Oak Ridge Boys Singer William Lee Golden’s Son, Rusty, Dies at 65

Image Source: The Oak Ridge Boys

Rusty Golden, the son of The Oak Ridge Boys’ singer William Lee Golden, passed away on July 1 at his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, at the age of 65.

Rusty, born William Lee Golden, Jr. on January 3, 1959, in Brewton, Alabama, was the eldest son of William and Frogene Golden. Named after his father, he was nicknamed “Rusty” by his family early on. Following in his father’s footsteps, Rusty forged a successful career in country and gospel music as a singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist.

About Rusty Golden

At just 20 years old, Rusty began recording music in Nashville and helped start the band The Boys Band, which quickly gained popularity. Their first album, recorded at Caribou Ranch in Colorado, featured the single “Runner,” the first Nashville-produced music video on MTV in 1982. Their hit “Please Don’t Stop Me Baby” even made it onto Billboard’s Hot 100. Despite disbanding in 1984, Rusty’s early success paved the way for an impressive songwriting career.

Adding to his achievements, in 1984 Rusty received an RIAA Gold Record for his work on The Oak Ridge Boys’ Bobbie Sue album. Later, he co-founded Golden Speer and, with his brother Chris, gained acclaim as The Goldens on Capitol/SBK Records, releasing the well-received album Rush for Gold in 1990.

After a health scare and quadruple bypass surgery, Rusty later turned to gospel music, scoring multiple #1 hits and winning two Song of the Year awards. In 2020, Rusty, Chris, and William Lee Golden launched William Lee Golden and The Goldens, recording 34 songs across three albums. They performed together at the Grand Ole Opry, where Rusty was eventually honored as Keyboard Player of The Year in 2023 by the Josie Music Awards.

William Lee Golden Announces Son’s Death

William Lee Golden shared the heartbreaking news about his son’s death in a statement, saying, “This is the hardest thing ever for a father to have to face. I love my family more than anything. 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.”

A press release described Rusty as “a charismatic entertainer who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand with his energetic live performances.”

It added, “Throughout his life, he always had a tremendous connection with audiences whether he was on the Opry stage or in recent years performing regular gigs in Bahrain, where he earned a reputation as a riveting performer whose talents transcended any borders. The release continued, “But most of all, Rusty will be remembered as one of those Nashville cats everyone wanted to play music with, co-write a song, or just hang out. Rusty could always be counted on to elevate any experience with his talent, wit, and charm.”

Rusty’s cause of death has not been disclosed. He is survived by his father William Lee Golden; stepmother Simone; brothers Craig, Chris and Solomon Golden; and other extended family members. He was preceded in death by mother Frogene Normand, and grandparents Luke & Rutha Mae Golden and Elliot & Estelle Normand.

We are sending prayers to the Golden family during this difficult time.