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The Three Bells by The Browns

Album: Town & CountryReleased: 1959Charted:
  • This song documents three stages of the life of "Jimmy Brown" - his birth, his marriage, and his death. It was based on the French language tune "Les trois cloches" by Jean Villard Gilles and Marc Herrand. which was originally a hit in France for Les Compagnons De La Chanson and Edith Piaf in 1946.
  • The Browns were a family group from Arkansas - a brother and two sisters.
  • This was also a #1 Country hit. It led the chart for ten weeks, holding the record for the longest reign by a group (of at least three members) for nearly 56 years, until Little Big Town's "Girl Crush" racked up its eleventh week on the summit in 2015.
  • The English lyrics were written by Bert Reisfeld and first recorded by Melody Maids in 1948. The anglicized version was initially a hit in the US in the early 1950s for the Les Compagnons de la chanson without Edith Piaf.
  • The star of the story in the original French version was Jean-Francois Nicot. When the song was anglicized, Jean-Francois Nicot became Jimmy Brown. It was just coincidence that the Browns' male vocalist, Jim Ed Brown, had the same name as the song's character.
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Comments: 14

Per: http://www.oldiesmusic.com/news.htm
Country singer Jim Ed Brown, best-known as the lead singer of the Browns with sisters Maxine and Bonnie, died of cancer June 11th, 2015 in a Franklin, Tennessee hospital at the age of 81...
Born in Sparkman, Arkansas, Jim and Maxine originally joined Ernest Tubb's radio show as a duo. Their "Looking Back To See" was a #8 country hit in 1954, the year before Bonnie joined to make them a trio... From 1954 to 1968, they charted with 21 country tunes, 13 of which crossed over to the pop charts, including "The Three Bells" (#1 pop and country-1959), "Scarlet Ribbons" (#13 pop, #7 country-1959) and "The Old Lamplighter" (#5 pop, #20 country-1960)...
Jim began a solo career in 1965 and the trio split up two years later...
As a solo singer, his biggest hit was "Pop A Top" (#3 country-1967), but he scored even bigger hits as a duo with Helen Cornelius, including "I Don't Want To Have To Marry You" (#1 country-1976) and "Lying In Love With You" (#2 country-1979)...
They were voted the Country Music Association's duo of the year in 1977...
Jim was the host of the Nashville Network's TV show, "You Can Be A Star!" from 1983 to 1989 and co-hosted the syndicated "Nashville On The Road" TV show...
The Browns were elected this year to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Jim was presented with his induction medal in his hospital room five months early...
May he R.I.P.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On May 8th 1960, the Browns performed "The Old Lamplighter" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
It was the trio's only other Top 10 record on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and at the time "The Old Lamplighter" was at #5 {for 1 week} and that was also its peak position on the Top 100, it had entered the chart on April 8th, 1960 and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
It reached #20 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart...
They had five other Top 100 records; "Scarlet Ribbons" {#13}, "Teen-Ex"* {#47}, "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On {#56}, "Blue Christmas" {#97}, and "Ground Hog" {also at #97}...
* "Teen-Ex" was the B-side of "The Old Lamplighter".
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On August 14th 1955, the parents of Jim Ed, Maxine, and Bonnie Brown celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in Gladewater, Texas...
Attending the anniversary party was a 20 year old Sun Records recording artist named Elvis Presley; at the time Elvis' "Baby Let's Play House" was at #12 on Billboard's Country & Western Best Sellers chart...
In 1959 the Browns' "Three Bells" reached #1 on both Billboard's Top 100 and Hot Country Singles charts...
R.I.P. to The King {1935 - 1977} and all three Browns are still with us; Maxine is 82, Jim Ed is 80, and Bonnie is 77.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy Brown. Coincidence. Interesting, two sisters and their brother. And, Jeff from Austin, TX, the Brown sisters truly WERE hot. The chorus sounds a bit like the previous major #1 folk hit, "Tom Dooley"! I have always loved this song.Steve - Whittier, Ca
My real name is Jimmy Brown. I was 5 when this came out. I took crap my entire childhood because of my name. People gooned on me because of the football player, the soul singer and yes, this song too. It was always, "Hey! Aren't you the___ (enter your choice here). I always wanted a different name back then until I discovered I could close the conversation by replying, "No, he was named after me."Jim - Morgantown, Wv
Dick Flood sounds like a name for a porn star.Mark - Jefferson City, Mo
An artist by the name of Dick Flood also released this song in 1959; his version peaked at #23...Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
The song by Edith Piaf was "Les Trois Cloches."Karen - Silver Spring, Md
What a wonderful song. It makes me think of my family and the simple country upbringing that we all had. It's hard to believe that this song is 50 years old. WOW. Jim Ed and his sisters voices flowed like gold. I'm sure he is very proud of this song. It holds a very special place for me.Glenn - Dyersburg, Tn
Jim Ed Brown also had some success as an actor.Stormy - Kokomo, In
Those Brown sisters were hot back in the day.Jeff - Austin, Tx
Mr Pearce is wrong, I'm afraid. This song was first introduced in French on Swiss radio as 'Les Trois Cloches' by its author Jean Villard, better known as Gilles, as early as 1939. Shortly after WWII in 1946, it was recorded for the first time by Edith Piaf with Les Compagnons De La Chanson. Later on, there were two English translations: 'The Three Bells' (1948) and 'While The Angelus Was Ringing' (1949), of which the first one was the most succesful, especially in the Browns' version.Walter - Antwerp, Belgium
Jim Ed Brown's sisters were Maxine and Bonnie.
The song went to #1 on 8/3/59 for 4 weeks on the Billboard Top 40.
Dan - Sterling, Va
Jim Ed Brown of The Browns still performs this regularly on The Grand Ole Opry.Homer - Versailles, Il
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