April 12, 1952 – January 21, 2012
Ronnie Smith was a trumpet player and songwriter who is perhaps best remembered as an original member of one of the disco era’s biggest and most enduring bands, KC & the Sunshine Band. Thanks to contributions from Smith, the group created the blueprint for the upbeat and horn-driven “Miami sound” that acts like the Miami Sound Machine and Gloria Estefan would later follow. A dynamic performer on stage, Smith was often the horn section’s focal point and choreographed its funky dance moves. Prior to his tenure in the Sunshine Band, Smith formed the Ocean Liner Band who backed R&B great, Betty Wright, and played on countless recordings released by the legendary Miami label, TK Records. He also wrote “Spank,” which became a big disco hit by Jimmie “Bo” Horne in 1978. That same year, Smith released his one an only album, Party Freaks (Come On) as Ron Louis Smith. In 2004, he was attacked during a car-jacking that left him in a coma and hospitalized ever since. An arrest was never made. Ronnie Smith ultimately died of his injuries on January 21, 2012. He was 59.