Sign up for newsletter
 

Singer Carl Smith dies at 82

Sunday, January 17, 2010 – Carl Smith, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, known as Mr. Country, died Saturday at 82. He was the former husband of June Carter Cash and Goldie Hill. A honky tonker, who also knew his way around a ballad, Smith was one of country's most successful male artists during the 1950s, accumulating 30 Top 10 hits. No further information about the cause of death was available.

Smith was born March 16, 1927 in Maynardsville, Tenn. As a teenager, Smith learned to play string bass and worked at radio station WROL in Knoxville, Tenn. After graduating high school and serving in the Navy, he returned to the station and played bass for country singers Molly O'Day and Skeets Williamson and began his own singing career. A fellow radio station colleague sent a copy of Smith to radio station WSM in Nashville, which soon signed him to perform on the station. In 1950, Smith inked a record deal with Columbia Records.

Smith told the Tennessean newspaper, "My first job at WSM was six or seven days a week at 5:15 in the morning. The announcer would put me on and then just leave. I started being on the Opry pretty regularly. They didn't say you were a 'member' of the Opry back then. You just were on it or you weren't." Smith later would leave the Opry in 1956.

In 1951, he hit number 2 on the chart with Let's Live a Little. The next year, he had three number ones with Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way, (When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There and Are You Teasing Me. Hey Joe was number 1 in 1953. The hits continued with Back Up Buddy, Loose Talk, You Are the One and others. His last top 10 was Ten Thousand Drums in 1959.

Smith continued recording, but the hits stopped coming. He stayed with Columbia until 1975, leaving for Hickory Records. By the late 1970s, he retired from music, although he recorded again in 1983 for Gusto Records. During his career, Smith also ventured into Western swing.

Smith entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003, an honor that some said was long overdue. "I appreciate it very much. I was afraid I was going to have to die before this happened," Smith said.

On the personal side, Smith married June Carter, the daughter of Maybelle Carter of Carter Family fame. They had a daughter, Carlene Carter, the country singer. Smith and Carter divorced in 1957. That same year, he married singer Goldie Hill, who died in 2005.

More news for Carlene Carter

CD reviews for Carlene Carter

Carter Girl CD review - Carter Girl
It might have been easier, and certainly less emotionally taxing, had Carlene Carter just recorded a batch of Carter Family songs using vocal muscle memory alone. However, as soon as you hear Carter describing the losses of loved ones during "Lonesome Valley," you realize right away this is not just some sort of capitalization on a revered family name. It's a personal testimony. With expert production help from Don Was and a bevy of country stars and top notch Americana »»»
Stronger CD review - Stronger
When Carlene Carter recorded "Musical Shapes" in 1980, country music was woven into her DNA and pop/rock burned in her untamed heart. The daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith, Carter exuded the traditional conviction that was the hallmark of her lineage and the contemporary verve that was exemplified by her marriage to new wave icon Nick Lowe. Ten years later, Carter's brand of rock-scorched country was topping the charts, but in 1980, "Musical Shapes" barely made a dent. »»»
Hindsight 20/20
"...The whole purpose and point of striving to create music," Carlene Carter says in the liner notes to this compilation, "is to remind us all we're alive." Being alive for Carter means rock 'n roll thrill and country candor. In the'80's, traditionalists like Dolly Parton crossed over into rock and landed in disaster, but Carter mixed genres artfully. Her roots are as much in Sun Studios as in Clinch Mountain. She plays with sharp, spunky musicians, and often matches her easy going twang with the »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Evans does one for the fans – The Downey Theatre is a relatively small community venue. Yet, when Sara Evans took its stage, she did so with such confidence and professionalism, you quickly forgot where you were. She gave this small, but loyal, audience an entertaining show that made you wish there were more there to witness it. Evans, who started her musical career extremely... »»»
Concert Review: The Cactus Blossoms move beyond Everlys – The Cactus Blossoms most obvious comparison is the Everly Brothers. Yes, Page Burkum and Jack Torrey are brothers, and they sure sounded like it. But only playing the Everlys card in describing The Cactus Blossoms would have sold them short. While the harmonies played a large role throughout, Torrey enjoyed a number of songs where he was the lead... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Tyminski goes dark Dan Tyminski (known simply as "Tyminski" on his 2017 release "Southern Gothic") has traditional music roots and unassailable bluegrass street cred especially given his membership in Alison Krauss' Union Station. He is also a powerful songwriter and has been writing songs for himself and others for years now.... »»»
Washburn, Fleck create "Echoes" Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have powerhouse individual talents; each has followed an estimable career path to where they find themselves today: making complex, but spare, records, writing music together and touring with their son Juno. Their new release, "Echoes In The Valley" features mostly songs written by Fleck and Washburn, banjos, Washburn's strong vocals and very little else.... »»»
Hillman bides his time Legends don't come any more legendary than Chris Hillman. The roll call of bands that comprises Hillman's half century in music reads like a wing exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, the Souther Hillman Furay Band, the Desert Rose Band,... »»»
Mr. Jukebox CD review - Mr. Jukebox
Apparently someone to forgot to tell Joshua Hedley that country music has passed him by. Where does Hedley, aka apparently known as the Mayor of Lower Broad, come off to incorporating honky tonk, Texas swing, western swing and countrypolitan all in the first three songs of his debut?  »»»
Volunteer CD review - Volunteer
Dave Cobb produced "Volunteer" for Old Crow Medicine Show, and while word on the street was that this promised to be a more rocking, less roots music effort, such talk shouldn't dissuade fans of the group's established sound from checking it out.  »»»
The Tree of Forgiveness CD review - The Tree of Forgiveness
Mortality is very much on the mind of John Prine on this, his first album of all-new songs in 13 years. Understandably. After all, this is a man who has survived lung cancer and squamous cell cancer, the latter of which took a toll on his vocal cords. He's also had two knee replacements and a hip replacement. »»»
Paco and Melodic Polaroids CD review - Paco and Melodic Polaroids
Paco is the name of Tim Easton's Gibson J-45, which he bought for $100 and a couple of trade-ins 30 years ago. The name was bestowed on the guitar in Paris by a Deadhead. It's been Easton's best traveling companion and songwriting aid. »»»
Find a Light CD review - Find a Light
Blackberry Smoke will never fit the mold of a mainstream country act the way, say, Midland has done. They love to rock way too much to ever tamp it down permanently. And the aptly named "The Crooked Kind" follows a rollicking, rock & roll path that feels like just the right road. »»»
Years CD review - Years
For the less informed, it might seem like the blink of an eye since Sarah Shook & the Disarmers dropped its first album but those of us paying closer attention know that last year's release of "Sidelong" was actually Bloodshot's reissue of Shook's 2015 album that she originally distributed through CD Baby. »»»