& The Sunshine Band Guitarist Dies In Construction Accident
Jerome Smith, rhythm
guitarist and founding member of KC & the
Sunshine Band, died last Friday (July
28) in a freak construction accident
in West Palm Beach, Florida.
who was working in the building and construction trades as
a heavy-equipment operator, fell off a
bulldozer he was driving and was
crushed by the machine. Smith, who turned
47 on June 18, will be cremated
Saturday (August 5). He is survived by
his wife Carolyn, daughter Jenika, and
a statement, KC said, "I am totally shocked by this overwhelming
tragedy. I am heartsick and filled with
sadness. Jerome Smith was a dear
friend and a gifted performer. He influenced
future guitarists and many
groups with his playing. His memory lives
is collecting tributes to Smith from fellow musicians and fans,
which he plans to have bound into a "musical
memory book" that he'll
give to Smith's family.
was the rhythm guitarist on KC & the Sunshine Band's
Number One hits "Get Down Tonight," "That's
The Way (I Like It),"
"(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,"
"I'm Your Boogie Man,"
and "Please Don't Go," as well as on "Keep
It Comin' Love" and "Boogie
Bruce Simon, New York
member of KC & the Sunshine Band dies in accident
From the AP
Jerome Smith, founding guitarist of KC
& The Sunshine Band, died
Friday after being crushed in a construction
accident. He was 47.
Smith fell off a bulldozer and was crushed
by the machine. Smith,
who had left the band in 1979 because
of drug problems, was recently
working toward rejoining the band by maintaining
his sobriety, said Mel
Haber, manager for the group's leader,
Harry Wayne Casey.
Smith, a Miami-area native, founded the
group in 1974 with Casey,
bass player Richard Finch, drummer Robert
Johnson and conga player
After a pair of forgettable songs, the
group reached the top of Billboard
Magazine's charts in 1975 with ``Get Down
Tonight.'' Before Smith left
the group, it had five No. 1 songs, including
``Boogie Shoes'' and ``That's
the Way (I Like It),'' and three Grammys.
Smith, of K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Dies at 47
Jerome Smith, the original guitarist for the disco party kings K. C. and
the Sunshine Band, died on Friday after a construction accident, The
Associated Press reported. He was 47 and lived in Miami.
His body was crushed in the accident, which took place at the construction
site where he worked in West Palm Beach, the news agency said.
Mr. Smith's suave sound became familiar to disco fans before he joined
C. and the Sunshine Band, when he played the signature riff on George
McRae's "Rock Your Baby." He was soon invited by the production team
of Harry Wayne Casey (also known as K. C.) and Richard Finch to join
the Sunshine Band.
His guitar, altered in the studio to sound like a synthesizer, provided
hook for "Get Down Tonight," the band's breakthrough hit. Before he left
the group in 1979, it had five No. 1 songs, including "That's the Way (I
Like It)," "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" and "I'm Your
Mr. Smith had other musical successes, playing on 10 albums by the disco
burlesque artist Blowfly and touring in America with the Australian group
In the 1990's he contributed to the soundrack of the television show
"Melrose Place." He was reportedly hoping to rejoin K. C. and the
Sunshine Band at the time of his death.