July 28, 2000 – Jerome Smith was born on June 18th 1953 in Miami, Florida.
As a session guitarist for Miami based TK Records, Smith’s suave guitar sound first became noticed to disco fans and musicians, when he played the signature riff on George McRae’s hit song ”Rock Your Baby.’‘
In 1974 he was invited by the production team of Harry Wayne Casey (also known as K. C.) and Richard Finch to join the Sunshine Band, together with Casey, bass player Richard Finch, drummer Robert Johnson and conga player Fermin Goytisolo.
His guitar, which was altered in the studio to sound like a synthesizer, provided the hook for ”Get Down Tonight,” the band’s breakthrough No. 1 hit.
Before he left the group in 1979 because of drug problems, they had five No. 1 songs, including ”That’s the Way (I Like It),” ”(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” and ”I’m Your Boogie Man.”
He remained sought after as a session guitarist, playing on 10 albums by the disco burlesque artist Blowfly who transitioned in 2016 and touring in America with the Australian group the Divinyls. In the 1990s he contributed to the soundtrack of the television show Melrose Place.
He died on July 28, 2000 in a freak bulldozer construction accident in Miami, when he was crushed by a bulldozer he was operating. He was 47.
He was reportedly hoping to rejoin K. C. and the Sunshine Band at the time of his death.