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Becky Brown Pens Her Life Love Story



Without a doubt, one of the greatest voices in Nashville’s history belonged to Jim Ed Brown. From his recordings with sisters Maxine and Bonnie on hits like “The Three Bells” to solo hits such as “Pop A Top,” “Man and Wife Time,” and “Mornng,” his warm voice became a trademark fixture on Country Radio for many years. Brown’s legacy – both musical and personal – shines brightly in the new book Going Our Way, a new book from his widow, Becky Perry Brown (co-written with Roxanne Atwood).

The book is a loving recollection of the marriage between the two. Brown tells Music Update Central that the idea behind the project had been floating around for a while.

“My daughter had asked me to do this years ago. I just kind of put it on the back burner and halfway started it. I did a chronological order of the beginning - how I met Jim Ed and how we started dating - and so my grandkids were very interested and started asking questions, and I said, ‘You know, I think it's time to try to finish this.”

Going Our Way also offers readers a snapshot of the Nashville that existed when the couple moved to Tennessee in the early 1960’s.

“The people that we knew – and the people that we were friends with - were all in the business in some way. Little Roy Wiggins lived across the street from us. He was an excellent steel guitar player for Eddy Arnold all those years. It just seemed that everybody we knew were in the music business. Then, we found a Church home. The music business seemed like a small business, you just knew everybody. It's so different now. of course, Nashville was not a large metropolitan city, although it was called Metropolitan Nashville, but it was small - and Brentwood was certainly just a crossroad - so it has grown in leaps and bounds.”

In 1967, The Browns decided to call it a day, as Maxine and Bonnie decided to concentrate on raising their families. However, Jim Ed pressed forward, building a career that was equally known for hit records as well as a massive amount of television exposure, as Becky recalls.

His first show was The Country Place. We were so excited that Showbiz asked him to be the host of that show. In fact, I did makeup on that show. Jim Ed evolved into a solo artist and did great. It's amazing what he accomplished in this business. Later, he did Nashville on the Road, and then he was spokesperson for Dollar General Stores for about ten years. He never struggled. He always was comfortable where he was in the business. Sometimes when you're in the music business, you have to take the good and the not so good. Jim Ed loved singing for thousands of people and he loved singing for twenty people. It really didn't matter,” she recalls, citing one example that still makes her smile.

“I remember Bill Anderson got a group of people to sing the national anthem at the Atlanta Braves game. And so we went - there were probably maybe thirty of us - and so we drove to Atlanta and all the way there Jim Ed sang, and all the way home he sang. He had that guitar and he was singing the whole way. I just always thought he must know every song in the world.”

The book talks about many of the highs of their marriage – raising children, her career as a model and a dance teacher – but also, some of the lows. Becky speaks of her husband’s affair with a fellow artist in the 1970’s – something she said was very emotionally taxing to bring up.

“That was the hardest part of writing the book, talking about Jim Ed's affair. I can talk about it now because there has been so much water under the dam, and it's been forgiven and forgotten. I felt like I needed to write it because it was part of the truth of our marriage. But, it was hard.”

The affair caused the couple to divorce briefly in the early 1980s. Becky says her faith was one of the integral reasons she made it through. “Sometimes, reality hits and you realize, you need to turn things over and let God handle the situation. That really does make a huge difference. It brings you back to life.”

The couple remarried in 1981, and Becky says she now has a pleasant relationship with the woman whom Jim Ed had an affair with. “There no hard feelings towards her and we just can talk and be friends. Sometimes that's just not humanly possible, but with God's help it absolutely is possible.”

With a deepened commitment to each other, the couple soon found themselves working together in the late 1980’s on the TNN travel program, Going Our Way – from where the title of the book comes from. Becky says that experience definitely brought them closer.

“When they wanted me to be the co-host of that show, I thought, "Oh my goodness, do they really want me?’ I got to travel and work with Jim Ed and that was truly a blessing to be side by side. When I first started doing it, I felt like, ‘I don't think I can talk and walk at the same time. This is going to be really hard.’ I remember asking Jim Ed, I said, ‘Okay, I just made a complete fool of myself, how can I deal with this?’ He looked at me and he said, ‘Let it go, fix it, and go on. It's no big deal.’ He was so easygoing and that was amazing to me that he was just so easygoing - nothing ever ruffled his feathers - He just enjoyed everything, every facet of the business.”

The book closes with Brown’s battle with cancer in 2014-2015, of which he eventually succumbed in June 2015. Just a few months before, Brown got to experience one of his greatest dreams – the announcement of his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Becky says it was a moment that still makes her emotional.

“This was certainly a dream that he wanted to be in the Hall of Fame. He just didn't think that was going to happen. Of course, my daughter knew that he was going into the Hall of Fame about three or four days before we knew it. They told him in a meeting at the CMAs and it was so kind of (publicist) Kirt Webster, who told Kim and said we need to get Jim Ed down and let him think that he's doing an interview, but really we're going tell him that he's going into the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

Brown’s induction was announced in March, and by June, he was in the hospital, dying of cancer. It was apparent that he wouldn’t live to see his Medallion Ceremony in October, so executives from the Hall elected to present the singer with his Medallion in his hospital room just days before his passing. “I just can't tell you how glorious that was,” says Becky. “He was so appreciative. He was elated that they took the time to do that, and his room was filled with people from CMA and the Hall of Fame. It was truly a moment. And then at the Medallion Ceremony, I accepted that medallion for him with Maxine and Bonnie, and it was probably one of the most thrilling days of my life.”

There hasn’t been a day that has gone by in the three years since that June day that she hasn’t thought of her husband, she admits. “I have wonderful, wonderful memories and oh, my goodness, all the music.”

