Sammi Smith (August 5, 1943 - February 12, 2005) was a highly acclaimed country music singer and songwriter with a distinctly expressive, husky voice who became famous during the early 1970s. Born Jewel Faye Smith in Orange County, California, she spent her childhood in Oklahoma and other Southwestern states and began singing professionally at age 11 in nightclubs. She is best known for her 1971 country-pop crossover smash, "Help Me Make It Through The Night," a song which broke new ground in country music with its sexually suggestive lyrics. Smith soon after became one of very few women to become a part of the Outlaw country movement of the 1970s.
Sammi Smith made her debut in 1968 on the Country charts with "So Long, Charlie Brown, Don't Look For Me Around." Several minor hits followed before she had her first Top 40 hit in 1970 with "He's Everywhere." Her fame took off the following year with the Kris Kristofferson-penned ballad, "Help Me Make It Through The Night," which topped the Country charts and became her first Pop/Rock hit, reaching the Top 10. In addition, this country classic sold over two million copies, became gold-certified, and earned both Kristofferson and Smith Grammy awards and other honors. Smith's long string of hits, which continued on the Country charts through 1986, also included such pop crossover favorites as "Then You Walk In" (1971), "Kentucky" (1972), and "I've Got To Have You" (1972), as well as "Today I Started Loving You Again" (1975), "Loving Arms" (1977), "Days That End In 'Y'" (1977), "What A Lie" (1979), and "Sometimes I Cry When I'm Alone" (1981).
With Mack Vickery and Charlie Cobble, Smith co-wrote "Cedartown, Georgia," which became a Top 20 hit on the Country charts in 1971 for Waylon Jennings. Her other songwriting credits include "Sand Covered Angels" for Conway Twitty (from the album, "Fifteen Years Ago").
Sammi Smith's many honors and accolades include receiving a Grammy in 1972 for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Help Me Make It Through The Night." This song also won Smith a CMA award in 1971, and it was inducted years later into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2007, Smith was inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
- Country Music Television (CMT) remembers Sammi Smith.
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- Help Me Make It Through The Night 1971
(This song also became a hit for Joe Simon (1971), O.C. Smith (1971), and Gladys Knight & the Pips (1972).)
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