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: Moakler does it his way – Steve Moakler told the good-sized crowd that he had played just about every college there is in the area. Now, that would be quite a lot and probably a bit hyperbolic. But the point is he's trying to do it his way. Without the benefits of commercial radio play or a label behind him, Moakler has benefitted from extraterrestrial radio playing his... »»»
Concert Review: Giddens captivates, engages – About the only thing wrong that Rhiannon Giddens did was play a too small 900-plus seat venue that sold out months in advance. Aside from that misstep of not allowing in even more of her fans, Giddens was captivating, engaging and certainly not afraid to continue as potent musical force, although she was far more overtly political.... »»»
Subscribe to Country News Digest Country News Digest      Follow Country Standard Time on twitter CST      Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook CST

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Lane assumes mantle of "Highway Queen" For most artists, eight years is a fair amount of time in their careers. For Nikki Lane, eight years represents the entirety of her recorded history, and she's filled that relatively short time span with a highlight reel of impressive accomplishments, not the least of which would be actually... »»»
The Avett Brothers come home to MerleFest For The Avett Brothers, MerleFest is a coming home of sorts. This year's edition of the MerleFest "traditional-plus" music festival in Wilkesboro, N.C., the event's 30th anniversary, a milestone sure to be marked by many different special appearances and commemorations during the festival's four-day run, is no exception.... »»»
Gibson Brothers rise up from "In the Ground" There's no more solid live bluegrass show than the Gibson Brothers. They play with great technical skill and crispness. Their harmonies are just what a brother act should be: sweet, true and never forced. Brothers Leigh and Eric Gibson surround themselves... »»»
Things Change CD review - Things Change
Hipsters may only consider checking out Bobby Bare's "Things Change" due to the participation of hot item Chris Stapleton, who sings on a remake of the old hit "Detroit City." Hopefully, though, they'll immediately recognize Bare's immense talent and stick around for the whole shooting match. Bare's no spring chicken anymore, but he sounds extremely good throughout this classic-sounding country effort.  »»»
Postcard Town CD review - Postcard Town
Formed in 2014 in the far reaches of Sheridan, Wyo., a place well off the map as far as connectivity with the bigger marketplace is concerned, The Two Tracks make a sound that ought to be instantly engaging to anyone appreciative of a true down home delivery. Consequently, the band's sophomore offering, "Postcard Town," brings them as close to the mainstream as one might imagine. »»»
Transient Lullaby CD review - Transient Lullaby
Being part of Steve Earle's backing band, The Dukes, would seem to some a baptism of fire. Yes, The Mastersons - specifically, the husband and wife team of Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore - not only survived but thrived, spinning off a solo career that's resulted in three excellent albums. "Transient Lullaby" affirms the promise shown early on, making them an obvious heir apparent to Gram and Emmylou, Johnny and June, Porter and Dolly. »»»
Road Less Traveled CD review - Road Less Traveled
A last name like Petite suggests a double entendre, not to mention a punch line for all kinds of cheap jokes. So imagine the surprise that comes with the first discovery of Sara Petite's songs and singing. Big, bold and brassy, she comes across like an artist with a timeless resume, a whirlwind of musical expression who creates an ageless sound prepped by cool and confidence.  »»»
Big Bad Luv CD review - Big Bad Luv
John Moreland sings songs about love, mostly desperate love - like the variety sung of during The Band-esque "Love is Not an Answer" - on "Big Bad Luv." Via the latter, he confesses, "I don't need an answer/I need you." Yes, he wants love, but he needs connection. »»»
God's Problem Child CD review - God's Problem Child
One thing is for certain, Willie Nelson is still not dead. In fact, he may be more alive than ever considering the amount of work he is churning out these days. "God's Problem Child" is Nelson's 12th release in the last 5 years, and thankfully, it does not appear that he will be slowing down any time soon. »»»