O.C. Smith (June 21, 1932 - November 23, 2001, b. Ocie Lee Smith) was an R&B/soul singer with a great deal of crossover appeal who became famous during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Mansfield, Louisiana-born musician began in the mid 1950s as a jazz singer before his style evolved to his trademark smooth crooner blend of R&B, country, and soul. His long string of hits, which were a mix of mostly R&B, pop, and country standards, included his soulful rendition of the Bobby Russell-penned heart-warmer, "Little Green Apples" (1968). This classic earned Russell the 1969 Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Grammy Award for Best Country Song and became O.C. Smith's signature song.
O.C. Smith made his debut on the Pop/Rock charts in 1967 with his cover of the 1966 Frank Sinatra classic, "That's Life," which became a minor hit. He scored his first Top 40 hit in early 1968 with the Dallas Frazier-penned "The Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp," which became a big hit in the U.K., Canada, and Australia. His fame in the U.S. took off later that year with "Little Green Apples," which became a Top 5 hit on the Pop/Rock, R&B, and Adult Contemporary charts and became a million-seller shortly thereafter. Smith's hits also included "Isn't It Lonely Together" (1968), "Honey (I Miss You)" (1969), "Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife" (1969), "Daddy's Little Man" (1969), "Primrose Lane" (1970), "Baby, I Need Your Loving" (1970), "Help Me Make It Through The Night" (1971), "Don't Misunderstand" (1972), and "La La Peace Song" (1974). His hits continued on the R&B charts through 1987 and included "Together" (1976), "Love To Burn" (1978), "You're The First, My Last, My Everything" (1986), and "Brenda" (1987).
O.C. Smith later became a minister and, by 1985, had established The City Of Angels Church in Los Angeles where he served for 16 years. In the meantime, he continued to perform and record actively and released two final albums in 2000: "I Give My Heart To You" and "Beach Music Classics And Love Songs." Soon after his passing, Governor Jim Hodges proclaimed June 21, 2002 as "O.C. Smith Day" in the state of South Carolina. In November 2002, Smith was posthumously inducted into the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame. "Little Green Apples: God Really Did Make Them!," a spiritual guide he co-wrote with James Shaw, was published the following year.
- The Guardian remembers pop star-turned-minister O.C. Smith.
- For more info on the The City Of Angels Church founded by the Reverend O.C. Smith, visit cityofangelschurch.net.
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- Baby, I Need Your Loving 1970
(This song was previously a hit for the Four Tops (1964) and Johnny Rivers (1967) and later also became a hit for Eric Carmen (1979).)
- Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife 1969
- Help Me Make It Through The Night 1971
(This song also became a hit for Joe Simon (1971), Sammi Smith (1971), and Gladys Knight & the Pips (1972).)
- Honey (I Miss You) 1969
(This song previously topped the charts for Bobby Goldsboro (1968, as "Honey").)
- La La Peace Song 1974
(This song also became a hit for Al Wilson (1974).)
- Little Green Apples 1968
(This song also became a hit in 1968 for Roger Miller and Patti Page.)
- Primrose Lane 1970
(This song was previously a hit for Jerry Wallace (1959).)
- The Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp 1968
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