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Slim Smith as he was popularly known was born Keith Smith in 1948, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, Smith first came to prominence as a member of the Victors Youth Band, who were highly praised at the 1964 Jamaican Festival. He subsequently became a founding member and lead vocalist of the Techniques, who secured a recording contract with Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label. From 1964-65 they recorded several hits, two of which, "I Am In Love" and "Little Did You Know', are included on the Techniques' Classics compilation. After leaving the group in 1965, he visited Canada where he recorded his first solo album, Toronto "66, which almost instantly sank into obscurity.

On his return to Jamaica, he commenced recording for Prince Buster and Coxsone Dodd's Studio One label, the main rival to Duke Reid. His Studio One recordings brilliantly highlight his passionate, soulful voice, which had an almost manic edge, and confirm him as one of Jamaica's greatest singers. His hits from this period include "I've Got Your Number", "Hip Hug" and "Rougher Yet", many of which were later compiled for Born To Love. In 1967 he formed a new group, the Uniques, and commenced his association with producer Bunny Lee. They topped the Jamaican hit parade with "Let Me Go Girl", but after recording one album, Absolutely The Uniques, Smith left the group, staying with Lee to concentrate on a solo career.

He had a hit almost immediately with "Everybody Needs Love". An album of the same name quickly followed, as did many further hits. By 1972 personal problems led to him being detained at Bellevue sanatorium, and the following year he committed suicide. His death stunned Jamaica. Still widely regarded as one of Jamaica's great vocalists, his enduring popularity has thankfully resulted in the reissue of the bulk of his work.