Kate Smith


Born: May 1, 1907; Greenville, VA   Died: June 17, 1986; Raleigh, NC  
The "Songbird of the South," vocalist Kate Smith was one of the most popular stars of the pre-World War II era; she remains best remembered for her definitive version of the patriotic anthem "God Bless America," which became a hit on no less than three separate occasions. The owner of a thunderous soprano, Smith signed to Columbia in 1927, debuting with "One Sweet Letter From You," backed by Red Nichols' Charleston Chasers. In 1931 she began Read more hosting her own radio show; its theme song, "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain," subsequently became her first major hit, selling some 19 million copies. In 1932, Smith scored her second smash with "River, Stay 'Way From My Door," recorded with Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians; they later backed her on "Too Late," another Top Ten success issued that same year -- in all, she recorded two dozen hits for Columbia between 1927 and 1946. While American listeners looked to Smith for assurance throughout the Depression era, she became an icon in 1938, when she recorded Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" for Victor; within a year its success established it as a kind of unofficial national anthem. Read less
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