Funeral details have been announced for Little Jimmy Dickens. The Grand Ole Opry star passed away on Jan. 2. The 94-year-old Dickens died of a heart attack, after suffering a stroke and being admited to a Nashville-area hospital on Christmas (Dec. 25).
Nashville's Tennessean reports that a public visitation is scheduled for Jan. 7 at Nashville's Woodlawn Roesch-Patton Funeral Home & Memorial Park (660 Thompson Ln.). The visitation will run 4 PM - 8 PM CT. The Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville (2804 Opryland Dr.) will host a public celebration of life on Dec. 8. The service will begin at 11 AM CT. Both events are open to family, friends and fans.
Dickens is often known as the master of the country novelty song, as well as a renowned ballad singer. He also known for his diminutive stature -- he's less than five feet tall -- and his affection for flamboyant, rhinestone-studded outfits and country humor. Although he never had a consistent presence on the charts, he managed to have hits in every decade between the 1940s and the 1970s, and he became one of the Grand Ole Opry's most popular performers.
In 1949, Dickens became a permanent member of the Grand Ole Opry. That year, he also signed a record contract with Columbia Records, releasing his first single, "Take an Old Cold Tater and Wait," in the spring of 1949. The song became a Top Ten hit and launched a string of hit novelty, ballad, and honky tonk singles that lasted for a year, including "Country Boy," "A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed," "Hillbilly Fever," and "My Heart's Bouquet."
Dickens bounced back to the Top Ten with the ballad "The Violet and the Rose" in 1962. Three years later, he had his biggest hit, "May the Bird of Paradise Fly up Your Nose." The single topped the country charts and crossed over to number 15 on the pop charts. Although his next single, "When the Ship Hit the Sand," was moderately successful, Dickens wasn't able to replicate the success of "May the Bird of Paradise Fly up Your Nose."
In 1968, he stopped recording for Columbia, signing with Decca Records, where he had three minor hits in the late '60s and early '70s. In 1971, he moved to United Artists, which resulted in two more small hits, but by that time he had begun to concentrate on performing as his main creative outlet. Dickens continued to tour and perform at the Grand Ole Opry into the '90s, becoming one of the most beloved characters in country music.