Smith’s Soulful 1969 Cover of ‘Baby It’s You’

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smith_1969_a-band-called_1_t62In the annals of golden oldies, the 1969 Top 5 hit “Baby, It’s You” by Smith is a standout, most notable for its dynamic soul-shouting vocal by Gayle McCormick.

The Los Angeles-based band Smith (originally named The Smiths) had been discovered by Del Shannon, who helped them get signed by ABC-Dunhill Records and produced their recording of “Baby, It’s You.” The song, written by Burt Bacharach, Luther Dixon (listed as Barney Williams) and Mack David, had already been recorded and released as a single by, first, the Shirelles (#8 in 1961), and not long after that was added to the repertoire of the Beatles, who cut it in 1963 for their first album.

“Baby It’s You” reached #3 on Record World on November 15, 1969

The song was the greatest success for Smith, which followed it with an album titled A Group Called Smith (that reached #17 on the Top 200). The band had a few more minor hits and cut one more long-player, Minus-Plus, before breaking up. McCormick went on to record three solo albums – Gayle McCormick (1971), Flesh and Blood (1972) and One More Hour (1974) – and did hit the pop charts again with “It’s a Cryin’ Shame” in 1971, which reached #44.

By the mid-’70s, McCormick had left the music business and returned to St. Louis, where she had enjoyed local success and regional hits with a band called The Klassmen before relocating to Los Angeles. By all accounts she gave up singing and eschewed the pubic eye. When she was hospitalized in 2015 with pneumonia, it was also discovered that McCormick had cancer. The singer passed away on March 1, 2016, from cancer in her hometown of St. Louis, Mo., at age 67.

Check out the video of Smith’s “Baby It’s You”

“To know Gayle was to love her,” said her longtime friend, radio DJ Jonnie King, who maintains an online tribute to the singer. “She was just a wonderful friend, so kind and considerate to all she came in contact with, always lots of fun.”

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