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Jimmy Dean

The average man on the street would most likely recognize Jimmy Dean from the line of smoked sausage that bears his name, but prior to entering the pork products business, Dean was a successful television personality and a country hitmaker noted for his half-spoken narrative songs. Dean was born near Plainview, TX in 1928 and grew up poor, often working on farms as a boy to help make ends meet. His mother taught him piano starting at age ten, and he went on to pick up guitar, harmonica, and accordion. He joined the Merchant Marines at age 16, and after two years he enlisted in the Air Force, where he first performed publicly with a band called the Tennessee Haymakers. The Haymakers played venues near the Washington, D.C., base at which Dean was stationed, and when he left the service in 1948, he remained in the area and formed a new group called the Texas Wildcats. He eventually scored a record deal with Four Star, and his first hit, "Bummin' Around," reached the country Top Ten in 1953.

During the mid-'50s, Dean hosted a local television show devoted to country music, giving important early exposure to regulars Patsy Cline and Roy Clark. The show proved popular enough that CBS offered him his own national program in 1957, though it wasn't as successful. In the meantime, Dean signed with Columbia, and when his show was canceled, he recorded a series of singles for the label that didn't get much attention. That all changed when he recorded the self-penned "Big Bad John" in 1961. Establishing Dean's flair for spoken narratives, the song went to number one on both the pop and country charts. He followed it with a string of popular singles in 1962: "Dear Ivan," "Little Black Book," and "P.T. 109" (the latter about John F. Kennedy's war exploits in the South Pacific) all made the country Top Ten, and the latter also made the pop Top Ten. Meanwhile, "To a Sleeping Beauty" and "The Cajun Queen" reached the country Top 20; all of Dean's hits from this hot streak charted at least in the pop Top 40.

In 1963, Dean returned to television as the host of his own daily variety show on ABC. Roger Miller became a regular, helping to jump-start his career, and the show also helped introduce America to another talent: puppeteer Jim Henson, whose regular appearances made Rowlf the piano-playing dog the first Muppet to become a household name. The Jimmy Dean Show ran until 1966, by which point Dean had switched labels to RCA; he returned to the country Top Ten that year with "Stand Beside Me," and placed several more minor chart entries through 1971, leaving off with "Slowly," a Top 40 duet with Dottie West. In the meantime, he developed an acting career, appearing as a regular on the TV series Daniel Boone during the late '60s, and landing the part of reclusive billionaire Willard Whyte in the 1971 James Bond flick Diamonds Are Forever.

Dean had invested most of his showbiz earnings in hog-farming concerns, and founded the Jimmy Dean Meat Company in the late '60s. His sausage recipes soon turned into a popular mass-market product, and while he accepted the occasional guest acting role on TV during the '70s and '80s, he spent most of his time focusing on his burgeoning business. He recorded a bit more for Casino in 1976, landing a final Top Ten country hit that year with "I.O.U.," a narrative tribute to his mother. Dean eventually sold his meat company to Sara Lee Foods, but remained its TV spokesman until he was let go in a less than amicable split during 2003. In the years thereafter, Dean was in semi-retirement at his estate outside of Richmond, VA, where he died at age 81 on June 13, 2010. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Comments

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Now guess who sang this song?
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Short but not too big around, and every hand out in every town. I ain't got no cigarettes.
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Cold night down here in Louisiana Like this singing by Jimmy Dean
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jon31299
Big Jon is what my coach calls me because I'm 6'2", he says its close enough to 6'6" for him
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Big john good. Song
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talk about a varied range of talent and professions. Singing & Sausage
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Love Jimmy (:
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Not done GONE...
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Who sang "Done"? Please play it a long tim favorite....
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big bad john has a part 2
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great song big bad john
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ceneberg2014
Hy,you.i,lov e , T r a v i s . e l l e t
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No I love PT 109
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I love PT 109 too
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i love p.t 109
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hjmunson
I love p.t. 109
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My wife
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I love his music it's awesome
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sandyclause0 1 5
Lucky enough to know when I was a kid .can still hear and see him in my minds eye on our front porch swing singing with my dad playing guitar and singing . Always the perfect gentleman with a playful gleam il his eyes and infectious grin...rest in peace. l.f.w.
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811432216
Why do I feel the urge for a sausage breakfast sandwich? I remember that Bond film It was diamonds are forever! Boy did I have a crush on Jill St John when I was a kid!
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He even played a part in an early Sean Connery 007 movie; very diverse in talent!
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Jimmy Dean died in 2010 In June he was best know for Big Bad John In 1962 will never be forgotting no body wil all singers who died like Andy Griffith died in 2012 July 3 at his home at 7:00am I watch his shows and Matlock Ben and Andy Griffith show
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Great singer well remembered from my youth.
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i love this song we call my dad big john cuse he is 6ft1 and 292 if you like this song and jimmy deen follow me
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Big Bad John is such an iconic song; I always feel like I'm 5 years old when listening. Love it
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When I was a cub scout..the troop and I actually went to the Jimmy Dean Show in NYC. We had a blast..and they gave wonderful gifts. I'll always remember Big Bad John.. a classic..fro m a real good guy!
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tim46914
love jimmy,s songs so sorry i just found out that he past away after all this 2 years will always love him. rest in peac in heaven always
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RIP Jimmy, loved your show when I was a little kid.
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@Redneckmama 4 2 . . . TMI
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THERE ARE NO ARTIST LEFT LIKE THE JIMMY DEAN ERA. HE WAS AMOUNG THE BEST.
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Had no idea it was the same guy that endorsed the sausage until I saw the CD cover, love the original country and not this new stuff. I am 37 and proud to listen to the classics all the time. Funny they consider Toby Keith and George Strait classic country, what's this world coming to.
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BIG JOHN
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good biscuits
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taria234
mrblackie saids the jimmy dean is a great singer
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Jimmy Deans mom cut my dad and brothers hair in Plainview ,Texas, when I was a little girl. Jimmy's mom gave me milk and cookies while we waited for our dad and brothers to get finished. My Cousins and family knew the Deans and my cousin is now a country singer featured on Matchbox radio his name is Bobby G.Cargill. So little towns sometimes provide awesome entertainers .
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jbessner5
Jimmy Dean was an awesome artist and brought many to country music. Rest in Peace Jimmy Dean.
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connie.price 6 3
In my opion he was one of the country and southern gospel singers ever.
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littlemanbea r
Well, I lived in Lockney Texas for !st grade thru 3rd and we moved. It was only a very short drive to Planview and Mr. Dean's Mother would cut our hair. I was not very old and vaguely remember her. The house was very homey. Yes Mem, God Bless Jimmy Dean.
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God Bless Jimmy
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to bad jimmy is gone to the heaven in the sky
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Here's a funny thing - my mother was babysitting for his kids when she got her "visitor" for the first time and left the house after his wife, Sharon, provided her with a diaper to use as a "rag". She used to babysit for Virginia Dick (aka Patsy Cline).
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anyone here
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listen to pt-109 from jimmy dean
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yes he's still alive.living in tx. i like music .
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440 six pack
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Does anyone know if he is still alive.

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