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Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Smith were a one-hit wonder American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1969. They had a blues based sound and had a Top 5 hit in 1969 with a cover of the song "Baby It's You", with the lead vocals sung by Gayle McCormick. This disc, released in July 1969 had, by October, sold over one million copies, and received a gold record awarded by the R.I.A.A.

Smith were discovered by 1960s rocker Del Shannon in a nightclub in Los Angeles. McCormick had started her career singing songs by Tina Turner, Etta James and others of that ilk. Shannon arranged "Baby It's You" for the group and got them signed to the ABC-Dunhill Records 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. 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 not available for contractual reasons. Most of their material consisted of covers of popular rock and R&B tunes. The band broke up after a couple of albums, although their singles "What Am I Gonna Do" (co-written by Carole King) and "Take a Look Around" made the middle of the charts. The band's hit "Baby It's You" was also featured in Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse film, Death Proof.

Minus Plus - Title track to the album

McCormick went on to record three solo albums, Gayle McCormick, Flesh And Blood and One More Hour after the group disbanded. "It's A Cryin' Shame" was a minor hit for her from the first of these, reaching #44 on the charts in 1971.

Smith were a quintet of one woman and four men:

Gayle McCormick- lead vocals - from St. Louis, Missouri
Larry Moss - organ and kazoo
Jerry Carter - bass
Robert Evans - drums
Rich Cliburn - lead guitar

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