Smiley Culture

Smiley Culture Artistfacts

  • February 10, 1963 - March 15, 2011
  • David Emmanuel was born at Stockwell, South London, on March 15, 1963, the son of a Jamaican father and a Guyanese mother.
    He may have been black, but the man who would become Smiley Culture had more in common with Del Boy Trotter of the classic TV series Only Fools And Horses or Max Miller than with Bob Marley, although unlike Miller, this latter day Cheeky Chappie never relied on innuendo and smut for laughs.
  • Smiley's rise to fame was quick but not meteoric. The two songs for which he will be fondly remembered are "Cockney Translation" and "Police Officer", both of which he wrote himself. He released his debut album Tongue In Cheek on the Polydor label in 1986, but it was probably too much even in the 1980s to attempt to build a career on novelty songs, although others have done it.
  • After his second album, The Original Smiley Culture, which was also released in 1986, on Top Notch, his performing career stalled, although he released "Can't Stop The Rap" in 1990 before fading from sight. He may have been gone but he was not forgotten; in July 2009, the London Evening Standard newspaper included "Cockney Translation" on its list London Calling 15 Capital Classics behind "Waterloo Sunset" and "Up The Junction" but ahead of Adele's "Hometown Glory".
  • Sadly, the next most people heard of Smiley was his death, in bizarre circumstances during a police raid on his home. He had previously been charged with importing cocaine, and committed suicide fearing a long prison sentence. Later, his teenage daughter was charged with the same offence. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)Songwriter Interviews

The co-writer/guitarist on many Alice Cooper hits, Dick was also Lou Reed's axeman on the Rock n' Roll Animal album.

Eagles Lyrics Quiz

Eagles Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

Lots of life lessons in these Eagles lyrics - can you match them to the correct song?

Keith Reid of Procol Harum

Keith Reid of Procol HarumSongwriter Interviews

As Procol Harum's lyricist, Keith wrote the words to "A Whiter Shade Of Pale." We delve into that song and find out how you can form a band when you don't sing or play an instrument.

Brian Kehew: The Man Behind The Remasters

Brian Kehew: The Man Behind The RemastersSong Writing

Brian has unearthed outtakes by Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello and hundreds of other artists for reissues. Here's how he does it.

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock Photography

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock PhotographySong Writing

One of rock's top photographers talks about artistry in photography, raising funds for a documentary, and enjoying a County Fair with Tom Waits.

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"They're Playing My Song

Dean's saga began with "Ariel," a song about falling in love with a Jewish girl from New Jersey.