Honestly, who has had a cooler career than G.E. Smith?
He’s a fantastic musician, not only as a guitarist, but in the best general sense of the word. He’s played with almost everybody, from locals to legends. His impeccably tasteful guitar work has graced dozens of hits, hundreds of sessions and thousands of gigs, and he’s even familiar to millions of television viewers.
Born George Edward Smith on Jan. 27, 1952, in Stroudsburg, Penn., he was given an acoustic guitar while still a young child and took to it immediately. For his 11th birthday, Smith’s mom gave him a 1952 Fender Telecaster® guitar, and that was that—it was as if his entire future crystallized with the arrival of that guitar. Even at that tender age, Smith was already playing high school dances and Poconos resorts with musicians twice his age.
His career took off in the late 1970s. First came six years of hits with Hall & Oates (1979-1985), including “Private Eyes,” “Maneater,” “Kiss On My List” and others. Then he was leader of the “house band” at the historic 1985 Live Aid concert in Philadelphia, backing up Mick Jagger, Tina Turner and other artists. Perhaps most famously, he spent a decade as bandleader and musical director on Saturday Night Live (1985-1995), earning an Emmy Award and recognition from millions of viewers. Smith also did several tours with Bob Dylan and was musical director for the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden.
And those are just the highlights—Smith has played at and directed countless special event performances, television appearances and studio sessions. Seriously, we don’t have near enough room to list them all …
Smith is widely hailed as a modern master of the Telecaster, and Fender introduced his signature model, the G.E. Smith Telecaster, in 2007. The instrument combines a ’40s-era Fender lap steel with a ’50s-era Telecaster, with features such as a large U-shaped maple neck, lap steel “oval and diamond” fingerboard inlays, custom cutoff vintage-style bridge plate and body-mounted bridge pickup.