Recently CNN asked if 2016 was "the year of the celebrity death." It's certainly seeming that way. Today (7/16) we bid farewell to our third Country Music Hall of Fame member this year.
Bonnie Brown, one of the great sibling trio the Browns, died today after a bout with lung cancer, 16 days shy of her 78th birthday.
Bonnie was the "baby" of the Browns, not joining older siblings Maxine and Jim Ed in the act until after she graduated from high school. Once she did, and Jim Ed was discharged from the Army, the magic of their harmonies took country and pop by storm with songs like "The Three Bells" and "The Old Lamplighter."
The sisters retired from the act in the mid-60s to raise families, and Jim Ed set out on a successful solo career. Still, the siblings would reunite occasionally on the Grand Ole Opry and Country's Family Reunion shows, and the magical harmonies flowed effortlessly from them as if it had been hours, not decades, since they had performed together.
The Browns were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015. Shortly after their induction was announced, Jim Ed, who had been battling lung cancer, took a turn for the worse and was presented his Hall of Fame medallion in his hospital bed. Shortly after their formal induction Bonnie announced that, even though she never smoked, she, too, had lung cancer.
Tonight when the stars come out, think of Jim Ed and Bonnie, singing the tale of "The Old Lamplighter" who'd "make the night a little brighter wherever he would go" together again. And remember their families in your thoughts and prayers.