Country Music Hall Of Famer Carl Smith Passes Away At Age 82
January 18, 2010 at 7:17 AM (PT)
Country Music Hall of Famer CARL SMITH, known as the "Country Gentleman," passed away on JANUARY 16th at his home in FRANKLIN, TN. He was 82.
SMITH was one of the most successful NASHVILLE-based artists of the 1950s and retired in 1978. He bred champion cutting horses for decades and spent time on his 500-acre FRANKLIN ranch with his horses and his wife, singer GOLDIE HILL, until her death in 2005.
SMITH was born in MAYNARDVILLE, TN, which is also the birthplace of ROY ACUFF. In 1944, while in high school, he began singing on CAS WALKER's WROL radio show. In MAY of 1950, he signed a recording contract with COLUMBIA RECORDS and a radio contract with WSM/NASHVILLE.
SMITH said: “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.”
Beginning in 1951, SMITH had a streak of 21 straight Top 10 country hits, including “Loose Talk,” “Hey Joe!” and “Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way.”
SMITH married JUNE CARTER in 1952. They divorced four years later after the birth of daughter CARLENE CARTER.
In 1954, SMITH was one of four founders of the CEDARWOOD/DRIFTWOOD publishing company, which became a major NASHVILLE publisher. He left the OPRY in 1956, and began working often on television, including being a part of the first live television broadcast from NASHVILLE, on WSM CHANNEL 4.
SMITH was inducted into the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME in 2003.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced but SMITH is expected to be buried at FRANKLIN's WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL GARDENS, alongside GOLDIE HILL, his wife of 48 years.
For more on CARL SMITH's life, click here.