Smith in 1970
|Origin||Los Angeles, California|
Smith were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1969. They had a blues-based sound and scored a Top 5 hit in 1969 with a cover of the Burt Bacharach song "Baby It's You", featuring Gayle McCormick on lead vocals. This disc sold over one million copies between July and October 1969, out-charted popular versions by the Beatles and the Shirelles, and received a gold record awarded by the R.I.A.A.
The group evolved from "The Smiths" (not to be confused with later English band "The Smiths"), which featured two of the same members, and had attempted a hit single with "Now I Taste The Tears", produced and arranged by Ron Budnik. "Tears" was a brooding, foreboding sounding record that didn't chart well. When the band didn't succeed, McCormick, who had started her career singing songs by Tina Turner, Etta James and others, was added as a front woman and lead vocalist. The group were then discovered by 1960s rocker Del Shannon in a nightclub in Los Angeles. Shannon arranged "Baby It's You" for the group and got them signed to the ABC-Dunhill label.
Smith released an album titled A Group Called Smith, which spent 11 weeks in the Top 40 album listings of the since-called Billboard 200 record chart. On the album, vocals were split amongst Rich Cliburn, Jerry Carter and McCormick. Smith recorded a second album titled Minus-Plus with lesser success. Smith's version of "The Weight" was included on the epochal Easy Rider soundtrack because The Band's version, which appeared in the movie, was, because of contractual reasons, unavailable . Most of their material consisted of covers of popular rock and R&B tunes. The band broke up after a couple of albums, although their singles "What Am I Gonna Do" (co-written by Carole King) and "Take a Look Around" made the middle of the charts. The band's hit "Baby It's You" was also featured in Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse film, Death Proof.
McCormick solo career
After Smith disbanded, McCormick went on to record three solo albums, Gayle McCormick in 1971, Flesh And Blood in 1972 and One More Hour in 1974. The single "It's A Cryin' Shame" from her eponymous first album was a minor hit for her, reaching #44 on the charts in 1971. It and "Gonna Be Alright Now" were included on the 1994 reissue of A Group Called Smith.
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- A group called Smith - (1969)
- Minus-Plus - (1970)
Smith was composed of one woman and four men:
- Gayle McCormick – lead vocals
- Larry Moss – organ
- Jerry Carter – bass
- Robert Evans – drums
- Rich Cliburn – lead guitar
- Alan Parker - guitar