Arthur Smith, a Carolina native, knew at an early age what he wanted to do. Although an excellent student and athletic standout, Arthur passed up an appointment to Annapolis to pursue a career in music and entertainment. For him, reality has long since surpassed childhood dreams. “I knew what I wanted to do by the time I was 14 years old,” he said in a recent interview.
Arthur Smith’s career as a recording artist began in 1936 for RCA. He wrote and recorded his first hit record “Guitar Boogie” in 1945, and it was released in 1946 on Super Disc. Arthur re-recorded “Guitar Boogie” for MGM in 1948, and it became the first guitar instrumental to climb the Country charts. The record sold over three million copies and earned Arthur the name Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith. Arthur’s guitar style notably influenced significant artists of all music genres including Glen Campbell, Eric Clapton, Roy Clark, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Bert Weedon, and groups like the Rebel Rousers and The Virtues. In 1955, Arthur wrote and recorded a tune entitled “Feuding Banjos” which became a charted record. Warner Brothers in 1973 used the recording as the theme for the motion picture ‘Deliverance’, renaming it “Dueling Banjos” becoming BMI’s Song of the Year.
Arthur’s radio career began in 1941, when he began to host live shows on WSPA in Spartanburg, SC. In 1943, Arthur moved to Charlotte North Carolina and took the job as a radio personality at WBT, at the time owned by CBS. With hit records and his notoriety in radio and television, Arthur’s career as an active performer spanned more than 50 years. In 1957, Arthur founded the first recording studio in North and South Carolina. In addition to his own recordings, his studio productions included national artists like; Johnny Cash, James Brown, Flatt & Scruggs, Pat Boone, Ronnie Milsap, George Beverly Shea, and The Statler Brothers. Arthur Smith also scored and produced music soundtracks for twelve major motion picture releases including ‘Dark Sunday’ and ‘Buckstone County Prison’. For 25 years, he produced, marketed and syndicated national radio programs (all, series) hosted by Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Richard Petty, George Beverly Shea, and Amy Vanderbilt. Arthur’s own syndicated radio show entitled ‘Top of the Morning’ ran for an unbroken span of 30 years with one sponsor, Bost Bread.
Awards - presented over the years to Arthur Smith includes; the Broadcasters Hall of Fame presented by North Carolina Association of Broadcasters, State of North Carolina Order of The Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina Folk Heritage Award, American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award, Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Special Citation of Achievement (over 1 million broadcast performances of original compositions), BMI Song of the Year Award 1973, Council on International Non-theatrical Events Golden Eagle Award, and the International Real Life Adventure Film Festival (First Place Award - Soundtrack). Additional awards include – Doctorate of Human Letters, Steed College; Southeast Tourism Society Award 1985, American Legion emphasis Award, Girl Scouts of America Emphasis Award, and the Southern Baptist Layman of the Year Award 1969. Arthur “Guitar Boogie” passed away in 2004.