Smith was a founding member of Little Richard's backing group The Upsetters. When Richard denounced rock 'n' roll in 1967 to follow religion, Smith signed on as a member of Jame's Brown's backing band. He had know Brown for many years, having played on his first single 'Please Please Please' and co-written 'Chonnie-On-Chon'. Smith was most sucessful for writing 'Tell It Like It Is' with George Davis (2)
A spell in prison curtailed Smith's career but he returned to write and record several more singles on small labels.