Helen Cornelius

Helen Cornelius

Helen Cornelius (b. Helen Lorene Johnson, Dec. 6, 1941, Monroe City, Missouri) is an American country singer-songwriter and actress, best remembered for a series of hit duets with Jim Ed Brown, many of which reachd the U.S. country singles top ten during the late 1970s and early '80s.

Cornelius grew up on a farm in Missouri; her older brothers played in country bands, and she formed a singing trio with sisters Judy and Sharon, who toured locally with the blessing of their father. Subsequently, Helen began touring on her own with a backup band called The Crossroads.

After completing high school, Cornelius wed and became employed as a secretary. She began touring again at the end of the 1960s and signed with Screen Gems Music as a songwriter in 1970. When the company went under, she sent a demo tape to Jerry Crutchfield, who offered her a contract with MCA Records; eventually she signed with Columbia Records, with whom she released two singles. In 1975, she signed with RCA Records; two further singles followed with little recognition.

In 1976, she recorded a duet, "I Don't Want to Have to Marry You" with Jim Ed Brown; it was a major success in America. Further solo singles failed to take off, but her next duet with Brown, "Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye", was another smash, and the pair began playing on the TV show "Nashville on the Road". She continued to record with Brown, releasing the hits "I'll Never Be Free" and "If the World Ran Out of Love Tonight", and finally notching a solo hit with "Whatcha Doin' After Midnight Baby". In 1981, after topping the U.S. country charts one last time with Brown with "Morning Comes too Early", Cornelius broke with Brown, and enjoyed moderate success with solo material, touring with The Statler Brothers and performing in an "Annie Get Your Gun" road show. In 1988, she and Brown reunited for a nationwide tour.

Cornelius opened Nashville South in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the 1990s, where she performed with a house band nightly. Early in the 2000s, she took a regular gig at the Jim Stafford Theater in Branson, Missouri.


Charting singles

*"I Don't Want to Have to Marry You" (1976) US Country #1
*"There's Always a Goodbye" (1976) #91
*"Born Believer" (1977) #12
*"Fall Softly Snow" (1977) #91
*"If it Ain't Love By Now" (1977) #12
*"Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye" (1977) #2
*"I'll Never Be Free" (1978) #11
*"If the World Ran Out of Love Tonight" (1978) #6
*"Whatcha Doin' After Midnight, Baby" (1978) #30
*"Fools" (1979) #3
*"Lying in Love with You" (1979) #2
*"You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (1979) #10
*"Morning Comes Too Early" (1980) #5
*"The Bedroom" (1980) #24
*"Don't Bother to Knock" (1981) #13


* [http://wc09.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:hpfwxqq5ld6e~T1 Helen Cornelius] at Allmusic

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