In 1965, “Once A Day” by American Country artist, Connie Smith made its way to the top of the US Country Music Chart. This broke the boundaries for female country artists as it was the first debut single by any female artist to crack the number one spot. Even to this day, Connie Smith holds the record for the longest duration spent by a female artist on the number one spot of the country chart.
“Once a Day” was written by Billy Anderson for his then musical protegee, Connie Smith. At first, Smith had the recording as a demo track. The final version was then recorded by the RCA Victor Records on July 16, 1964, in Nashville Tennessee.
“Once A Day” was produced by Bob Ferguson and was accompanied by the best musicians in Nashville, the “A-Team”, that included members of Anderson’s touring band and The Po’ Boys.
“Once A Day” featured a woman who was struggling to move on from her previous lover. The woman would explain that she finally limited the time of her grief to just once a day. Her once a day, however, would mean grieving the whole day. Still, that would be considered progress as opposed to that day she felt like dying when her lover left.
Taken as a whole, “Once A Day” evokes a deep longing when you miss someone’s presence. Billy Anderson did a great job through his usage of the right mixture of words to convey such strong emotions. Connie Smith was also a darling in giving life to those words through the way she sang the single.
“Once A Day” also circled on the theme of how powerful love could be. It could either make or break us. Having a strong connection with someone would bind us emotionally. Thus, when we lose them for any reason, it would leave holes in our hearts.
Connie Smith started her career as an artist in 1963. Later on, she had her first recording contract with the RCA Victor Records in 1964.
Smith’s debut single “Once A Day,” was released in November 1964 and was said to be the greatest debut single by a female artist as it topped the Country Music Charts for eight consecutive weeks. The song also was Smith’s greatest hit for her entire career.
Smith had gained success through‘60s until the mid-1970s. She recorded nineteen more top-ten hits on the country charts which included “Then and Only Then,” “Ain’t Had No Lovin,” Cincinnati, Ohio,” “I Never Stopped Loving You,” and “Ain’t Love a Good Thing.”
During the early 1970s, Smith focuses on recording Gospel Music. She was known to be very outspoken about her faith during concerts and in concert venues. Smith had a semi-retirement in 1979 when she focused on raising her five children. Smith, however, made a comeback with Epic Records in the mid-‘80s. It was not until the collaboration she did with Marty Stuart, who eventually became her husband, that Smith decided to return permanently in the music industry. This led to Smith’s first studio album in twenty years.
Smith gained 11 Grammy Awards which included eight nominations for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. She also won an Academy of Country Music Award together with three Country Music Association Awards. She was also ranked in the Top Ten of the 40 Greatest Women of Country Music by the CMT. Smith also became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“Whisperin’ Bill” was one of the most successful Country music songwriters in history. Anderson also was a popular singer who was nicknamed “Whisperin’ Bill” for his soft vocal style that was occasionally accompanied by his spoken narrations. Throughout his career, several artists’ recorded his songs such as Ray Price, Wanda Jackson, George Strait, and Connie Smith.
Billy Anderson was also a television personality who had his own television show in the 1960s. He starred as well in several shows with the Nashville Network. He hosted a show titled “Opry Backstage” and produced a show called, “You Can Be a Star.”
Anderson had received several awards in his career which included six nominations as the Songwriter of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Duet of the Year that he shared with Jan Howard and Mary Lou Turner. Soon, he was inducted as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.