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Mike Smith
Birth name Michael George Smith
Born 6 December 1943(1943-12-06)
Edmonton,
North London, England
Died 28 February 2008 (aged 64)
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England
Genres Pop, Rock, Beat
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Keyboards
Years active fl. ca. 1960s–2003
Labels Pye Records
Associated acts The Dave Clark Five

Michael George Smith (6 December 1943 – 28 February 2008), was an English singer, songwriter, and music producer[1].

In the 1960s, Smith was the lead vocalist and keyboard player for The Dave Clark Five. The band was a leading unit in the British Invasion of the United States, and were The Beatles' main competition before the emergence of The Rolling Stones.

Contents

Biography

Smith was born in Edmonton, North London, an only child of George and Maud Smith. His parents found he had a natural ability as a pianist that surfaced as early as age five. Smith started lessons in classical piano, and at age 13 passed the entrance exams at Trinity Music College in London.[2]

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Career

Smith first met Dave Clark when they were both members on the same football team for the St. George Boys Club.[2] By his mid-teens, Smith had developed a strong vocal delivery, while idolising Little Richard, among other American rock & roll stars. At age 17, while working for a finance company, Smith was invited by Clark to join his band, which was busy rebuilding itself around the core of Clark and rhythm guitarist (later bassist) Rick Huxley, after having recently lost its lead singer.[2]

Dave Clark Five

With Smith on vocals, piano or organ (and occasionally playing guitar in later years),[2] the new Dave Clark Five was completed with the additions of saxophonist Denis (Denny) Payton and lead guitarist Lenny Davidson, who was auditioned on Smith's recommendation.

Smith made his recording debut, at age 18, with the single "I Knew It All the Time" b/w (flip side) "That's What I Said" produced by Pye Records in June of 1962[2] and credited to the unknown band The Dave Clark Five featuring Mike Smith. Performed in a style midway between early British beat and the bolder 1960s sounds that were developing, it was a powerful record to be issued while The Beatles were still developing their first recording deal.[2]

Due to his role as lead singer, Smith was considered the other star of the band, less visible by name than drummer/founder Clark but still at the centre of the group's sound as lead singer and keyboard player. [2] Smith's singing showed the strong influence of Elvis Presley during the period of "The Girl of My Best Friend," "(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame," and "Little Sister."

Smith's voice and keyboards were clearly evident in the bands sound over seven years: during their two major years of success in 1964-1965 and continuing five years after the British Invasion died down in America, until the group disbanded in 1970.

Clark & Smith

Smith continued working with Clark in the early 1970s, mainly to help the drummer/bandleader fulfill contractual commitments, as "Dave Clark & Friends." Smith & Clark released cover versions of popular hits such as "Rub It In," "Sweet City Woman," and "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)." They split in 1973. [3]

Producer

In 1976, Mike recorded with former Manfred Mann singer Michael d'Abo.

Most of Smith's work in the 1970s and 1980s, however, was as a producer and songwriter, and Smith was successful working on commercials (commercial ads), authoring jingles for many products.[2]

Mike Smith's Rock Engine

Smith returned to performing in the late 1990s, and discovered he still had many fans on the oldies circuit. Having moved to Spain, Smith had met four musicians who shared his dedication to playing for fun above all else: lead guitarist Doug Lean; bassist Curt Sandell; drummer Paul Skelton; and saxophone player Frank Mead.[4]

After rehearsing at each other’s houses on the Costa del Sol, the group made their concert debut in August, 2002 when they played a benefit for a charity of abused children and raised $100,000.[4][5] Beginning in March 2003, Mike Smith's Rock Engine occasional tours generated very enthusiastic responses from audiences, despite being prevented from mentioning The Dave Clark Five in his advertising,[2] Smith appeared to be emerging as a popular star in his own right.

Later life

Mike Smith was divorced from his first wife Jill Smith, a Royal hairdresser. They had one son, James. He lived with his long time partner, Jane Geerts, for 18 years between 1980 and 1998. In October, 2001, he married "Charlie" (real name: Arlene Gorek), with whom he had reestablished contact in 1999, having dated thirty-five years earlier.[6] In June 2003, Smith's only son James died in a diving accident.[2] In September 2003, nearing age 60, Smith was involved in a falling accident in his home in Spain, which caused severe injury to his spinal cord. The accident left him permanently paralysed from the waist down and in his right arm, with very little movement in his left arm.[5]

Despite his great success with the Dave Clark Five, Smith did not apparently have the financial resources necessary to finance the quality of care that would be required outside of a hospital setting.[7] Accordingly, various public appeals for funds were made on Smith's behalf, particularly at the instigation of Peter Noone, formerly of Herman's Hermits. The Royal Theatrical Fund made a public appeal for funds for Smith, though this endeavour resulted in a dispute as to how much of the funds raised had actually been expended for Smith's benefit.[6] Smith's surprisingly modest financial circumstances were confirmed after his death, when it was discovered that his estate was worth only 66,000 pounds.[8]

Following four years of treatment, Smith was released from hospital on his 64th birthday, 6 December 2007. On 19 December 2007, Bruce Springsteen, a longtime friend and fan, dedicated Born To Run to Smith and his wife, Charlie, who were attending his concert at The O2 in London. [9]

Smith died on 28 February 2008 at Stoke Mandeville Hospital[10] in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, at the age of 64, of pneumonia,[11] a complication from his earlier accident.[10][12] He died only 11 days before he was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Dave Clark Five.

