Friday, July 29, 2016

Dunhill Records: Baby It's You

Having formed in Los Angeles in 1969, the band Smith had no members who bore the most popular English language surname. Having been discovered in 1969 by Del Shannon, he brought Smith to ABC/Dunhill, a label to which he had been signed earlier in the same year. Although the group released four singles and two albums before they disbanded, a remake of the Shirelles’ classic “Baby it’s You” was their first single and their only hit record.

It has been said that Shannon came up with the new arrangement of the composition penned by Burt Bacharach, Mack David, and Luther Dixon (under the name of Barney Williams). Lyricist Mack David was the older brother of Bacharach’s frequent songwriting partner Hal David. The sha-la-la vocals from the original and The Beatles version were replaced by an organ riff from Larry Moss. With the heavier arrangement, Smith’s version was perfect for 1969 and beyond. Joel Sill and Dunhill staffer Steve Barri produced the recording.

“Baby it’s You” appeared on the album “A Group Called Smith” and peaked as a single in November 1969 at #5 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. “Baby it’s You” showcases the incredible talent of Gayle McCormick and its sad that she never ever was to reprise her career as she had the pipes. Just listening to where she screams “Baby!!!” near the end of the song sends chills up and down my spine. After Smith, McCormick released three solo albums and several singles, but none achieved the acclaim of her first single with Smith. McCormick died earlier this year on March 1 from cancer.

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