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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Big Ones

1. The End of the World

2. Make the World Go Away

3. Once a Day

4. Faded Love

5. It Keeps Right On A-Huntin'

6. She Thinks I Still Care

7. True Love's a Blessing

8. Here Comes My Baby

9. Things Have Gone to Pieces

10. Striker Bill

11. Bye Bye Baby

x

Track List: The First Thing Ev'ry Morning

1. The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And The Last Thing Ev'ry Night)

2. Under The Sun

3. Dear Heart

4. Too Many Times

5. Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)

6. Shutters And Boards

7. Any Time

8. Til Tomorrow

9. Where Were You When I Needed You

10. All By Myself

11. Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet

12. Harvest Of Sunshine

x

Track List: Jimmy Dean's Christmas Card

1. Blue Christmas

2. Jingle Bells

3. Silver Bells

4. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (From the MGM film Meet Me in St. Louis)

5. My Christmas Room

6. White Christmas

7. Yes, Patricia, There Is a Santa Claus

8. Medley: O Little Town of Bethlehem / God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen / The First Noel / Joy to the World / We Wish You a Merry Christmas

9. The Cowboy's Prayer

10. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

11. Silent Night

12. Jimmy's Christmas Card

x

Track List: The Songs We All Love Best

1. Introduction / Wait for the Moon (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

2. Aura Lee (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

3. Blues Stay Away from Me (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

4. Shenandoah (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

5. White Silver Sands (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

6. Let the Rest of the World Go By (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

7. Moonlight Mississippi (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

8. Cimarron (Roll On) (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

9. When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

10. Fort Worth Jail (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

11. Home on the Range (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

12. Carolina Moon (feat. The Chuck Cassey Singers)

x

Track List: Picking Up The Pieces

1. All I Have To Offer You Is Me

2. Angel In An Apron

3. Born To Be By Your Side

4. I Didn't Have The Time

5. It'll Be Easy

6. That Old Fashion Love Song

7. Sleeping Beauty

8. Let Me Sing My Song

9. Jean

10. Me Red And Bill

11. She Burned The Old Roadside Tavern Down

12. Waking Up To Love

x

Track List: The Best Of Jimmy Dean

1. Big Bad John

2. I Won't Go Huntin' With You Jake (But I'll Go Chasin' Wimmin)

3. Walk On, Boy

4. Little Bitty Big John

5. Dear Ivan

6. To A Sleeping Beauty

7. The Cajun Queen

8. P.T. 109

9. Steel Men

10. Little Black Book

11. A Day That Changed The World

12. Gonna Raise A Ruckus Tonight

13. Mind Your Own Business

14. Sam Hill

15. The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And The Last Thing Ev'ry Night)

16. Harvest Of Sunshine

x

Track List: Twenty Great Story Songs

1. Big John (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

2. Old Rivers (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

3. I. O. U. (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

4. To A Sleeping Beauty (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

5. Ringo (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

6. The Farmer And The Lord (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

7. Steal Away (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

8. Oklahoma Bill (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

9. Freckles (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

10. Mama Sang A Song (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

11. Drinkin' From My Saucer (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

12. Trouble In The Amen Corner (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

13. Sunday Morning Comin' Down (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

14. The Man In The Glass (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

15. Old Dogs, Children And Watermelon Wine (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

16. Please Pass The Biscuits (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

17. Frilly Shirts (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

18. The Day I Jumped From Uncle Harvey's Plane (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

19. Slow John Fairburn (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

20. The Touch Of The Master's Hand (Re-Recorded In Stereo)

x

Track List: Country Spotlight

1. Big Bad John

2. The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And The Last Thing Ev'ry Night)

3. Dear Ivan

4. Stand Beside Me

5. I.O.U.

6. P.T. 109

7. To A Sleeping Beauty

8. The Cajun Queen

9. Little Black Book

10. Bumming Around

x

Track List: Jimmy Dean's Greatest Hits

1. Big Bad John

2. The Cajun Queen

3. Harvest Of Sunshine

4. Little Black Book

5. Steel Men

6. The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And The Last Thing Ev'ry Night)

7. Sam Hill

8. P.T. 109

9. To A Sleeping Beauty

10. The Farmer And The Lord

11. I Won't Go Huntin' With You Jake (But I'll Go Chasin' Wimmin)

12. Dear Ivan

x

Track List: Everybody's Favorite

1. Mile Long Train

2. I Really Don't Want To Know

3. Be Honest With Me

4. (Remember Me) I'm The One Who Loves You

5. Time Changes Everything

6. Sweet Georgia Brown

7. This Ole House

8. Tears On My Pillow

9. Philosophizin'

10. No One Will Ever Know

11. Hang Your Head In Shame

12. Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy

Comments

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First song I ever learned words to. Too bad I never could carry a tune!
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T nm cm 7 I l
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colliegal105 8
Great story songs!
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colliegal105 8
4 my PAPA JOHN XO luv u xo
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Haven't heard of him in years and years. Good to hear his voice again.
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You'll never hear music with the simplistic county core that Jimmy Dean tailored - and never is the operative word here folks
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colliegal105 8
Love you Reba
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WHAT A GREAT ARTIST
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what a great series
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jjdaley57
Excellent!
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XBecca x x x ccx c box c x x x x zzg xx vs x
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My names Travis
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I love his songs
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"Big John" and Jimmy Dean sausage; that's how I remember Jimmy Dean..
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Like
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I like his sausage I buy at the grocery store!
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viperbad78
BIG JOHN.
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Cool
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Do your research. Jimmy Dean never marketed smoked sausage
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I am looking for the song sleeping beauty by little jimmy dean. I love all the really old classcs
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fun to have on the radio
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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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