LifeNotes: Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith

arthur smith11Arthur (“Guitar Boogie”) Smith died Thursday (April 3) at his home in Charlotte, N.C., at age 93.

Smith appeared on the Billboard Country charts in 1948 with “Banjo Boogie” (which reached No. 9) and “Guitar Boogie” (which reached No. 8). 1949’s “Boomerang” also peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Country chart. His compositions have been recorded by numerous artists, including Johnny Cash, The Oak Ridge Boys, Barbara Mandrell and others.

In 1955, Smith composed a banjo instrumental he titled “Feudin’ Banjos.” Smith took on Warner Bros. after the song appeared (uncredited) as the song “Dueling Banjos” in 1972’s Deliverance. The song went to No. 5 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart. Smith’s lawsuit won a substantial settlement, which gave him songwriting credit and back royalties.

He earned a BMI Song of the Year award in 1973; that same year he was honored with a Grammy as the original writer of “Dueling Banjos.” He was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

He hosted the syndicated program The Arthur Smith Show, which became one of the first Country music television shows to be syndicated nationally.

Smith is survived by wife Dorothy, children Reggie, Clay, and Connie Brown. He also has seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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