Goodman performed with the Plainsmen Quartet, but he is better known as part of The Happy Goodman Family. Along with his brothers Howard, Sam, Bobby and his sister-in-law Vestal Goodman they changed Gospel Music forever. He is also the father of singer/songwriter and former member of The Goodmans and Heirloom, Tanya Goodman Sykes.
Goodman launched his solo career in 1975 when Canaan Records founder Marvin Norcross approached him to record his first solo album. Goodman agreed and recorded "The Singer".
He frequently performed both as a soloist and with his own group, "The Goodmans" on the popular Southern Gospel television series Sing Out America. In 1987, he joined host Bill Traylor and Kelly Nelon Thompson as the co-host of the series until his death. Rusty Goodman died of cancer on November 11, 1990. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1993 and then inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1997.