Known as Mr. Country, Carl Smith was one of the most popular honky tonkers of the '50s, racking up over 30 Top Ten hits over the course of the decade. Smith was also able to sustain that popularity into the late '70s, during which time he had a charting single for every year except one. Smith had a talent for singing smooth ballads which polished the rough edges of hardcore country. Nevertheless, he could sing pure honky tonk with the best of them, and his hardest country was made tougher by the addition of a drum kit. Smith was one of the very first country artists to regularly perform with a drummer, and though it earned him criticism at the time, the hard-driving sound of those up-tempo numbers proved to be influential. Smith also occasionally dabbled in Western swing, and as he continued to record, he delved deeper into the genre. Since he specialized in honky tonk ballads and Western swing, Smith rarely crossed over into the pop audience. Still, he was one of the most popular and best-known country singers of his era, recording several classics -- including "Let's Live a Little," "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way," "This Orchard Means Goodbye," "Cut Across Shorty," "Loose Talk," "(When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There," and "Hey Joe!" -- appearing in a handful of movies, and hosting his own television show. By the time he retired in the early '80s, he had hit the country charts nearly 100 times.