R.I.P. Smith Vocalist Gayle McCormick
Published Mar 03, 2016Gayle McCormick, most well known for fronting L.A. soul rock group Smith in the late '60s, died this week following a battle with cancer. She was 67 years old.
According to Vintage Vinyl News, McCormick passed away on Tuesday (March 1) in St. Louis. She had apparently discovered she had cancer after being hospitalized last year for pneumonia.
McCormick's music career had begun in the mid-60s in Missouri, where she performed with Steve Cummings & the Klassmen. She moved to California with the band, but left the group upon arriving on the West Coast. From there, she hooked up with an act called the Smiths (not to be confused with the later group from the UK), who changed their name to Smith by the release of 1969's debut album, A Group Called Smith.
The record's biggest hit was their cover of the Burt Bacharach-penned "Baby It's You." While the song had been recorded by the Shirelles, the Beatles and more, the smooth, soul rock groove Smith grafted to the piece gave the tune it's highest chart position, climbing to number five in late 1969.
The cover may be more recognizable to modern cinephiles as a cut included in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, his contribution to 2007 double-feature Grindhouse.
Smith followed-up their debut with a sophomore collection in 1970, but they disbanded, leaving McCormick to start a solo career. She yielded a minor hit with "It's a Cryin' Shame" from an eponymous solo set in 1971, released Flesh And Blood the next year, and then delivered One More Hour in 1974 before leaving the music industry.
Below, you'll find a performance video of "Baby It's You," as well as a few tributes that have popped up online since McCormick's passing.