Connie Smith At Grand Ole Opry
Connie Smith always knew that she was going to be a country music star. At age 5, she remembers saying, “Someday I'm gonna sing on the Grand Ole Opry [stage].” As a child she was surrounded by music, her stepfather played the mandolin, two of her brothers played the fiddle and guitar, and she herself learned to play the guitar as an early teenager.
In 1963, at age 22, Smith was a housewife with a newborn baby living in Ohio when she and her husband trekked to nearby Columbus, Ohio, to see Opry star Bill Anderson. While there, she was talked into entering a talent contest. Little did she know this decision would start her country singing career. She won the contest and was able to meet Bill Anderson who offered to help her launch her career with an appearance on the Ernest Tubb Record Shop radio show in March, 1964. Ernest Tubb heard her perform and asked to come back to Nashville with him to record demos. The next month, she signed with RCA Records and recorded Bill Anderson's song, “Once a Day.” The song hit No. 1 on the Top Country Songs Chart. Other Top 10 hits followed including “I Can't Remember,” “Nobody but a Fool,” and “Cincinnati, Ohio.” In 1965, she was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry, her dream since age 5.
Smith went on to release 34 studio albums, 51 singles, and has been the recipient of 12 major awards since the start of her career in 1964. A few of her hit songs include, “Ain't Had No Lovin',” “Just One Time,” “The Hurtin's All Over,” and “You and Your Sweet Love.”
In 1997, Connie married fellow Opry country musician, Marty Stuart. The couple had actually met in 1970 when Stuart attended one of her concerts at age 11. He wore a bright yellow t-shirt to the concert so that Connie would notice him during her performance. She finally noticed him 25 years later.
Dolly Parton said, “There's really only three female singers in the world: Streisand, Ronstadt, and Connie Smith. The rest of us are only pretending.” After nearly 50 years in country music, that statement is still true.