Little Jimmy Dickens, the small singer-songwriter that is the oldest cast member of the Grand Ole Opry, has died. He was 94.
Dickens passed away on Friday at a Nashville hospital of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke on Christmas Day.
The legendary singer was admitted to a Nashville hospital in critical care on Christmas, just days after his 94th birthday on December 19th.
There were reports he was improving, but he suffered a cardiac arrest on Friday afternoon and passed away soon afterward.
Dickens received the nickname of “Tater” from Hank Williams Sr.
He was a mainstay at the Grand Ole Opry since joining the cast in 1948, and last performed on the Opry stage December 20th, during his birthday celebration.
Dickens, who stood 4 foot 11, explained his nickname with the line “I’m Little Jimmy Dickens, or Willie Nelson after taxes”.
His novelty songs, including his biggest hit “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” about good and bad luck, earned him a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983.
Dickens said in a 2009 Associated Press interview that his first impression of the song was “it was a nice piece of material to inject in my show. Then I went to Vietnam (to perform) for two months and when I got home it was my pay: a No. 1 song.”
The guitarist made more than a dozen trips to perform in Europe and entertained troops in Vietnam three times.
His other hits included “A-Sleepin’ at the Foot of the Bed,” ”Out Behind the Barn,” ”Country Boy” and “I’m Little But I’m Loud.”
“I wouldn’t have worked the mines. I wasn’t large enough,” he once said.
Dickens is survived by his wife, Mona, and two daughters.
His Opry performances in 2009 showed he hadn’t lost his sense of humors, with Dickens telling the crowd,”You know you’re 88 when you see a pretty girl in a bikini and your Pacemaker makes the garage door go up.”
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