HomeEntertainmentMusicCarl Smith Was Born On This Day in 1927: Relive the Career of June Carter Cash’s First Husband

Carl Smith Was Born On This Day in 1927: Relive the Career of June Carter Cash’s First Husband

by Will Shepard
(Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images)

Carl Smith was one of country music’s most popular singers in the 1950s and 60s. He was popular enough to earn the moniker of “Mister Country.”

On March 15, 1927, in Maynardville, Tennessee, he was born. Carl Smith was the second star to come out of the small town, the first being Roy Acuff.

Carl Smith was devoting his life to music from the very get-go. By the time he was in high school, he was already becoming a radio star. While the fame was mostly regional, he was still a very recognizable name on Knoxville radio.

After shipping out in the Navy, he came back to making music almost immediately. He began performing as a guitarist, bassist, and vocalist. Not only was he performing well, but he was also playing with some big names, people like Archie Campbell, Molly O’Day, Skeets Williamson, and the Brewster Brothers.

Carl Smith Had Early Success in His Career

In 1950, he was already playing at the Grand Ole Opry. More importantly, he was getting ready to sign a record deal with Columbia Records. After signing with the company, he began churning out big hits.

Carl Smith’s first four top ten hits were “Let’s Live a Little,” “Mr. Moon,” “If Teardrops Were Pennies,” and “Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way.” Those hits were numbers two, four, eight, and one, respectively, on the Billboard country chart.

Each of the songs were of the heartthrob type that challenged the best singers of the time in popularity. He was competing with the likes of Hank Williams for the most popular country songs.

After his first handful of hits, he began making even more hits. He was soon introduced to June Carter. The two began dating and were married in 1952. The power couple had one daughter together, Carlene Carter. But, after only four years of marriage, the two would get divorced.

Just a year later, Carl Smith got married to Goldie Hill. The two country musicians would go on to have three children together. The couple remained together until her passing in 2005.

Carl Smith would continue pumping out hits well into the late 1960s. He was also making movies, appearing in two films that both came out in 1957. But, he didn’t stop making new music until 1978, with his final single being “This Lady Loving Me.”

At the end of his life, he began raising horses on his farm outside of Nashville, Tennessee. In 2003, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Carl Smith passed away from a heart attack in 2010.