Smith (band)

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Not to be confused with The Smiths.
Smith (1970).png
Smith in 1970
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Rocksoul rock
Years active 1969-1971
Labels Dunhill

Smith was an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1969.[1] 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.[2] 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.[2]


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.[2] 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 since it only reached #74. 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.[3][4] Most of their material consisted of covers of popular rock and R&B tunes.

The band's singles "Take a Look Around" and "What Am I Gonna Do" reached the charts, but the group broke up after two albums.[1] The band's hit "Baby It's You" was featured in Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse film, Death Proof.[5]

McCormick solo career[edit]

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.




Smith was composed of one woman and four men:[2]


  1. ^ a b "Biography by Richie Unterberger". Retrieved 11 December 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 268. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ Kubernik 2006, p. 105.
  4. ^ Rovi staff 2012.
  5. ^ McCown, Alex (September 3, 2015). "Quentin Tarantino’s least-seen flick delivers one of his best music choices". The A.V. Club. 

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