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Jewel Fay "Sammi" Smith
Aug 5, 1943 - Feb 12, 2005
Information written by Jo Aguirre
Born Jewel Faye Smith on
August 5, 1943 and died on Feb 12, 2005 in Oklahoma City of emphysema.
remains are buried in
which she claimed as her home town.
Her first husband was Hank Thompson's Brazos Valley steel guitarist Bob
White. They had 2 sons and a daughter and divorced soon after the birth of
the third child.
Sammi later had a third son with Willie Nelson's guitarist,
Jody Payne, named Waylon (
whose godfather is country legend
She later adopted two Apache sons.
"Help Me Make It Through the Night" was Sammi Smith's career hit and the one
that made her famous. In 1972, Sammi Smith won a
Best Female Country Vocal
that year, and Kristofferson took songwriting awards. The song made Smith
and Kristofferson household names in the music business.
After the success of her hit, Smith continued to have more success on the
country charts. In 1973, Sammi moved to
to become a country "outlaw". Smith would continue to have an ongoing
friendship with Jennings and Nelson for the rest of her life.
After 1979, little was heard from Sammi Smith. She moved to
and became involved in
causes, working for
She started her own band called
which was made up of
In the mid-1980s she married her final husband Johnny Johnson and together
they ran a Cattle Ranch in Bristow, Oklahoma. She did appearances on the
Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and toured Japan. She would often bring her son
Waylon Payne to guest star at the Opry. She also had a line of pottery, bath
salts, and hand painted ceramic tiles for the bathroom.
In 1995 a compilation album was released called
The Best of Sammi Smith
which consisted of her big hit and many other various
songs. She had a total of 18 LPs during her career.
Although her last hit recording was in 1986, Smith continued to perform up
until February 5, 2005
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