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Country Singer/Songwriter Dies at 65

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On July 1, country singer-songwriter William “Rusty” Golden died at the age of 65 at his residence in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The Golden family confirmed the news via a statement posted on social media.

Rusty was born as William Lee Golden Jr. on January 3, 1959, in Brewton, Alabama. He was the eldest son of William Lee Golden and Frogene Golden. From an early age, he earned the nickname “Rusty.” Raised in a musical household, Rusty started playing drums early and by the age of 13, he was performing professionally with The Rambos, a gospel group led by Dottie Rambo. He mastered the piano at 17 and joined Larry Gatlin’s band as a keyboard player.

In the early 1980s, Rusty co-formed The Boys Band, a country-rock ensemble that debuted with their self-titled album in 1982. The album’s single “Don’t Stop Me Baby (I’m on Fire)” made it to the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Despite the band’s dissolution two years later, Rusty’s songwriting career flourished, earning him a certified gold record for his work on The Oak Ridge Boys’ “Bobbie Sue” album.

Rusty’s career trajectory continued to ascend as he formed Golden Speer with Marc Speer, later inviting his brother Chris into the group. Rusty and Chris then created The Goldens, a duo that produced several hit songs, including “Put Us Together Again” and “Sorry Girls.” Their 1990 album, “Rush for Gold,” received high praise from critics and gave birth to three charting singles: “Take Me Back to the Country,” “Keep the Faith,” and “Long Gone.”

In 2020, Rusty, Chris, and their father William Lee Golden forged a family band, William Lee Golden and The Goldens. The band, which spanned three generations, welcomed Rusty’s brother Craig, two nieces, and a nephew. They released three albums: “Country Roads: Vintage Country Classics,” “Old Country Church Gospel,” and “Southern Accents: Pop & Country Rock.”

William Lee Golden, 85, expressed his grief over his son’s death in a statement to Entertainment Weekly, stating that losing a son was the most difficult ordeal a father could endure, and that he loved Rusty and his family more than anything.

Rusty Golden was highly respected in the music industry for his versatility and talents across genres, from country music to gospel. His songwriting skills and live performances earned him recognition and admiration among his peers.

In his later years, Rusty encountered health issues, including undergoing a quadruple bypass surgery, which shifted his focus more towards gospel music. Regardless of these challenges, he continued to write, perform, and record music, showcasing his unwavering passion for his art.

Rusty is survived by his father, William Lee Golden, and brothers Craig Golden, Chris Golden, and Solomon Golden, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family members. The Golden family has requested privacy as they grieve the loss of a cherished family member and honor his legacy.

Aside from his immediate family, Rusty’s influence extended to the broader music community. Known for his affable personality, he had a knack for connecting with audiences, whether through his performances or his songwriting.

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