Country Star Rusty Golden, Son of The Oak Ridge Boy’s William Golden, Dies at Age 65

Rusty Golden Obit
Kris Rae

Oak Ridge Boys vocalist William Lee Golden is mourning the death of his son, William “Rusty” Golden. According to a statement released on the band’s official website, the Country Music Hall of Famer’s son died on Monday, July 1, 2024 at the age of 65 at his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

“This is the hardest thing ever for a father to have to face. I love my family more than anything,” said William Lee Golden. “Rusty was a great musician, a talented songwriter, and a wonderful son. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for the days ahead. I love you, son.”

According to the press release, Rusty was born January 3, 1959, in Brewton, Alabama, as the eldest son of William and Frogene Golden. Even though he was named after his father, his family began calling him “Rusty” not long after his birth.

Since Rusty grew up in a very musical household, it’s no surprise that he began showing his own musical talent at a very young age. By the time he was around age 12, he was already playing drums. By age 13, he joined The Rambos as a full-time drummer.

But it was an Elton John concert he attended in 1972 that changed his musical career path. After the show, Rusty put the drum kit aside and started learning how to play the piano. At 17, he started touring with Larry Gatlin and he eventually played on several studio recordings including Gatlin’s “Love Is Just A Game” and Marty Stuart’s “Pilgrim” and many other recording projects.

Other acts he became associated with include The Boys Band. The group landed a Billboard Hot 100 hit with “Please Don’t Stop Me Baby” in 1982. After they disbanded in 1984, Rusty earned Gold Records for his songwriting contributions on The Oak Ridge Boys’ Bobbie Sue album as well as for the work he did with the late Barry White. This honor encouraged Rusty to begin writing songs with Marc Speer and the two founded the group Golden Speer in 1985 which included Rusty’s brother Chris Golden as lead vocalist. Although their album was never released, Rusty and Chris eventually recorded under a new name, The Goldens, and released two singles as a newly formed duo. In 1990, they released the critically acclaimed Rush for Gold which spawned three charting singles including “Take Me Back to The Country,” “Keep The Faith,” and “Long Gone.”

Later in Life, Rusty underwent a quadruple bypass and shifted back to his gospel music roots. He went on to earn several No. 1 Southern Gospel songs and two Song of the Year awards for “What Salvation’s Done for Me” by The Booth Brothers, and “I Want to Thank You” by Karen Peck & New River.

In early 2020, Rusty and Chris teamed up with their country star father and formed a new family band called William Lee Golden and The Goldens which included their brother Craig, nieces Elizabeth and Rebekah, and nephew Elijah. They recorded and released 34 songs and eventually toured around the country together.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 08: William Lee Golden and The Goldens perform at 3rd & Lindsley on June 08, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Sara Kauss/Getty Images

Per the statement released on the Oak Ridge Boys’ official site: “Rusty Golden will be remembered as a charismatic entertainer, who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand with his energetic live performances.”

Funeral/memorial details are currently pending and will be made available here.

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March 2022

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