Sunday, 23 January 2011


Brenton Wood (born Alfred Jesse Smith, July 26, 1941, Shreveport, Louisiana)[1] is an American singer and songwriter, best known for his two 1967 hit singles: "The Oogum Boogum Song" and "Gimme Little Sign".

When Wood was a child his family moved west to San Pedro in Los Angeles, California. He attended San Pedro High School for part of his freshman year before moving toCompton. In his high school years his family relocated to nearby Compton, where Brenton became a member of the Compton High School track team and received several awards for his athletic achievements.

Following his high school graduation, Wood enrolled in East Los Angeles College; soon after, he took the stage name Brenton Wood, possibly inspired by the wealthy Los Angeles enclave of Brentwood (some sources state that the name is in honor of his "home county"). During this period, his musical interests began to manifest themselves. He was inspired by Jesse Belvin and Sam Cooke, and he began cultivating his songwriting skills, also becoming a competent pianist.[1]

Early singles for Brent Records and Wand Records failed to chart. After signing with Double Shot Records, Wood had a hit with "The Oogum Boogum Song" in the spring of 1967. It reached number 19 on the Billboard R&B chart and number 34 on the corresponding Billboard Hot 100 pop listing. Locally in Southern California, "The Oogum Boogum Song" hit the top 10 on both KHJ, Los Angeles, and on KGB in San Diego. His biggest hit came in September of the same year, as "Gimme Little Sign" hit #9 on the pop chart and #19 on the R&B charts. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[1] In the song, "Gimme Little Sign" is not sung, instead the chorus repeats "Give Me Some Kind of Sign". In late 1967, Brenton charted a third single, "Baby You Got It", again seeing top 30 success on pop radio in Southern California.

Wood continued to perform, even recording a duet with Shirley Goodman. He reached the charts again in 1977, when "Come Softly to Me" registered in the lower reaches of the listings. Following its release, Wood became part of the oldies soul circuit. In 2001, he returned with an album of new material, This Love Is for Real. Among his later appearances was a 2006 appearance on the Los Angeles public access program Thee Mr. Duran Show, where Wood and his band performed several of his hit singles [1].

Wood does not own the rights to any of his songs. They are all owned by the Los Angeles disc jockey, Art Laboe.[citation needed]


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