Claydes Charles Smith (September 6, 1948 – June 20, 2006) was an American musician best known as co-founder and lead guitarist of the group Kool & the Gang.
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, he was introduced to jazz guitar by his father in the early 1960s. In the late 1960s, he joined with Ronald Bell (later Khalis Bayyan), Robert "Kool" Bell, George Brown, Dennis Thomas and Robert "Spike" Mickens to become Kool & the Gang.
Kool & the Gang blended jazz, funk, R&B, and pop. The group remained popular from the 1960s through the 1980s.
Smith stopped touring in January 2006 due to illness.
Smith's family included six children: Claydes A. Smith, Justin Smith, Aaron Corbin, August Williams, Uranus Smith-Garay, and Tyteen Humes. He died in Maplewood, New Jersey, and is buried in Westfield, New Jersey's Fairview Cemetery.
- ^ "Charles Smith, Kool & the Gang guitarist, dies at 57". SFGate.com. Archived from the original on 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2006-06-23.