Brenton Wood (born Alfred Jesse Smith, July 26, 1941, Shreveport, Louisiana) is an American singer and songwriter known for his two 1967 hit singles, “The Oogum Boogum Song” and “Gimme Little Sign”.
The family moved to San Pedro in Los Angeles, California when Wood was a child. He attended San Pedro High School for part of his freshman year before moving to 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”), with a second possible connection of Bretton Woods. 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.
Early singles for Brent Records and Wand Records failed to chart. Wood signed with Double Shot Records, and his “The Oogum Boogum Song” reached #19 on the US Billboard R&B chart and #34 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1967. In Southern California, “The Oogum Boogum Song” hit the top 10 on KGB-FM and #1 on KHJ. Wood’s biggest hit came a few months later, as “Gimme Little Sign” hit #9 on the pop chart, #19 on the R&B charts, #2 on KHJ, and #8 in the UK Singles Chart; sold over one million copies; and was awarded a gold disc. The title is not actually sung in the song; the chorus instead repeats “Give Me Some Kind of Sign.” Wood’s “Baby You Got It” peaked at #34 on the Hot 100 during the last week of 1967 and #3 on KHJ on 31 January 1968.
Wood recorded a duet with Shirley Goodman. His next song to reach the charts was “Come Softly to Me” in 1977.
He returned again in 1986 with the album Out of the Woodwork, which included contemporary rerecordings of his early hits, along with several new tracks, including the single, “Soothe Me.”
His album This Love Is for Real came out in 2001. Among his later appearances was in 2006 on the Los Angeles public access program Thee Mr. Duran Show, where Wood and his band performed several of his hit singles.