Indy Smith founded FRASHON communications LLC following the passing of her father, Frankie Smith, in March 2019. She is committed to memorializing her father’s life and life’s work by honoring his legacy. We are the exclusive copyright owners of all Frankie Smith’s music being sold as well as merchandise. “The world knew him as Frankie “Double Dutch Bus” Smith but for me, he is and will always be my daddy. I’m truly grateful for the years I had my father, who was my best and loyal friend as well as one of my spiritual teachers. My dad was pure love and I know he is guiding me”.
Franklyn Leon “Frankie” Smith (born 1940, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was an American funk musician and R&B/soul songwriter. He was best known for his 1981 single “Double Dutch Bus“. He went to college in Tennessee for elementary education with a minor in music. A nephew of comedian Pigmeat Markham, Smith taught himself to play the piano. After a return to his hometown, he became a staff songwriter for Gamble & Huff‘s Philadelphia International and had his songs recorded by Archie Bell & the Drells, the O’Jays, Billy Paul, and others.
With his 1981 single “Double Dutch Bus“, released by WMOT Records, Smith popularized a nonsensical form of slang, (From his song “Slang thang”, 1981 WMOT records.) in which “iz” is placed in the middle of a word (for example, the word “place” becomes “plizace”) or the last letters of a word are replaced with “-izzle” (ex. sure becomes shizzle). The style became part of hip-hop slang, and was popularized by rappers Snoop Dogg and E-40. The style today holds a place in popular slang.
“Double Dutch Bus” itself has been sampled frequently in hip-hop, including Snoop Dogg’s “Snoop Dogg (What’s My Name, Pt. 2)” and Missy Elliott‘s “Gossip Folks“. Both records were produced by Timbaland. His single “Double Dutch Bus” is also featured in the 2008 Disney movie College Road Trip starring Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symoné.
A native Philadelphian, Smith once applied to be a bus driver for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which operates Philadelphia’s public transit system, but SEPTA turned him down. The “Transpass” referred to by Smith in “Double Dutch Bus” is an actual monthly fare pass issued by SEPTA. The turndown of the position at SEPTA sparked the legendary song.
When the song took off, Smith made a whole album of kids’ songs called Children of Tomorrow with tracks like “Teeny-Bopper Lady” and “Slang Thang (Slizang Thizang).” He never issued another album but did put out a few more singles, including “Yo-Yo Champ (From Mississippi)” and “Double Dutch II,” both in 1982. In 1993, he got back on board with “The New Double Dutch Bus.”
The record became only the second in history (following the 1979 Barbra Streisand/Donna Summer duet “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)“) and remains one of the few, to receive two separate standard-release Gold certifications from the RIAA.
This is really a kids’ song. When Frankie Smith performed it on American Bandstand, he told Dick Clark: “‘Double Dutch’ is a tribute to all the girls in the world, especially the girls on my block. I’ve been watching them for 25 years. They use their mothers’ clotheslines to play the game – it’s an art. It’s a tribute to them – they’re really good at it.” Frankie was devoted to the Lord and advocated for the safety and care of children. Being the only child and having only one child, a daughter he wanted the world to be a better place for children all over the world.