Compositions

Many of the seventeen (17) Top-40 U.S. hits for The Dave Clark Five (DC5) were written by Mike Smith and Dave Clark,[4] including "Glad All Over" (#6), "Bits and Pieces" (#4), "Can’t You See That’s She Mine" (#4), "Come Home" (#14), "Try Too Hard" (#12), and "Please Tell Me Why" (#28). The DC5 also had the hits "Do You Love Me" (#11), "Because" (#3), "Reelin’ and Rockin'" (#23), "Catch Us If You Can" (#4, by Clark & Lenny Davidson), "I Like It Like That" (#7), "Over and Over" (#1), "You Got What It Takes" (#7) and "Any Way You Want It" (#14). Mike Smith and Clark also co-wrote and performed "Having A Wild Weekend" [4] from one of two feature films the DC5 made, Having a Wild Weekend. They sold more than 100 million records, sold out five consecutive world tours and six in the U.S. including 12 consecutive shows at Carnegie Hall, and made a record-setting 13 appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (New York City).[4]

When the DC5 disbanded, Smith first collaborated with singer Mike D’Abo, former lead singer of Manfred Mann. They made one self-titled album, which has recently been reissued by Sony in Japan. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice recruited Mike Smith to sing on the recording of their Evita before it ever hit the stage,[4] earning him another gold record. Smith also produced recordings for Shirley Bassey and four gold albums for one of Europe’s top male vocalists, Michael Ball.[4]

Mike Smith can be heard in the Applebee’s Restaurant commercial that uses "I Like It Like That" and in Target’s campaign, which uses "Bits and Pieces" :[4] one of dozens of commercials he has made over the years, employing his distinctive "Smith sound."

Mike Smith also taped an interview and performance for a TV special on "The British Music Invasion" which aired in the U.S. on TLC in 2003. The Dave Clark Five are known as one of the most influential of the Brit bands and, as Steve Van Zandt points out, "they actually made the most powerful records of anybody. . . . They were a tremendous band."

See also

References

  1. ^ "1960s British Rock and Pop Chronology - Birth of a Nation" (birthdates), Gordon Thompson, 2006-09-17, webpage: Skidmore-BritRock.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Mike Smith: Information from Answers.com" (biography), Answers Corporation, 2006, webpage: AnswersCom-Mike-Smith.
  3. ^ "OVER AND OVER ? THE DAVE CLARK FIVE" (chronology of recordings), Epinions, Inc., 2003-09-27, Epinions.com webpage: EpinionsCom-DC5.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "DAVE CLARK FIVE SINGER-SONGWRITER MIKE SMITH TO LAUNCH FIRST U.S. TOUR..." (bio), The Regent Theatre, Arlington, MA, 2003-01-28, webpage: Regent-Mike-Smith-Tour.
  5. ^ a b "Biography for Mike Smith (XVIII)" (trivia), IMDb, 2006, webpage: IMDb-Mike-Smith.
  6. ^ a b Tahira Yaqoob, "I'm feeling glad all over: Dave Clark Five star is going home after four years in hospital". Daily Mail, May 18, 2007; www.dailymail.co.uk.
  7. ^ One reason for Smith's surprising financial circumstances may be the fact that, as a member of the Dave Clark Five, he was not a partner with Dave Clark. Smith and the other band members were employees of Clark. See The Dave Clark Five. The nature and extent of the royalty arrangments between Smith and Clark in relation to the many songs credited to the two is uncertain.
  8. ^ "They sold 100m records... but Dave Clark Five singer Mike Smith left just £66,000 in his will". Daily Mail, December 21, 2008; www.dailymail.co.uk.
  9. ^ BCconcert
  10. ^ a b "Dave Clark Five singer Smith dies". BBC. 2008-02-28. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7270242.stm. Retrieved 2008-02-29.  
  11. ^ Associated Press (2008-02-29). "Dave Clark Five singer Mike Smith dies of pneumonia". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/02/28/obit.mikesmith.ap/index.html. Retrieved 2008-02-29.  
  12. ^ Dave Clark Five Singer Mike Smith Dies, Days Before Induction into Rock Hall

External links


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