Although she died nearly a decade ago and retired from performing long before that, country singer Goldie Hill is still fondly remembered by many fans. Some might recall that she was the long-time spouse of country star Carl Smith, but she was a solid performer in her own right and helped pave the way for later female singers. In fact, when she topped country charts in 1953 with “I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes” — an ‘answer song’ to Perry Como‘s huge pop hit, “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes” — it was one of the few hits by a female in an era dominated by male stars.
Argolda Voncile Hill was born in depression-era Texas, where she grew up picking cotton and — like many others — listening to the radio and dreaming of a musical career. By the time she approached adulthood her older brothers Tommy and Ken had already started careers in country music, working with stars like Webb Pierce and Hank Williams, and she wasted no time following in their footsteps. Tommy was leading his own group by the time little sis came along and she soon began singing with them, billed as the Golden Hillbilly.
It didn’t take long for Goldie to – er – strike gold in the form of her recording of “I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes,” a classic ‘answer’ or ‘response’ song to Perry Como’s big hit record. It shot to the top of the country charts, a rarity for a female singer at that time, and for the next few years she enjoyed a lot of success, not only as a solo star but often singing in duets with guys like Justin Tubb and Red Sovine.
In 1957 she formed a different kind of duet by marrying country star Carl Smith, who’d recently divorced June Carter. (Who would then marry ‘Rip’ Nix, and eventually Johnny Cash, in case you’re keeping score.) Goldie subsequently began slowing down her performing pace to enjoy being a wife and the mother of three. She still appeared from time to time and she also hit the recording studio with regularity into the 1960s, but by the following decade she’d pretty much retired to the couple’s horse farm. When she died in 2005 she was 72 and her marriage had lasted almost a half-century. (Smith died in 2010.)