Goldie Hill, a glamorous figure in 1950s country music who left the limelight
to marry star Carl Smith and raise their family, died Thursday night in Baptist
Hospital after a battle with cancer.
Argolda Voncile "Goldie" Hill Smith, 72, was born in Karnes
County, Texas. She began her musical journey in the Texas honky-tonks,
a trip that took her to radio stardom on the Louisiana Hayride and the
Grand Ole Opry.
Her proudest moment in recent years came in 2003, when her husband was
inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, long after many thought
the singer of Let's Live a Little was due that honor.
In an interview at their Williamson County home shortly before his
induction, Mrs. Smith said she didn't regret her decision to leave
the road in 1957. Though she continued to record for several years, "there
was never any question (raising a family) was what I wanted to do. I'm fortunate
I didn't have to leave the business. I still had the same friends because
Carl was still in the business."
Inspired by her musical brothers, Tommy and Kenny Hill, she began singing
in her teens with Tommy Hill (writer of Slowly). The brother-sister duo
joined up with Webb Pierce's band at the Louisiana Hayride in April 1952.
In the 1950s, the so-called Golden Hillbilly became known for her "answer
songs," such as Why Talk to My Heart, answering Ray Price's Talk to
Your Heart, and I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes
(after Skeets McDonald's No. 1 Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes).
Mrs. Smith recorded a bit into the '60s, but mostly stayed at home, raising three children.
In recent years, her routine was going to breakfast with her husband before
they took a 1½-mile walk on the road by their home. Most Thursdays, she could
be found lunching in Nashville with gossip-swapping music
pals, "The Lah-Di-Dah Girls."
"In the first half of the 1950s, you could just about count on one
hand the number of professional, full-time female artists in country music.
Goldie Hill was one of those people," said Eddie Stubbs, WSM Grand Ole
In addition to her husband of 47 years, Mrs. Smith is survived by a daughter,
Lori Lynn Smith of Franklin; sons Carl Smith Jr. and Dean Smith, all of
Franklin; stepdaughter Carlene Carter of Los Angeles; 12 grandchildren;
and four great-grandchildren.
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