Gayle McCormick

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Gayle McCormick
Gayle McCormick - Smith (1970).png
Gayle McCormick in 1970
Background information
Born(1948-11-26)November 26, 1948
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
DiedMarch 1, 2016(2016-03-01) (aged 67)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Years active1965–1976

Gayle McCormick (November 26, 1948 – March 1, 2016) was an American singer, best known for her work with the rock band Smith. She attended Pattonville High School in Maryland Heights, Missouri and sang high soprano with the Suburb Choir, a 150-voice unit that performed annually with the St. Louis Symphony.[1] Her recording and performing career stretched from 1965-76. McCormick started her career singing songs by Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Tina Turner before joining Smith.[2]

The Klassmen[edit]

In 1967, she was the lead singer in a band called Steve Cummings and The Klassmen.[3] The band released a single in 1967 called "Without You"[4] which had success in Missouri, and a second and final single in 1968 called "Wonderous Time".[5]


Gayle McCormick (in the middle of the back row) as part of Smith in 1970

In 1969, Smith was formed in Los Angeles, their first album titled A Group Called Smith, featured McCormick as the primary vocalist. Smith mainly played and recorded covers of pop and soul songs and made the top five with a remake of "Baby It's You",[6] charting higher than the previous hit version by The Shirelles. Smith's version was also featured in Quentin Tarantino's film Death Proof, part of the Grindhouse double feature.[7]


After the group disbanded, McCormick went on to record three solo albums. Gayle McCormick was released on ABC Dunhill in 1971. The following album, Flesh & Blood on Decca/MCA at Bolic Sound Studios in 1972[2] and One More Hour on Fantasy in 1974. In the fall of 1971, her performance of "It's A Cryin' Shame" charted at #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a top 10 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart. In 1973 Gayle married and relocated to Hawaii.[8][5]

McCormick recorded the tracks "Coming in Out of the Rain" and "Simon Said" for a 1975 single on the Shady Brook label; it scraped the lower reaches of the Adult Contemporary chart that fall. McCormick also contributed backing vocals to Jimmy Rabbitt and Renegade's Waylon Jennings-produced 1976 self-titled Capitol LP, from which the single "Ladies Love Outlaws" was drawn.[9]


In 2015, McCormick was hospitalized for pneumonia, and during the treatment, it was discovered that she had cancer that had metastasized from a tumor in a lung to the rest of her body. McCormick died of cancer March 1, 2016 in suburban St. Louis. She was 67 years old.[10][11]


  1. ^ Jancik, Wayne, "The Billboard book of one-hit wonders", Billboard Books, 1998, ISBN 978-0823076222
  2. ^ a b Leitheiser, Kevin (December 1982). In Conversation With Gayle McCormick (79 ed.). Goldmine Magazine. p. 7.
  3. ^ "Gayle McCormick, Singer Behind Smith's 'Baby It's You,' Dies at 67". Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Klassmen". St. Louis Post-Dispatch (at 1967-03-03. p. 51. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  5. ^ a b Strong, MC (March 2016). "Gayle McCormick". The Great Rock Bible.
  6. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Biography: Smith". Allmusic. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  7. ^ McCown, Alex (September 3, 2015). "Quentin Tarantino's least-seen flick delivers one of his best music choices". The A.V. Club.
  8. ^ King, Jonnie. "THE GAYLE McCORMICK TRIBUTE". Archived from the original on March 8, 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  9. ^ Jimmy Rabbitt And Renegade, Capitol Records ST-11491
  10. ^ "Gayle McCormick, lead singer of the band Smith, dies at 67". November 1, 1969. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  11. ^ King, Jonnie. "WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL JONNIE KING WEBSITE!". Archived from the original on June 12, 2015. Retrieved June 11, 2015.