The song that celebrates the three great events in each of our lives, our birth, our marriage and our death, “The Three Bells” goes back to France in 1945. The song was originally called “Les Trois Cloches” (which means “The Three Bells” in French). It was written by Jean Villard Gilles and Marc Herrand. The English lyrics were written by Bert Reisfeld and was first recorded in America by The Melody Makers in 1948.
Jim Ed Brown was a senior in high school when he first saw the song sung on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1951. He really liked it and thought one day , he might record it himself.He said that he liked the tune and the fact that his name is the main character in the song had nothing to do with his desire to record the song, but I don’t believe that.
After high school, Jim Ed participated in a talent show in which he won first place. He, along with his two sisters, Bonnie and Maxine, were hired to sing on a local radio station for one of the many live country music shows that played on the radio in the Fifties. From there, they went to the Louisiana Hayride which was almost like going to the Grand Ole Opry. They started recording seriously as The Browns in 1956. Their first big hit was “Here Today and Gone Tomorrow (#7.) Then in 1959, they recorded “The Three Bells” and made country music and pop music history.
After the enormous success of “The Three Bells,” the Browns continued to record and sing together until 1967 when they disbanded. Jim Ed Brown then started a solo career in country music that continued until his death in 2015. Jim Ed was, certainly, one of the greats of country music.
The song stayed at number one on the country chart for ten weeks. It entered the pop chart on June 3, 1959 and stayed at number one for four weeks.