It is with tremendous sadness that I report the passing of one of country music's greatest entertainers, singers, and legends. Carl Smith passed away Saturday (January 16) in Nashville.
Carl began his career in Knoxville (which could be nicknamed "the cradle of the Hall of Fame" given all the Hall of Famers who started there), on WROL. In 1951 he married June Carter and got a record deal on Columbia. The marriage to June didn't last. The marriage to Columbia was far more successful, as Carl scored hit after hit through the 1950s and 60s.
He continued to have hits in the 1970s, but he -- not the decline in success -- ended his career. He retired to live on his farm with second wife Goldie Hill (of "I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes" fame) and raise horses.
Carl's career earned him a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003. However, in one of the biggest insults to a Hall of Fame inductee ever displayed, he was not allowed to give a speech on the CMA Awards telecast the night of his induction. Had traditional country fan Vince Gill not been hosting the show and acknowledged Carl in his seat, the very presence of the newest recipient of country's highest honor would have gone completely unnoticed.
The love of Carl's life, Goldie Hill, died in February 2005 of cancer. They had been married for 47 years at the time of her passing.
Country music has lost a "tall tall gentleman" of talent. We will not see the likes of him again.
A sad and loving farewell to Carl Smith, who was 82.