Fans, friends, family and industry members gathered earlier today (Jan. 8) at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville to honor the life and career of “Little” Jimmy Dickens. The Grand Ole Opry member died Friday, Jan. 2. A trouper to the end, Dickens turned 94 years old on Dec. 19 and performed on the Grand Ole Opry the following day, singing his hit “Out Behind the Barn” and delivering his trademark jokes. He suffered a stroke five days after his final performance and died a week later. Among those honoring the entertainer were Carrie Underwood, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Connie Smith, Steve Wariner, Chris Young, and Old Crow Medicine Show.
Dickens, whose signature songs included “Out Behind the Barn,” and “May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” as well as more traditional country hits – joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1948.
“If they say that only the good die young, well, evidently the greatest of all live to be 94 and sing two weeks before they pass on,” Gill said at the memorial.
Paisley asked those in attendance to close the celebration with “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” saying that Dickens began the tradition of closing country music funerals with that tune.
“We’ll take it from here, little buddy,” said Paisley, who also performed “When I Get Where I’m Going” in tribute to Dickens.
The Country Music Hall of Fame inductee was the oldest member of the Opry cast. The widely loved entertainer was the show’s goodwill ambassador, as well as its elder statesman.
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