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Mike Smith of 'Dave Clark Five' dead at 64

| Friday, Feb. 29, 2008

LONDON -- Dave Clark Five lead singer Mike Smith died of pneumonia Thursday, less than two weeks before the band was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was 64.

Smith died at a hospital outside of London, his agent Margo Lewis said.

He was admitted to the intensive care unit Wednesday morning with a chest infection, a complication from a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed below the ribcage with limited use of his upper body. Lewis said he was injured when he fell from a fence at his home in Spain in September 2003.

Smith had been in the hospital since the accident, and was just released last December when he moved into a specially prepared home near the hospital with his wife.

"These last five years were extremely difficult for Mike. I am incredibly saddened to lose him, his energy and his humor, but I am comforted by the fact that he had the chance to spend his final months and days at home with his lovi ng wife Charlie," Lewis said.

Smith wrote songs as well as singing and playing keyboards for the Dave Clark Five, one of many British rock acts whose music swept across the United States in the 1960s during the so-called British Invasion.

The Beatles are the best remembered, of course, but at the time the Dave Clark Five posed the strongest threat, commercially and critically, to their pre-eminence.

The Dave Clark Five claimed a string of U.S. hits, including "Because," "Glad All Over," and "I Like it Like That." By 1966, the band had made 12 appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," then a record for any British group.

The group's antics were captured in John Boorman's 1965 documentary "Catch Us If You Can," which followed Smith and his band mates through the English city of Bristol.

While the group - which broke up in 1970 - was named after him, Dave Clark himself was the drummer.

The group is going to be inducted in the rock hall on March 10, a ceremony Lewis said Smith was trying to attend.

"We're very unhappy about the whole situation - it's sad," Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President Joel Peresman said.

He said the ceremony would go ahead as planned, but that there would be "a little extra significance this year."

Said Lewis: "He was extremely excited and honored to have been inducted ... and I am glad that he will be remembered as a hall of famer, because he was in so many ways."

Smith is survived by his wife, Arlene (nicknamed Charlie).

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