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Dec. 24: By this time back in 1964, Connie Smith’s killer debut was nearing the midpoint of its eight-week run at the top of the Billboard chart — a feat achieved by no female country artist before or since. The record transformed the 23-year-old Smith from an Ohio housewife who occasionally sang to one of the top stars in country music.

The song was written for her by Bill Anderson, who was determined to get her a recording contract. He first shopped her to his own label, Decca, but Owen Bradley didn’t think she fit in on a roster that included Loretta Lynn and Kitty Wells. Down the block at RCA Victor, Chet Atkins liked what he heard in Smith and signed her, assigning her to producer Bob Ferguson. Thus began a long collaboration that produced five Top 5 albums and 17 Top 10 singles at RCA, after which she moved first to Columbia then to Monument before semi-retiring to rear her kids.

Connie Smith is one of the great singers in any genre. Get her full career story here, along with a discussion of her artistry and influence here. Then enjoy this true classic, one of my all-time favorite country records — and the source of the tagline of this blog.

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