Little Jimmy Dickens hadn't had a major league hit in almost 50 years, but he sure was a presence in country music until his death on Friday at 94.
The West Virginia native, in fact, scored his biggest hit and only number one with "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose," in October 1965. That would be the last time he had a song inside the top 20.
But through his long-time association with the Grand Ole Opry - he continued playing the Opry as recently as December - he continued to be in the public eye. Dickens was known for his novelty songs, rhinestone outfits, sense of humor (wearing Nudie suits, Dickens once said he was akin to "Mighty Mouse in his pajamas"} and being short. Not to mention being one of the mainstays of the Opry.
Fellow Mountaineer Brad Paisley also helped by incorporating the diminutive one (yup, the same guy who sang "I'm short, puny and little, but I'm loud") in his videos and in humorous between-song patter on his discs. Paisley was paying tribute to Dickens in doing so, of course and introducing him to a modern audience.
Dickens may have been funny, but he also had a lot of talent. If not for Hank Williams singing the song he wrote Dickens, "Hey Good Lookin'," Tater (Williams coined the nickname for Dickens) may have had another hit on his hands.
To modern country fans, Dickens was not exactly on their radar screen. But take a listen to Dickens, and you'll find he was a singer to be taken seriously. His music was clearly of the traditional, hard-core country type, and he was a fine singer as well whether on ballads or uptempo songs.
Dickens may have short of physical stature, but long when it came to musical talent.