The timeless allure of Smith’s ‘Baby It’s You’ one hit wonder cover

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Smith was a one hit wonder band during the Age of Aquarius fronted by blond-haired, soul-conjuring vixen Gayle McCormick. Learn about their No. 5 smash rendition of the Shirelles’ “Baby It’s You,” a defiant declaration of a girl’s steadfast love even when friends try to convince her that her boyfriend’s no good earlier covered by John Lennon and the Beatles. Seen above amid humble origins in a makeshift shack, Smith pose for the cover of their debut long-player, “A Group Called Smith,” a No. 17 POP album released in August 1969 on Dunhill Records. Image Credit: Geffen Records
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“But you left me here alone, you said it all takes time, I should keep the place together, keep everything in line, until you’d come back for me…baby, I think I’m dyin’!” Lyrics from Carole King and Toni Stern’s “What Am I Gonna Do” as performed by Smith featuring Gayle McCormick. Here is the elusive chanteuse in May 1969. Image Credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images
Click to watch Smith, fronted by the gorgeous Gayle McCormick, deliver a goosebump-inducing “Baby It’s You” on ABC’s brief music variety series “The Music Scene,” broadcast on October 13, 1969. Originally a hit for both the Shirelles and the Beatles, Smith’s soul-drenched cover went to No. 5 POP. As of this writing, Smith’s definitive “Ed Sullivan Show” rendition from that same month is unavailable. Video Credit: YouTube user “Nyle Rivers Music Channel” / ABC Entertainment
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The red-soaked single cover of Smith’s “Baby It’s You” b/w “I Don’t Believe [I Believe],” a No. 5 POP hit when it debuted on Billboard on September 6, 1969. Gayle McCormick is pictured belting out the song at an outdoor rock festival somewhere. Image Credit: 45Cat user BandBox244; Geffen Records
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“What Am I Gonna Do” b/w “Born in Boston,” the third single released by Smith on Dunhill Records in May 1970. Music critic Richie Unterberger believes the Carole King / Toni Stern co-composition, which reached a dismal No. 73 POP, is Smith’s crowning achievement — this writer agrees wholeheartedly. Image Credit: 45Cat user BandBox244 / Geffen Records
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The cover of Smith’s second, ultimately final album, “Minus-Plus,” which reached a meager No. 74 POP shortly after its July 4, 1970 debut on Billboard. Consisting of more original material, the record is a noticeable improvement upon its predecessor and may have sold more copies if not delayed by lead singer Gayle McCormick’s apparent nervous breakdown. Lead cut “You Don’t Love Me [Yes I Know],” while never released as a single 45, is a bona fide highlight and exemplifies why fans admire McCormick’s gutteral soul singin’. Image Credit: Geffen Records
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The cover of a 2014 reissue containing the complete recordings of Smith featuring Gayle McCormick. “A Group Called Smith” arrived in August 1969 while the group’s final LP, “Minus-Plus,” hit stores in June 1970. The latter remained unavailable on cassette or CD for an astounding 44 years. Image Credit: Real Gone Music
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“I know you’ve been asking for it, but could you give me a little more time? The new Smith single, coming soon.” A black and white publicity still finds Smith frontwoman Gayle McCormick doing her thing as she cradles a microphone stand onstage, circa summer 1970. Image Credit: Dunhill / Geffen Records

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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