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Country Music Singer Passes at 65

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Talented country singer-songwriter, William “Rusty” Golden, son of William Lee Golden from The Oak Ridge Boys, passed away at the age of 65 in his Hendersonville, Tennessee home on July 1. The Golden family shared the news via a social media statement.

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

During the 1980s, Rusty co-established a country-rock group known as The Boys Band. The band released its debut album which was self-titled in 1982. The album featured the single “Don’t Stop Me Baby (I’m on Fire),” which made it to the Billboard Hot 100. Despite the band’s dissolution two years later, Rusty continued to find success as a songwriter, earning a gold record for his contribution to The Oak Ridge Boys’ “Bobbie Sue” album.

Rusty’s musical journey evolved as he formed Golden Speer with Marc Speer, and later included his brother Chris in the group. Rusty and Chris established The Goldens, a duo that released several hits including “Put Us Together Again” and “Sorry Girls.” Their 1990 album, “Rush for Gold,” received critical acclaim and produced three singles that charted: “Take Me Back to the Country,” “Keep the Faith,” and “Long Gone.”

In 2020, a family band was formed by Rusty, Chris, and their father William Lee Golden called William Lee Golden and The Goldens. The group spanned three generations, with Rusty’s brother Craig, two nieces, and a nephew becoming part of the band. They released three albums: “Country Roads: Vintage Country Classics,” “Old Country Church Gospel,” and “Southern Accents: Pop & Country Rock.”

Reflecting on his son’s passing, 85-year-old William Lee Golden expressed his sorrow in a statement to Entertainment Weekly, stating that a son’s loss was the most challenging thing a father could face. He reiterated his deep love for Rusty and his family.

Rusty Golden was renowned for his versatility and talent across different genres, including country and gospel music. His contributions to the music industry were widely acknowledged, and his songwriting and live performances were highly respected by his peers.

In his later years, Rusty faced health issues, including a quadruple bypass surgery, which shifted his focus more toward gospel music. Despite these hurdles, he continued to write, perform, and record music, showcasing his persistent passion for his craft.

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

Rusty’s influence on the music community went beyond his immediate family. He was known for his affable personality and his ability to connect with audiences through his performances and songwriting.

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