Helen Cornelius is best known to fans for the string of hit duets she recorded with Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown.
The Monroe City, Mo., native first toured in a family trio with her sisters. She eventually stepped out on her own with her band, the Crossroads. Columbia/Screen Gems Music signed her as a songwriter in 1970, and she finally made it to Nashville in 1973. She released four singles, none of which was met with quite the level of success she had hoped.
One day, she was paired with Brown, and her luck changed. Fans immediately embraced the duo's 1976 release "I Don't Want to Have to Marry You," and it became a huge hit. The two even began appearing on the Nashville on the Road television series. Having found a winning formula, Cornelius and Brown next released "Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye." The duet followed suit and entered the Top 5. The pair kept the hits coming with "I'll Never Be Free" and "If the World Ran Out of Love Tonight." Amid their success, Cornelius actually found time to squeeze in a solo hit with "What Cha Doin' After Midnight Baby." Cornelius and Brown's success continued until 1981 when Cornelius decided to dedicate herself to her solo career, which she continued with the release of "Love Never Comes Easy." After another solo album in 1985, she and Brown reunited on tour in 1988. Much to the delight of audiences, the duo has performed on the Grand Ole Opry, as well.
With a successful recording career and touring on her resume, Cornelius took to a different stage, appearing in a revival of Annie Get Your Gun in 1984. In 1990, she opened and performed at her own theatre in Gatlinburg, Tenn., in the Smoky Mountains. From 2002 to 2003, she performed at the Jim Stafford Theatre, which took her back home to Missouri.