NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A late West Virginia musician was recognized Thursday for his contributions to country music with a statue outside of the home of the Grand Ole Opry.
A life-sized bronze statue of Little Jimmy Dickens was installed outside of the Ryman Auditorium as part of the structure’s 125th anniversary. The sculpture was placed on Fourth Avenue adjacent to the statue of Thomas Ryman, who led the construction of the building.
James Cecil Dickens was born in Bolt, W.Va., on Dec. 19, 1920. He was known for his height — 4 feet 11 inches tall — and novelty songs like “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose,” which was a No. 1 hit.
He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1948 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983.
Later in his career, Dickens became friends with fellow West Virginian Brad Paisley and made appearances in his music videos.
Dickens died Jan. 2, 2015, following heart problems.
“He saw everything in those decades that he stood on that stage, like Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn and Garth Brooks,” Paisley said at the unveiling. “By the time Jimmy left us, he had become the Grand Ole Opry. On a night that he wasn’t there, you were cheated out of something and he knew that. He realized when he was well enough to do it, he went. He knew that he owed it to the younger generation that wanted to see him, it was another lesson in how you entertain people. He gave them everything that he had on that stage and in this building for many many years.”
A statue of Bill Monroe — “the Father of Bluegrass” — was also unveiled.