G. E. Smith

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G. E. Smith
Smith in 2001
Smith in 2001
Background information
Birth nameGeorge Edward Haddad
Born (1952-01-27) January 27, 1952 (age 69)
OriginStroudsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Years active1977–present
Associated acts
WebsiteOfficial MySpace

George Edward Smith ( Haddad; born January 27, 1952) is an American guitarist. He was the lead guitarist for the duo Hall & Oates during the band's heyday from 1979 to 1985. He then served as the musical director of the sketch-comedy show Saturday Night Live from 1985 to 1995, where he was the leader of the Saturday Night Live Band.[1]

His own albums include In The World (1981), Get A Little (with the Saturday Night Live Band, 1993) and Incense, Herbs and Oils (1998). Smith was the lead guitarist for the band Moonalice from 2007 to 2009.

Smith has performed and recorded with many artists, including Hall & Oates, Tina Turner, David Bowie and Mick Jagger. He was lead guitarist in Bob Dylan's touring band 1988 to 1990 and also served as musical director of Dylan's The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration at Madison Square Garden on October 16, 1992. He played guitar in Roger Waters' The Wall Live tour. His band provided entertainment at the 2012 and 2016 Republican National Convention.

Early life[edit]

Smith was born January 27, 1952, in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania as George Edward Haddad, a Lebanese-American whose last name, Haddad, means blacksmith in Lebanese.[2] He started playing guitar at the age of 4. In 1959, at the age of 7, he was given a C. F. Martin guitar. On his 11th birthday Smith's mother bought him his first electric guitar, a Fender Telecaster, a model that dated to 1952, his birth year. By then he was already earning money as a musician, playing in numerous venues such as Poconos resorts and high school dances.[citation needed]


In the early 1970s, Smith left the Poconos for the New Haven, Connecticut, area, where he played in a group called the Scratch Band, which also included his future Hall & Oates bandmate Mickey Curry. In late 1977 Smith got his first break, with Dan Hartman, fresh off his hit "Instant Replay". He hired the guitarist to front his band for a "lip-sync tour" of Europe and the U.S. Upon his return to the East coast, Smith moved to Manhattan and became the guitarist for Gilda Radner's 1979 Broadway show Gilda Live. Radner and Smith became friends and married shortly afterward, divorcing in 1982.[3] Four six years, 1979 to 1985, Smith was the lead guitarist of the band of Daryl Hall and John Oates, with Tom 'T-Bone' Wolk, Charles DeChant and Mickey Curry.

In 1981 he released his first solo album, In the World, with Paul Simon and Radner singing backup on the album. In 1992 he recorded his second album, this time with the Saturday Night Live Band entitled Get A Little. In the midst of his SNL tenure Smith toured for almost two and a half years with Bob Dylan for the first 281 concerts of the "Never Ending Tour" from 1988 until October 1990.[4]

During his SNL years Smith was the musical director for special events such as the 1988 Emmy Awards, the 1993 Rhythm and Blues Foundation Awards, Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden as well as acting as the musical director at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert in Cleveland. Smith also has written with his friend and fellow musician Jimmy Buffett. "Six String Music" appears on Buffett's album Fruitcakes. In 1996, Smith received a Grammy nomination for his work with Buddy Guy on the album "Live: The Real Deal"

Smith released his next CD Incense Herbs, and Oils in 1998. Between live dates, he has been the musical director and band leader honoring Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. He also led bands for The Muddy Waters Tribute, and the 1998 and 1999 Mark Twain Awards honoring Richard Pryor and Jonathan Winters which aired on PBS, and Comedy Central.

During 2004–2006, GE raised the stakes for the Cleveland Browns where he headed up home games for the team with his music, rocking the NFL with classic rock and his mantra, “Brownstown.”

G. E. Smith, 2006

In 2005, Smith and his band appeared on the Comedy Central Roast of Jeff Foxworthy and did a performance with the band Bama.

Smith toured with Roger Waters during the 2010–2013 tour The Wall Live.[5] On December 12, 2012, he performed with Waters at Madison Square Gardens for The Concert for Sandy Relief.

In August 2012 Smith performed for the Republican Party and Mitt Romney at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, as the convention's house band. However, Smith said that he is not a Republican or political and saw the event as "just another job".[6][7][8]

Smith was one of the many guests appearing on the NBC Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, on February 15, 2015.

In July 2016, Smith again led the house band for candidate Donald Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio.[9]

Smith has performed with Jim Weider – formerly of The Band and member of The Weight Band – on their "Masters of the Telecaster" series.[10]

In 2015, Smith and wife, Taylor Barton, started a project called Portraits, which hosts a rotating roster of acclaimed musicians and artists from all realms for a deeper look at what drives them creatively. Now in its fourth series they have hosted creative legends from Billy Squier to Ethan Hawke and from the Bacon Brothers to the Avett Brothers.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Smith was married to Gilda Radner (1980–1982) and has been married to Taylor Barton[12] since 1990.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Another 'Snl' Shakeup Note: Long-time Bandleader Bopped". NY Daily News. August 28, 1995. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  2. ^ Patterson, Benjamin. "Ethnic Groups USA". p. 344.
  3. ^ Radner, Gilda. It's Always Something. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.
  4. ^ "G.E. Smith on touring with Bob Dylan - EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG". Archive of American Television. October 5, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  5. ^ "Roger Waters Jams with G E Smith". Relix.
  6. ^ "Convention Bandleader G.E. Smith Not A Republican — Or Political At All". TalkingPointsMemo.com. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  7. ^ Alberts, Sheldon (August 31, 2012). "Former 'SNL' band leader wasn't playing politics in Tampa — just his guitar". TheHill.com. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  8. ^ "G.E. Smith Talks Bass, Republicans and Performing with Roger Waters".
  9. ^ Singer Goes Off on RNC for Using Band’s Song, Slams Donald Trump’s Wife Too, accessed April 29, 2018
  10. ^ "MASTERS of THE TELECASTER " featuring: JIM WEIDER , GE SMITH and ANDY POWELL - Tickets - The Heights at Brother Vic's - South Salem, NY - July 14th, 2017". Ticketfly. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  11. ^ "PORTRAITS Series". G.E. Smith - Official Website. August 11, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  12. ^ "An Eco-Rock Odyssey From Taylor Barton - The East Hampton Star". easthamptonstar.com.

External links[edit]