Posted April 29, 2001 (Introduction by Jack Rabid)
My acquaintance Alexander Hart, son of former original Raiders
manager and famous Northwest '60s rock 'n' roll DJ Roger Hart, was kind enough
to pen this obituary for us. Having met Smitty late in his life, at the
incredible reunion of the classic Raiders lineup with Mark Lindsay, Fang, Smitty,
and Drake, in Portland four years ago, I am sad to have to pass this along. He
seemed like a nice man, and he was certainly a fine drummer for one of the great
bands of all time. Rest in peace.
Michael "Smitty" Smith: 1941-2001, By Alexander Hart
Paul Revere and The Raiders drummer, Michael "Smitty" Smith, passed away on March 6, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, from natural causes.
Smitty became a Raider in 1962 and quickly The Raiders gained huge Northwest success being the number one group. They recorded "Louie, Louie" in 1963, featuring the signature introduction by Smitty, "Grab Your Woman, it's Louie, Louie time." That would be their first single on Columbia Records.
The Raiders next found themselves with national success. Their daily television show ("Where The Action Is"), Teen Idols, and 24 Billboard Top 100 hits. The Raiders and Smitty had millions of fans. "As the rhythm backbone of Paul Revere and The Raiders, Smitty kept the engine running. He had talent, charisma and a wonderful sense of music and comedy. I'll always remember him fondly and with great admiration," stated Dick Clark.
Smith left the band after a Ed Sullivan appearance in May of 1967, to form Brotherhood with fellow Raiders Phil "Fang" Volk and Drake Levin. They released three albums on RCA.
After Brotherhood, Smitty returned to The Raiders in early 1971 until 1975. During that time The Raiders had their only number one hit, "Indian Reservation" and Smitty was involved with their last album on Columbia, "Country Wine".
Smitty reunited with the original Raiders in 1978 on a Dick Clark Network special and recently on September 19, 1997 in Portland, Oregon with over 10,000 Raider fans.
"Offstage, he was a gentle man and a gentleman. He was very kind to people," said Roger Hart, The Raiders Manager. "Smitty was our little peacemaker. He was very concerned about the world conditions and wishing that somebody could straighten out the rest of the world."
Michael "Smitty" Smith will be remembered for making an impact in the history of music and in the lives of those he touched.
(Courtesy Alexander Hart and The Big Takeover - www.bigtakeover.com)