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Country Music Hall of Famer Maxine Brown Russell of The Browns dead at 87

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/22/2019 USA TODAY

a woman posing for a photo: Maxine Brown © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Maxine Brown Maxine Brown Russell, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015 as part of sibling trio The Browns, died in Little Rock, Arkansas, Monday from complications of heart and kidney disease. Russell was 87 years old. She was in hospice care surrounded by family when she passed away.

Russell was born into her musical family on April 27, 1931, in Campti, Louisiana. She performed with siblings Jim Ed and Bonnie Brown as The Browns. The siblings' first chart single, "Here Today and Gone Tomorrow," peaked at No. 7 in 1955, and in 1956, their recording of "I Take the Chance" hit No. 2 on the country charts. However, The Browns were most known for their sweet harmonies on “The Three Bells,” which was released in 1959.

Produced by Chet Atkins, "The Three Bells" spent 10 weeks atop the country chart, four weeks on the pop charts, and even crossed over to the Hot R&B Sides chart, peaking at No. 10. Five decades after its release, “The Three Bells” experienced a minor resurgence when it was featured in two episodes of the final season of the HBO drama “The Sopranos.”

a group of people posing for the camera: From left, Jody Williams, Maxine Brown, Becky Brown, Bonnie Brown, and Bobby Bare with the plaque honoring Jim Ed Brown and The Browns during The Country Music Hall of Fame 2015 Medallion Ceremony. © Rick Diamond / Getty Images From left, Jody Williams, Maxine Brown, Becky Brown, Bonnie Brown, and Bobby Bare with the plaque honoring Jim Ed Brown and The Browns during The Country Music Hall of Fame 2015 Medallion Ceremony.

The Browns continued to find crossover success with songs including “The Old Lamplighter" and “Scarlet Ribbons.” Russell's first success as a songwriter came with The Browns' release of "Looking Back To See." In 1963, The Browns were invited to join the Grand Ole Opry.

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After more than a decade as a trio, the Browns stopped recording together in 1967, but her artistic endeavors didn't end. In 2012, Russell was awarded the Ella Dicky Literary Award for her 2005 autobiography "Looking Back To See." The Browns were inducted into The Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame, The Arkansas Walkway of Stars, The Missouri Walkway of Stars and are a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Arkansas Country Music Hall of Fame.

Related slideshow: Stars we've lost in 2019 (via Photo Services)

 

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