Jim Ed was born on April 1, 1934, in Sparkman, Arkansas, to Floyd and Birdie Brown. His parents owned a farm and his father also worked at a sawmill. As small children, Jim and his sisters, Maxine and Bonnie, moved with their parents to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. As young adults, the three siblings sang together and individually. This changed in 1954 when Jim Ed and Maxine signed a recording contract as a duo. They earned national recognition and a guest spot on Ernest Tubb’s radio show for their humorous song “Looking Back To See”, which hit the top ten and stayed on the charts through the summer of 1954.
In 1967, he released his first solo top ten hit, “Pop a Top”, which became his signature song. Beginning in 1969, he also gained his own syndicated TV series “The Country Place”, which would become famous for introducing Crystal Gayle. The show ended in 1971. In 1970, he gained a crossover hit with “Morning” which went to No. 4 on the Country charts and No. 47 on the Pop charts.
Beginning in 1976, Brown released a string of major duet hits with Helen Cornelius starting with the No. 1 hit, “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You”.
An active and popular member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1963, Jim Ed Brown would remain so until his death in 2015. He would occasionally reunite there with Helen Cornelius to perform their hit duets together.
In March 2015, it was announced that the Browns would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later in the year. With his health declining, Brown was inducted in June.