Smith dazzled at festival in late ’90s


Reprinted by Debbi Young - Mechanicsburg Public Library



Reprinted from The Telegram, July 21, 1999

“Singer to be at McBurg festival”

By Stan Oliver

Telegram Correspondent

Margo Smith and her daughter Holly will be the feature entertainment at this year’s By-Gone Days festival in Mechanicsburg.

Smith has become a legend in country music. She was born in Mutual, the daughter of William and Hazel (McConnell) Miller. Margo’s birth name was Bette Lou Miller.

At age 3, her parents divorced and she went to live with family near South Vienna.

She graduated from Northeastern High School and Wittenberg University. She became a teacher and taught in Catawba and New Carlisle.

She first sang to her students. She married Ken Smith, a New Carlisle banker. Bette soon changed her name to Margo and moved to Nashville to find her dreams.

In 1975, a song she wrote, “There I Said It,” went to number five on the country charts. She went on to be a regular on the top 10 list for the next 10 years.

She had three number one songs, “It Only Hurts For A Little While,” “Little Things Mean A Lot” and “Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You.”

In 1981, the stress of being on the road hurt her marriage and she divorced Ken. They had two children, Holly and Jeff. A year later Margo married her current husband, Richard Cammeron.

In 1984, the family home in Nashville was destroyed by a fire. This brought back sad memories for Margo. Her grandmother, Phoebe Miller, died in a house fire in Mutual.

Margo put her music on hold to be with her children. In the early 1990’s Margo and Holly became a duet.

They recorded many gospel albums. In 1993 and 1994, they were named the Christian Country Music Association Duet of the Year. Margo and Holly have appeared on many television shows and magazines.

Margo appeared on top rated television shows, “Hee Haw,” “Pop Goes the Country,” “Merv Griffin Show” and all shows on the Nashville Network. Margo and Holly even guest hosted “Nashville Now” while Ralph Emery was away.

Margo, who is considered the best female yodeler in the world, has written the book, “So You Want to Learn to Yodel.” She has taught classes on the old world skill.

Margo makes an annual tour of Europe. She is very popular there and sells out most places she performs.

She will perform at Dollywood Theme Park in Tennessee for two weeks, beginning on Aug. 9.

Margo has performed in front of presidents, toured with many big name acts including Bob Hope. Her song, “There I Said It,” was recorded by Rosemary Clooney.

Still, to many people in Champaign and Clark counties she is Bette Lou Miller.

Her homecoming concert at By-Gone Days will be Saturday at 8 p.m. the Muleskinner Band will perform at 7:30 p.m., then will back her. Admission is free.

Margo and Holly then will meet fans and old friends after the show.

On Friday, at 1:30 p.m., Margo will visit the Mechanicsburg Public Library to sign a copy of her book. A display will be set up in her honor. Also, Friday Margo will be in the parade. Margo has a Web site at www.margosmith.com. Her hotline number is 1-888-TO-YODEL.

Those who attend the concert should bring chairs or blankets. The Rev. Rob Kilgore of the Mutual United Methodist Church will serve as host.

The concert will include the hits, oldies, country, comedy, gospel and yodel songs.

Media sponsors are WHOK K-95 Country Gold, Columbus and WBZI 1500AM Country Classics, Xenia.

In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held at Mechanicsburg High School.

Also Margo and husband Richard will celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary on Saturday.

Reprinted by Debbi Young

Mechanicsburg Public Library