His success on that show led to a recording contract with Cadence Records. Smith's debut release was a cover of the Little Richard hit "Tutti Frutti" in December, 1955. The song was not a hit, but convinced MGM Records to sign Smith to a solo contract, resulting in three more releases, but still no hits. In 1961, Smith was recruited by Count Basie to be his vocalist, a position he held until 1965. He also continued to record with different labels, but a hit remained elusive. (His highest chart position was number 127, for his 1967 release, "That's Life").
By 1968, Smith's then label, Columbia Records, was ready to release him from his contract, when he entered the charts for the first time with "Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp". Smith changed the first part of his name to O.C. and recorded a cover of the Bobby Russell song "Little Green Apples", which shot to number 2 on the pop charts and won Smith a 1969 Grammy Award for "Best Song". While Smith was unable to scale these heights again, he continued to record, reaching number 34 with "Daddy's Little Man", before retiring from music to study divinity. In 1985, Smith became Dr. O.C.
Smith, pastor of the City of Angels Science of Mind Centre in Los Angeles, and he continued to preach until his death in 2001. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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