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.
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.
April 23, 2012 - Maxine Brown - To Be Honored April 26 at Cherry Blossom Festival
June 15, 2010 - The Browns’ Maxine Brown is Oxford American’s Featured Artist
January 9, 2010 - Oxford American Spotlights Maxine Brown’s Flirtatious Feminist Ditty, “Take It Out In Trade”
July 5, 2009 - The Browns Celebrate 50th of "The Three Bells"
June 23, 2009 - Maxine Brown - The Browns Celebrate 50th Anniversary of “The Three Bells” Release With July 4 Appearances on The Grand Ole Opry and Midnite Jamboree
May 29, 2008 - Maxine Brown - The Browns Back on Charts with New All-Hits CD
March 30, 2007 - The Browns - Maxine Brown To Speak at Delta Blues Symposium
March 28, 2007 - The Browns - Arkansas Senate Urges The Browns’ Induction Into The Country Music Hall of Fame
September 1, 2006 - Maxine Brown - The Browns Perform in Home State First Time in 40 Years To Raise Funds for Arkansas Hospice
August 8,2006 - Maxine Brown - Guest Speaker at Elvis Week 2006
July 31, 2006 - Maxine Brown's - Looking Back To See Now a Text For Tulane University Southern History Course
April 13, 2006 - Maxine Brown - "The Three Bells" Ring Twice on The Sopranos
January 25 - Maxine Brown - Signs Memoir From Hospital Bed
November 16 - Maxine Brown - Clinton Museum Invites Singer/Author Maxine Brown To Participate In Its First Anniversary Celebration
October 20, 2005 - Maxine Brown - The Browns Make Rare Grand Ole Opry Appearance Saturday, Oct. 22
October 12, 2005 - Maxine Brown - Maxine Brown’s Looking Back To See Is Publisher’s Bestselling Book of Year
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