William Lee Golden

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William Lee Golden
William Lee Golden by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Background information
Birth name William Lee Golden
Born (1939-01-12) January 12, 1939 (age 77)
Origin Brewton, Alabama
Genres Country, gospel
Occupation(s) Singer, painter
Instruments Vocals (baritone)
Years active 1964–present
Labels MCA, Mercury
Associated acts The Oak Ridge Boys
Website www.williamleegolden.com

William Lee Golden (born January 12, 1939), a native of Brewton, Alabama, is an American country music singer. Between 1965 and 1987, and again since December 1995, he has been the baritone singer in the country music group The Oak Ridge Boys.


Golden joined Oak Ridge Boys (then a Southern gospel music group) in 1964. Golden is widely known for his waist-length beard and hair, and has become one of the most recognizable faces in the entertainment industry. Golden was voted out of The Oak Ridge Boys in 1987, as the other three members wanted to change the band's image.[1] He was replaced by Steve Sanders, but stayed with MCA Records as a solo artist to record an album titled American Vagabond, which included two chart singles.[2] In 1990, he moved to Mercury Records and released "Louisiana Red Dirt Highway".[1]

Sanders left the group in 1995 and Golden returned on New Year's Eve of the same year.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Golden lives in Burns, Tennessee with his wife Simone De Staley and his son, Solomon (b. Aug. 10, 2001). He has three older sons, Rusty (b. Jan. 3, 1959), Craig (b. Oct. 20, 1960) and Chris (b. Oct. 17, 1962), and six grandchildren. Golden's sons Rusty and Chris recorded as The Goldens for Epic Records and Capitol Records between 1988 and 1991.[2] They also played in his road band during his solo career.[1]

The "Golden Era Plantation"[edit]

Golden's likeness is carved into the side of an oak tree on the edge of the property, which is visible from the road

Golden's home is called The "Golden Era Plantation." Built in 1786, it is recognized as the oldest brick home in Sumner County, Tennessee. The Federal-style structure was built in 1786, then called "Pilot's Knob," on a military outpost by American Revolutionary War Captain James Franklin, the father of planter and slave trader Isaac Franklin (1789–1846). After the war, he was awarded a land grant to the property.

During the Civil War, the Plantation became a station camp for Confederate soldiers. In order to protect their valuable gold and silver from approaching Union soldiers, the occupants buried the metals in the ground surrounding the house. This gold was later discovered during renovation of the home in 1976.

The area has been struck twice by tornados; once in 1892 and again on April 6, 2006. Originally a two-story building, the second story was removed by the first tornado. Repairs were made leaving it as a single-story home. Following the second tornado, the home's architecture was restored, adding a second story.

As of June, 2015, the property was listed for sale online for $1,025,000.00 US citing its numerous historic qualities.



Year Album US Country Label
1986 American Vagabond 53 MCA
2000 My Life's Work self-released


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1986 "Love Is the Only Way Out" 53 58 American Vagabond
"You Can't Take It with You" 72 52
1990 "Louisiana Red Dirt Highway" Non-album songs
"Keep Lookin' Up"

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist US Country Album
1990 "Tomorrow's World" Various artists 74 Single only

Music videos[edit]

Year Single
1990 "Louisiana Red Dirt Highway"
"Keep Lookin' Up"


  1. ^ a b c Peña, Susan L. (12 August 1994). "When it comes to country music, he's Golden". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 164. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, p. 303

External links[edit]