Margo Smith sings “Take My Hand Precious Lord”
Country singer Margo Smith, sometimes referred to as “The Tennessee Yodeler,” was born as Betty Lou Miller on April 9 1942. Remarkably, Margo’s over four-decade music career began in a kindergarten classroom as a teacher–she had always dreamed of a career in country music–so she wrote music to incorporate into her lesson plans and play for her student. As word spread of Margo’s talent, she began to perform at PTA meetings, local gatherings, and eventually, on radio broadcasts. She cut a demo and sent it to several labels, which caught the attention of Twentieth Century Fox Records. They signed her in 1975 and later that year, released her first single, “There I Said It” was a top-10 hit. Her follow up single, “Paper Lovin’” claimed #30 on the charts.
However, despite her overnight success, the following year she found herself without a label as Twentieth Century folded its Nashville division. Smith immediately signed with Warner Brothers and began working with producer Norro Wilson. Without missing a beat, she scored three more top-10 singles over the next few years– among them was her first number one single, “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You.” She also hit the top-10 with “Cup of Tea,” a duet with Rex Allen, Jr. Through the end of the 70’s, she toured frequently with her band Night Flight and opened for acts such as Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette, Kenny Rogers, and Charley Pride.
Smith’s next label jump was to AMI in 1982 which produced only minor chart action. After that partnership fizzled, she signed with a number of country labels, hitting the country charts one final time with “Echo Me” on Playback in 1988.
In the late 80’s, Margo landed an acting gig on TNN’s “I-40 Paradise” and ventured into the Christian Country music realm, forming a gospel duo with her daughter titled Margo Smith & Holly. With Homeland Records, the duo would find success on Contemporary Christian Radio with hits that included “This Time” and “God’s Kept me All These Years.” They were awarded Vocal Duo/ Group of the Year in 1994 by the Canadian Country Music Association.
In August 2014, shortly after appearing on our very own “Larry’s Country Diner,” Smith was involved in a near fatal head-on car collision near her home in Florida. After suffering a shattered wrist, broken ankle, and multiple bruises, and spending three months at a local rehabilitation center, Margo made a full recovery and returned to the stage February 7, 2015, when she performed to a sold out crowd at the American Legion Post in The Villages and continued to perform their regularly for the next several years, raising tens of thousands of dollars for Ukulele Kids Club which provides instruments to children in hospital care.
If you’d like to learn more about Margo Smith, please visit http://margosmith.com.