September 13, 2021
POPULAR singer Karen Smith, who lost her battle with colon cancer on Saturday morning, hit the local charts on multiple occasions with her cover versions.
Several of Smith’s hits were produced by the Grammy-winning “Riddim Twins” Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare.
In 1986 she hit number one on the JBC Radio Top 30 Chart with a cover of Wide Awake in a Dream, produced by her husband Jackie Jackson. It was released on the Jolly Records label. A video for the song received significant rotation on the then Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC TV).
Wide Awake in a Dream was made popular locally by the duo The Blues Busters in 1965. Their version emerged as the number one song for the year on the RJR Top 100.
Despite being covered by several acts throughout the years, Wide Awake in a Dream was first recorded by American rhythm and blues singer Jerry Jackson in 1962.
Smith’s cover of Oh Me Oh My hit the top 5 on the RJR and JBC charts in 1990. It was produced by Sly and Robbie.
Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby) was first recorded by Sottish singer Lulu in 1969. Her version reached number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In 1992 Smith again charted with another cover. This time, her revamp of Breakfast in Bed (originally recorded by British singer Dusty Springfield) sailed into the top 10 on all local charts. It was released on the Taxi label.
Singer Lorna Bennett scored a local hit 20 years earlier with her version of Breakfast in Bed, which topped the charts. Former beauty pageant contender-turned-singer Sheila Hylton covered the song in 1979 and it scaled the British Top 100 chart at number 57.
In 1993 Smith’s cover of Ken Parker’s True True True hit number one on the JBC Top 30 chart.
Smith’s last chart hit was a collaboration with singer Colin Roach titled Storybook Children. Produced by Taxi Records, the song was a top 10 hit on both the RJR and JBC Radio charts.
Storybook Children was a cover of the Billy Vera and Judy Clay original. Their version reached number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967.