Remembering a Legend: Country Music Mourns the Loss of Star Margo Smith

In this tribute, we remember the remarkable Margo Smith, a country music icon whose talents dazzled fans from the 1970s to the 1980s. From her early days as a teacher to becoming a beloved star, Smith’s legacy endures through her music, transformative style, and the profound impact she had on the genre and her fans.

The Life and Legacy of Margo Smith

Renowned country singer, Margo Smith, who soared to fame in the 1970s and 1980s with a string of chart-topping hits, passed away on Tuesday, January 23, at the age of 84.

Originally known as Bette Lou Miller, Margo started her journey as an Ohio kindergarten teacher before making her way to Nashville in 1975 to record two of her own compositions, “There I Said It” and “Paper Lovin’.” Signed by Warner Music, she burst onto the charts with three self-written hits in 1976-77, titled “Love’s Explosion,” “Take My Breath Away,” and “My Weakness.”

However, it was in 1978 that Margo Smith achieved her greatest success, reviving popular oldies such as “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You,” “It Only Hurts for a Little While,” and “Little Things Mean a Lot,” all of which shot to number one on the charts.

Unafraid to transform herself throughout her career, Margo went through multiple image and artistic shifts that marked significant periods in her musical journey. In 1979-80, she shed her wholesome, “housewife-y” image, embracing a more alluring persona with spandex outfits, daring necklines, and satin costumes, accompanied by a newly blonde coiffure. This transformation coincided with the release of sensual smashes like “Still a Woman” and “He Gives Me Diamonds, You Give Me Chills.”

A Transformational Journey in Music

Margo’s personal life also experienced a notable change during this time as she divorced her husband and found love again with businessman Richard Cammeron, who took over her career management in 1982. She returned to her roots as a down-to-earth artist and continued to make chart-topping music throughout the 1980s, both as a solo artist and in duets with Rex Allen Jr.

One notable collaboration was their 1980 hit, “Cup of Tea.” From 1982 onwards, Margo released her country music on independent labels such as AMI, Moon Shine, Bermuda Dunes, and Payback. In addition to her singing prowess, she highlighted her show-stopping yodeling ability, earning her the title of “The Tennessee Yodeler.”

This led her to release albums like “The Best of the Tennessee Yodeler” in 1983, firmly establishing her as a one-of-a-kind talent. In the mid-1990s, Margo embarked on another musical journey, this time delving into Christian country music. Collaborating with her daughter, Holly, they formed the duo “Margo Smith and Holly,” recording for Homeland Records and experiencing success with numerous Christian country hits.

Their remarkable talent earned them the prestigious title of Vocal Duo of the Year in 1994, awarded by the Christian Country Music Association. Throughout her career, Margo Smith never stopped performing and sharing her passion for yodeling. She even mentored talented artists like Taylor Ware, who later made a name for herself on the popular TV show America’s Got Talent.

In 2005, Margo moved to Florida and joined forces with Lamon Records, continuing to create remarkable music. Margo Smith’s remarkable legacy includes the release of 18 albums and charting with an impressive 27 country singles. Sadly, she passed away in Franklin, Tennessee, due to complications arising from a stroke she suffered two days earlier.

Her memory lives on through her beloved family, including her husband Richard Cammeron, son Jeffery Smith, daughters Holly Watson, Tonja Taskey Elder, and Lisa Foster, brother Jimmy Miller, sisters Kathy Kelly and Linda Crofut, as well as eight cherished grandchildren.

Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home is handling arrangements for Margo Smith’s memorial services. In lieu of flowers, those who wish to honor her can make a memorial donation to St. Jude Children.

A celebration of life for Margo Smith will be held Friday (Feb. 2) at 2:00 p.m. at Harpeth Christian Church (1101 Gardner Drive, Franklin, TN 37064).

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