Joe Smooth

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Joe Smooth is an American producer and DJ of house music who gained international acclaim during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Early life[edit]

Smooth was a self-taught musician and started creating original music at the age of 12. During his teenage years, he began to make a name for himself as a DJ in the underground Chicago house-music scene.


Smooth gained international acclaim with the release of his late 1980s tracks "Promised Land" (featuring Anthony Thomas), "They Want to be Free," and "I Try." He is best known for "Promised Land," which spoke of how humans as brothers and sisters will all make it to paradise. Originally released in 1987, it peaked at #56 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1989 following the Top 40 success of a cover version by The Style Council.[1] An album became available in 1988, and a music video was produced for the single. A follow-up album, Rejoice, was released in 1990, which featured the hit single "They Want to be Free."

In October 2004, "Promised Land" appeared in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Within the game, the song could be heard playing on the fictional House Music radio station SF-UR.

Current work[edit]

Smooth is an active musician and producer, having worked in various capacities as a remixer, producer, engineer, and writer. Notable artists who have worked with him include Bros, Whitney Houston, Donnell Jones, Destiny's Child, Sisqó, Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson, A Guy Called Gerald, Lil Louis, D'Bora, Tyree Cooper, Fast Eddie, Fingers Inc., the Art Of Noise, Sterling Void, Pet Shop Boys, Janet Jackson, the Style Council, New Order, and Steve Hurley.


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 510. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

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