Maxine Brown

The pioneering Country Music star with "The Browns" – Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie

1) Biography

Maxine Brown was born April 27, 1931 in Campti, Louisiana, and raised in various towns and villages in Arkansas. She began singing with her younger brother, Jim Ed, on the Barnyard Frolic, a live weekly radio show from Little Rock in 1952. The two recorded their first hit, “Looking Back To See,” Maxine’s own composition, in 1954. It went to No. 8 on the charts. Soon after, their younger sister, Bonnie, joined the act. Their next song, “Here Today And Gone Tomorrow,” which Maxine also wrote, went to No. 7. Initially, the three siblings billed themselves as “Jim Edward, Maxine & Bonnie Brown,” but by 1958, they were performing and recording simply as “The Browns.” They joined The Louisiana Hayride in 1954. It was here that they met and befriended Elvis Presley, who was then seeking a job on that show. The Browns toured with Presley from 1954 to 1956, when they became members of the nationally broadcast TV series, The Ozark Jubilee.

During the mid-to-late 1950s, the trio charted such hits as “I Take The Chance,” “I Heard The Bluebirds Sing” and “Beyond The Shadow.” Then, in 1959, they released the record that would make them literally world-famous. It was “The Three Bells,” an English version of the French song “Les Trois Cloches.” Their producer was the renowned guitarist Chet Atkins. The song went to No. 1 on the country music charts and stayed there for 10 weeks. It topped the pop charts for four weeks, and it even went to No. 10 on the rhythm & blues chart. After that, The Browns “crossed over” from the country to the pop charts with “Scarlet Ribbons,” “The Old Lamplighter” and “Send Me The Pillow You Dream On,” among others. They toured Europe (where they were greeted by members of another singing group that would soon be calling itself “The Beatles”) and appeared on such popular musical variety programs as American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show and The Arthur Murray Show.

After numerous guest appearances, The Browns in 1963 joined the Grand Ole Opry, where they continued as one of its most popular acts. Faced with family responsibilities, Maxine and Bonnie left the group in 1967, while Jim Ed continued as a soloist. Maxine also recorded briefly as a solo act with Chart Records in 1968-69, scoring the country hit “Sugar Cane Country.” In recent years, The Browns have reunited for special events and still perform occasionally on The Grand Ole Opry, where Jim Ed remains a member.

In 2005, the University of Arkansas Press published Maxine’s autobiography, Looking Back To See. The book is now available at many bookstores and on ShopElvis.com, Amazon.com, Bill Clinton Museum Store and many other bookstores and websites.

