The Browns were an American family singing group from Pine Bluff, Arkansas made up of Jim Ed Brown and his sisters, Maxine Brown and Bonnie Brown.
Country music singers, they sang individually at rural venues until 1954 when Maxine Brown, and younger brother Jim Ed, signed a record contract as a singing duo. Eighteen-year-old Bonnie joined the group in 1955, and the following year they were signed by Chet Atkins, RCA Victor Records producer in Nashville, Tennessee. The family trio recorded several songs that met with only modest success until 1959, when their 45 rpm folk single called "The Three Bells" was a no. 1 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 pop music and country music charts. Based on a song called "Les trois cloches," the song was originally a hit in France for both the group Les Compagnons de la chanson and Édith Piaf.
The Browns followed up the success of "The Three Bells" with "Scarlet Ribbons" and "The Old Lamplighter," recordings that also did very well on both the pop and country music charts. With an international following, The Browns toured Europe extensively and recorded further moderate successes on the country music charts. In 1963, they became part of the Grand Ole Opry.
In 1965, Jim Ed Brown began working on a solo career, and in 1967 the trio formally disbanded. Jim Ed continued to record for RCA and had a number of country hits starting in 1965 while still with The Browns. In 1967, he released his first solo top 10 with "Pop A Top" which became his signature song. In 1970, he gained a crossover hit with "Morning" which went to number 4 on the country charts and number 47 on the pop charts. Other hits for Jim Ed included "Angel's Sunday"(1971), "Southern Loving"(1973), "Sometime Sunshine"(1974) and "It's That Time Of Night"(1974). In 1976, he released a string of major duet hits with Helen Cornelius starting with the #1 hit "I Don't Wanna Have To Marry You". Other hits for the duo included "Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye"(1977), "Born Believer"(1977), "I'll Never Be Free"(1978), "If The World Ran Out Of Love Tonight"(1978), "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"(1979), "Lying In Love With You"(1979), "Fools"(1979), "Morning Comes Too Early"(1980), and "Don't Bother To Knock"(1981).
Jim Ed has also hosted the syndicated country shows Jim Ed Brown's Country Place, and Nashville On The Road. On The Nashville Network he hosted the talent show You Can Be A Star, and the travel show Going Our Way which featured his wife, Becky, where they went traveling to different places in an RV.
Maxine Brown briefly had a solo career during the late 1960's releasing an album and single for Chart Records titled "Sugar Cane Country".
In 2006, the Browns reunited to perform "The Old Lamplighter" and "The Three Bells" for the PBS special, Country Pop Legends.