Her giggly “dumb blonde” antics as one of the stars of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In in the late ’60s made a household name of Goldie Hawn. But by the time she left the series in its third season, Hawn was an Academy Award-winning film star, no longer notable for just her often bikini-clad painted body. In 1974, she starred in Sugarland Express, an early directorial effort for Steven Spielberg, and a year later in Shampoo, both of which showcased her dramatic skills. Toward the end of the decade, she co-starred with Chevy Chase in the blockbuster comedy, Foul Play.
Since that time, Hawn has been Oscar-nominated again (for the lead in 1980’s Private Benjamin), and appeared in dozens of other successful films, including The First Wives Club, in which she sang Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” with her co-stars Bette Midler and Diane Keaton. That iconic hit was not, however, her first foray into singing.
In 1972, Hawn released Goldie, a pop-country LP that spotlights her feather-light vocals and covers the likes of Dolly Parton, Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison, with varying degrees of success but copious amounts of her undeniable charm and sweetness. Kicking off with the then-year-old “My Blue Tears,” penned by Parton and first released on her Coat of Many Colors album, Hawn’s version is, like the original, a driving bluegrass number, which isn’t surprising since Dolly Parton and her then-singing partner Porter Wagoner arranged it. The track was cut in Nashville at the legendary Cowboy Jack Clement’s studio, where Hawn also recorded her version of “Carey,” from Joni Mitchell’s already-influential Blue LP, which had also released been released in 1971.
Parton and Wagoner were not the only country acts to assist Hawn in her musical efforts. For her rendition of the Bill Monroe classic, “Uncle Pen,” Hawn traveled to Bakersfield, California, to record at Buck Owens’ studio. Accompanying her on that track and on a seductive version of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” are Owens’ band, the Buckaroos. A photo of Owens, showing Hawn how to play a chord on one of his famed red, white and blue guitars, is among those on the original LP’s back cover, along with one of her sharing a casual moment with Wagoner and Parton.
While Goldie was not a resounding critical nor commercial success, it was an aural curiosity of a decade in which many actors pursued their vinyl dreams, some successfully (John Travolta) and some, well, not so much (William Shatner). With her musical gifts falling somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, Hawn was wise to keep her day job. She has since given Music City one impressive gift, however, in the form of her son, Oliver Hudson, who plays Jeff Fordham on the ABC drama, Nashville. Hawn’s daughter, Kate Hudson, is an Oscar-nominated actress who has sung on occasion, most notably in the movie musical, Nine.