Little Jimmy Dickens, the pint-sized but big-voiced country singer-songwriter and Grand Ole Opry star, died on Friday at a hospital near Nashville. He was 94.
Dickens died of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke on Christmas Day, the Opry announced.
The country legend, who stood at 4’11”, had performed on the Opry since 1948. He last hit the stage there on December 20 as part of his birthday celebration, when he sang “Out Behind the Barn.”
“The Grand Ole Opry did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy Dickens,” said Pete Fisher, Opry VP and general manager. “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.”
Dickens was best know for his bedazzled outfits, which he’s credited with introducing to country music in 1950; self-deprecating humor; and novelty songs, including his biggest hit “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.” The tune not only earned him a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983, but crossed over to the pop charts.
His other hits include “A-Sleepin’ at the Foot of the Bed,” “Out Behind the Barn,” “Country Boy” and “I’m Little but I’m Loud.”
Born James Cecil Dickens in Bolt, West Virginia, he began his career singing on the station in Beckley, West Virginia.
Dickens is survived by his wife, Mona, and two daughters.