiness. Patsy Cline and Dean were good friends during the run of the Town Country Time TV show in the mid-50s. He had his first hit, “Bummin’ Around,” in 1953.

Dean went on to New York in the 1950s where he hosted another TV variety show for CBS and signed with Columbia Records. He became best known for his 1961 song “Big Bad John,” recorded in Nashville, that went to No.1 on the Billboard charts.

The song won Dean the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording. He had several more Top 40 songs including a Top 10 in 1962 with “PT-109”, a song in honor of PT-109 and John F. Kennedy.

In 1959, he was the regular host of the CBS morning program. In the early 1960s he also hosted the Tonight Show on occasion and one night introduced Roy Clark, with whom he’d remained friendly, to a wider audience, something that helped Clark enhance his own career.

His mid-1960s ABC television variety show was one of the first to present country music entertainers with dignity and class, on their terms: Roger Miller, George Jones, Charlie Rich, Buck Owens and a few like Joe Maphis, who seldom got any network TV exposure.

He’s also best remembered for his regular sketches with one of Jim Henson’s long running muppet, Rowlf the Dog. Many guests who were not remotely related to country music appeared on the show, as it was considered a solid entertainment program, and it did offer the priceless “exposure” that is the food and drink of show business acts.

When the show ended, he began to dabble in acting in the late 1960s, with his best-known role being that of millionaire Willard Whyte in the 1971 James Bond movie, Diamonds Are Forever. Dean also performed around the country.

He was mentioned in the Madonna song “Vogue”. He was also mentioned in the 2006 Def Leppard song “Rock On”.

Although I did not know all of your music, Rest in Peace “Big Jimmy”.

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