The R&B and Funk world is gathered in remembrance of singer and songwriter, Frankie Smith. Best known for his funky hit, “Double Dutch Bus,” the native Philadelphian was also a significant behind the scenes player as well.
Smith was born in 1953 in Philadelphia, attending college in Tennessee in pursuit of a teaching degree with a minor in music. Smith became a writer for the O’Jays and The Spinners before diving into his own career as a performer as the ‘80s rolled around.
“Double Dutch Bus” came out in 1981, partly inspired by Smith’s hometown transit authority known as SEPTA, and the child’s rope game of double dutch. The song became a hit on the Soul charts before crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100.
The song was put out by Philadelphia label WMOT, which had a shady investor in Larry “Dr. Snow” Levin, a dentist who secretly sold cocaine on the side. His involvement with the label led to its shutdown in 1984, which was highlighted on the National Geographic documentary, “King of Coke: Living The High Life.”
Another contribution Smith made to music was the introduction of the “iz” slang that was later employed by the likes of rappers E-40 and Snoop Dogg among others. Another high mark for “Double Dutch Bus” is that is only of only a few singles to gain two gold RIAA certifications, the first being Barbara Streisand and Donna Summer’s “No More Tears” from 1979.
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