I invite you to join me Sunday July 12th for the Sunday Morning Country Classic Spotlight for the life and music of Jimmy Dean.  You can find us at 98.1 Minnesota's New Country, online and on your mobile device.

Jimmy Ray Dean was born on August 10, 1928 in Olton, Texas to working class parents. Jimmy was raised in Planview, Texas and left school in the ninth grade  to help provide for his family.

He joined the Merchant Marines at age 16 and the U.S. Air Force two years later.  He was discharged from the Air Force in 1948.

He formed a band called the Texas Wildcats and eventually got a record deal.  In 1953 Jimmy had his first single, Bummin' Around, which became a Top Ten hit.

Jimmy Dean will always be remembered for Big Bad John, a song he wrote with Roy Acuff.  The song was released in September of 1961 and by the beginning of November the song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and it won Jimmy the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country Recording.

Jimmy Dean was a country singer, actor, radio and television host and entrepreneur.  In 1969 Dean started a hog butchering company with his brother, Don.   The brothers would ground meat, season it and eventually they formed the Jimmy Dean Meat Company.  By the late 1980's the brothers were making more than $75 million in profits.

Jimmy sold the company to Sara Lee Foods in 1984 and you can still find Jimmy Dean Sausage today.

Jimmy had three children, Garry, Connie and Robert with his first wife Mary Sue.  He passed away at the age of 81 on June 13, 2010 and is survived by his second wife, Donna Meade. He was entombed  in a 9 foot tall piano shaped mausoleum overlooking the James River on the grounds of his estate in Virginia.  His epitaph reads

Here lies one hell of a man

Those, of course, are lyrics from his signature song, Big Bad John.

Remember we take you back to country music's roots every Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm.  We take your requests by calling 320-252-9897 or by emailing me at dick@minnesotasnewcountry.com.

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