Going Our Way is in bookstores now.Without a doubt, one of the greatest voices in Nashville’s history belonged to Jim Ed Brown. From his recordings with sisters Maxine and Bonnie on hits like “The Three Bells” to solo hits such as “Pop A Top,” “Man and Wife Time,” and “Mornng,” his warm voice became a trademark fixture on Country Radio for many years. Brown’s legacy – both musical and personal – shines brightly in the new book Going Our Way, a new book from his widow, Becky Perry Brown (co-written with Roxanne Atwood). The book is a loving recollection of the marriage between the two. Brown tells Music Update Central that the idea behind the project had been floating around for a while. “My daughter had asked me to do this years ago. I just kind of put it on the back burner and halfway started it. I did a chronological order of the beginning - how I met Jim Ed and how we started dating - and so my grandkids were very interested and started asking questions, and I said, ‘You know, I think it's time to try to finish this.” Going Our Way also offers readers a snapshot of the Nashville that existed when the couple moved to Tennessee in the early 1960’s. “The people that we knew – and the people that we were friends with - were all in the business in some way. Little Roy Wiggins lived across the street from us. He was an excellent steel guitar player for Eddy Arnold all those years. It just seemed that everybody we knew were in the music business. Then, we found a Church home. The music business seemed like a small business, you just knew everybody. It's so different now. of course, Nashville was not a large metropolitan city, although it was called Metropolitan Nashville, but it was small - and Brentwood was certainly just a crossroad - so it has grown in leaps and bounds.” In 1967, The Browns decided to call it a day, as Maxine and Bonnie decided to concentrate on raising their families. However, Jim Ed pressed forward, building a career that was equally known for hit records as well as a massive amount of television exposure, as Becky recalls. His first show was The Country Place. We were so excited that Showbiz asked him to be the host of that show. In fact, I did makeup on that show. Jim Ed evolved into a solo artist and did great. It's amazing what he accomplished in this business. Later, he did Nashville on the Road, and then he was spokesperson for Dollar General Stores for about ten years. He never struggled. He always was comfortable where he was in the business. Sometimes when you're in the music business, you have to take the good and the not so good. Jim Ed loved singing for thousands of people and he loved singing for twenty people. It really didn't matter,” she recalls, citing one example that still makes her smile. “I remember Bill Anderson got a group of people to sing the national anthem at the Atlanta Braves game. And so we went - there were probably maybe thirty of us - and so we drove to Atlanta and all the way there Jim Ed sang, and all the way home he sang. He had that guitar and he was singing the whole way. I just always thought he must know every song in the world.” The book talks about many of the highs of their marriage – raising children, her career as a model and a dance teacher – but also, some of the lows. Becky speaks of her husband’s affair with a fellow artist in the 1970’s – something she said was very emotionally taxing to bring up. “That was the hardest part of writing the book, talking about Jim Ed's affair. I can talk about it now because there has been so much water under the dam, and it's been forgiven and forgotten. I felt like I needed to write it because it was part of the truth of our marriage. But, it was hard.” The affair caused the couple to divorce briefly in the early 1980s. Becky says her faith was one of the integral reasons she made it through. “Sometimes, reality hits and you realize, you need to turn things over and let God handle the situation. That really does make a huge difference. It brings you back to life.” The couple remarried in 1981, and Becky says she now has a pleasant relationship with the woman whom Jim Ed had an affair with. “There no hard feelings towards her and we just can talk and be friends. Sometimes that's just not humanly possible, but with God's help it absolutely is possible.” With a deepened commitment to each other, the couple soon found themselves working together in the late 1980’s on the TNN travel program, Going Our Way – from where the title of the book comes from. Becky says that experience definitely brought them closer. “When they wanted me to be the co-host of that show, I thought, "Oh my goodness, do they really want me?’ I got to travel and work with Jim Ed and that was truly a blessing to be side by side. When I first started doing it, I felt like, ‘I don't think I can talk and walk at the same time. This is going to be really hard.’ I remember asking Jim Ed, I said, ‘Okay, I just made a complete fool of myself, how can I deal with this?’ He looked at me and he said, ‘Let it go, fix it, and go on. It's no big deal.’ He was so easygoing and that was amazing to me that he was just so easygoing - nothing ever ruffled his feathers - He just enjoyed everything, every facet of the business.” The book closes with Brown’s battle with cancer in 2014-2015, of which he eventually succumbed in June 2015. Just a few months before, Brown got to experience one of his greatest dreams – the announcement of his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Becky says it was a moment that still makes her emotional. “This was certainly a dream that he wanted to be in the Hall of Fame. He just didn't think that was going to happen. Of course, my daughter knew that he was going into the Hall of Fame about three or four days before we knew it. They told him in a meeting at the CMAs and it was so kind of (publicist) Kirt Webster, who told Kim and said we need to get Jim Ed down and let him think that he's doing an interview, but really we're going tell him that he's going into the Country Music Hall of Fame.” Brown’s induction was announced in March, and by June, he was in the hospital, dying of cancer. It was apparent that he wouldn’t live to see his Medallion Ceremony in October, so executives from the Hall elected to present the singer with his Medallion in his hospital room just days before his passing. “I just can't tell you how glorious that was,” says Becky. “He was so appreciative. He was elated that they took the time to do that, and his room was filled with people from CMA and the Hall of Fame. It was truly a moment. And then at the Medallion Ceremony, I accepted that medallion for him with Maxine and Bonnie, and it was probably one of the most thrilling days of my life.” There hasn’t been a day that has gone by in the three years since that June day that she hasn’t thought of her husband, she admits. “I have wonderful, wonderful memories and oh, my goodness, all the music.” Going Our Way is in bookstores now.

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