One of the longest running careers in country music belongs to a guy who also has one of the most unusual signature songs in any genre. ‘Little’ Jimmy Dickens, who has been entertaining folks for over 70 years, will always be best known for his number-one hit, “May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.”
Born into a large farm family in Depression-era West Virginia, Dickens nevertheless managed to make it to college by the late 1930s, but his love of music soon led to his dropping out in favor of a radio job. Initially known as Jimmy the Kid, within a few years he was an established performer and had been invited to appear on the Grand Ole Opry. By the late 1940s, the singer — who was now billed as Little Jimmy Dickens — was a regular on country music’s premier show.
Audiences loved Dickens, who over the years developed a flamboyant style that included a closet full of colorful, sequined suits to add pizazz to his act. And if life gave him a few lemons in terms of his short stature (he’s less than five feet tall) he was able to make lemonade by becoming the biggest-voiced little singer around.
In the decades since his breakout, Dickens has transitioned from pure honky-tonk singer to novelty song specialist, but he’s always been a regular part of the active country scene. He has now achieved legendary status, and is still a big hit whenever he appears in front of fans.