-----Connie Smith was born Constance June Meador on August 14, 1941 in Elkhart, Indiana. As a child, she was surrounded by music. Her stepfather played mandolin, while her brother played fiddle, and her other brother played guitar. On Saturday nights Smith would listen to the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast.
When she was a teenager, Smith was injured in a lawnmower accident. While in the hospital recovering, she was given a guitar and learned how to play different chords. Following the recovery, she began to perform in various local talent contests.
Active since 1964, Smith is widely considered to be one of the genre's best female vocalists. Smith's first recording session took place on July 16, 1964, where she recorded four songs, three of which were written by Bill Anderson. One of the songs, entitled "Once a Day" became Smith's breakout single, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Magazine Hot Country Singles chart on November 28 and remained at the number one position for eight weeks.
"Once a Day" became the first debut single by a female country artist to reach number one. For nearly 50 years the single held the record for the most weeks spent at number one on the Billboard country chart by a female artist.
RCA released Smith's self-titled debut album in March 1965 which also reached No. 1, spending seven weeks at the top of the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and spending 30 weeks on the chart overall.
During her career, She has earned 11 Grammy award nominations, 20 top ten Billboard country singles, and 31 charting albums, three of which have hit number one.
On October 21, 2012, Smith became the 12th solo female vocalist and 19th woman to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Smith's husband, Marty Stuart, owns one of the largest collections of country music instruments and memorabilia in the world. They have donated many items to the Country Music Hall of Fame, including stage wear, guitars, and other items.
Although Smith has never been one of the most commercially-successful or career-driven artists, she is one of country music's most celebrated and respected. George Jones cited Smith as his favorite female singer in his 1995 autobiography. Elvis Presley had many of Smith's albums in his record collection at Graceland.
In a discussion with country songwriter Fred Foster, Dolly Parton famously said, "You know, there's really only three female singers in the world: Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, and Connie Smith. The rest of us are only pretending."
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