THE BROWNS’
Awards/Achievements

1954:
Up and Coming Vocal Group (Cashbox)
Best New Singing Group (Country Song Roundup)
Most Programed Vocal Group (Cashbox)
Citation of Achievement (Maxine Brown) (BMI)
1955:
Most Promising Male, Jim Ed Brown (Cashbox)
Most Promising Female, Maxine Brown (Cashbox)
Most Promising Vocal Group, Jim Ed and Maxine Brown (Cashbox)
1956:
Number One Vocal Group (Cashbox)
Number One Up and Coming Group (Country Song Roundup)
Number One Most Played (Billboard)
Number One Favorite Record Of The Year “I Take The Chance” (Cashbox)
Favorite Girl Singers, Maxine and Bonnie Brown (Disc Jockey’s of America) (Cashbox)
1957:
Best Vocal Group (Cashbox)
Best Vocal Group (Jamboree)
Number One Vocal Group (Juke Box Operators of America) (Billboard)
Favorite Vocal Group (Country and Western Disc Jockey’s, Billboard)
Number Ten Favorite Female Singers, Maxine and Bonnie Brown (Country and Western Disc Jockeys, Music Reporter)
1958:
Number One Vocal Group (Billboard)
Best Vocal Group in England (United Kingdom Country-Western Express)
1959:
Best Country Vocal Group (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences)
Favorite Vocal Group (Cashbox)
Most Promising Pop Group (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences)
Nomination for Best Performance by a Vocal Group (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences)
Nomination for Best Recording of the Year (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences)
Number One Vocal Group, (United Kingdom)
Certificate of Achievement for the Longest Consistent Run by a Vocal Group on the Official Hit parade (Music Vendor)
1960:
The Triple Crown Award for having the Number One song in all three fields of Pop, Country and R&B. (Music Vendor)
Favorite Vocal Group (Cashbox)
Certificate of Achievement, Honor Roll of Hits for Best Selling Sheet Music (Music Vendor)
1964:
Nomination for Best Performance by a Vocal Group “Grand Ole Opry Favorites”, (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences)
Favorite Singing Group (Billboard)
Favorite Vocal Group (Cashbox)
1965:
Favorite Singing Group (Billboard)
Most Programed Vocal Group (Cashbox)
1966:
Favorite Singing Group (Billboard)
Favorite Group (Cashbox)
1967:
Most Programed Vocal Group (Cashbox)
Nomination for Best Sacred Performance, “The Old Country Church” (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences)
Most Programed Vocal Group (Billboard)
Favorite Vocal Group (Country Song Roundup)
1973:
Citation of Achievement Award to Maxine Brown, “Looking Back To See” BMI
1998:
Inducted into the “Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame”
2000:
Inducted into the “Walkway of Stars Hall of Fame” Hot Springs, Arkansas
Golden Voice Award for Favorite Singing Group (voted on by recording peers)
2001:
Proclaimed Outstanding Arkansans by “The Eighty-Third Arkansas General Assembly, voted by entire Senate and House of Representatives
2006:
NACMHF: (North American Country Music Hall of Fame) In recognition of The Browns Contributions to the Heritage of True Country Music.
INDUCTED INTO THE GEORGE D. HAY (Country Music Hall of Fame)
THE GEORGE D. HAY FOUNDATION MUSIC HALL OF FAME.  (Mammoth Spring, AR.)
(Outstanding contributors to Country Music)
2007:
RESOLUTION: (Encouraging the CMA to add The Browns to its membership.)
The State of Arkansas, 86th General Assembly. Signed by the entire Senate and House of Representatives: In Recognition of outstanding achievements.
2010:
MOMA: (Museum of Modern Art). The most prestigious museum in the world, New York. The Browns Photo on display, donated by famous photographer, Lee Friendlander.

2012
LITERARY AWARD:  On April 26, 2012, Maxine Brown was awarded the Ella Dickey Literacy Award in Marshfield, Missouri for her book, “Looking Back To See”
2013
WALK WAY OF FAME:  The Browns were honored by receiving this distiinguished award during the Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield, Missouri. (April, 2013)
August 10th, 2013.  This will mark the 50th anniversary of The Browns becoming members of The Grand Ole Opry.
MISSOURI WALK OF FAME, (Marshfield, Missouri)

2015:
CANADIAN SONG WRITERS HALL OF FAME:
(The Browns recording of “I HEARD THE BLUEBIRDS SING”.
THE COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION HALL OF FAME

PARTIAL LIST OF RADIO AND TELEVISION SHOWS

THE BROWNS WERE THE FIRST ARTIST TO RECORD IN THE NOW FAMOUS RCA STUDIO “B”, also STUDIO “A”.

The Louisiana Hayride
The Ozark Jubilee
The Grand Ole Opry
Dick Clark American Bandstand (numerous times)
The Arthur Murray Dance Party: (This was the first TV show in Color on NBC) The Browns previewed their new recording of “Scarlet Ribbons” and Katherine Murray presented us with our first Gold Record of “The Three Bells”.
The Ed Sullivan Sunday Night Variety Show (previewed “The Old Lamplighter”)
The Perry Como TV Show
The Jerry Lewis Telethon
The Dave Garaway Show, (three appearances)
The Vincent Lopez Breakfast Hour
BBC (Boy Meets Girl) London, England
The Town Hall Party
The Jimmy Dean Show
The Family Re-Union
Rock and Roll Graffiti
PBS Country and Pop Legends
(Many more, too numerous to mention)

AUTOBIOGRAPHY:
Looking Back To See A Country Music Memoir by author Maxine Brown. Published by The University of Arkansas Press, 2007.
(Personally autographed copy available at this website, or through Amazon.com)