Week of April 12th, 1997


Discography (only up to 1982)

Smokie (1975)
Changing All The Time (1975)
Midnight Café (1976)
Bright Lights And Back Alleys (1977)
The Montreux Album (1978)
Other Side of the Road (1979)
Solid Ground (1981)
Strangers in Paradise (1982)
Midnight Delight (1982)
Greatest Hits (1977)
Smokie's Hits (1980)
Chris Norman solo:
Rock Away Your Teardrops (1982)

This UK pop band from Bradford, Yorkshire, featured Chris Norman (vocals), Terry Uttley (guitar), and Alan Silson (bass). The three were previously together in 1966 with a band titled the Elizabethans. Pete Spencer replaced their original drummer shortly afterwards. Turning professional in 1968, they changed their name to Kindness, performing at holiday camps and ballrooms. A variety of record company contracts failed to ignite any hit singles, however. Along the way they changed their name to Smokey, but it was not until they joined Rak Records, where Mickie Most introduced them to songwriters Chinn And Chapman, that they saw any success. They then scored frequently with 'If You Think You Know How To Love Me' and 'Don't Play Your Rock 'n' Roll To Me' in 1975, after which they changed the spelling of their name to Smokie. Their 1976 version of the Chinn/Chapman composition 'Living Next Door To Alice', originally recorded by New World, became a hit in the face of opposition from the burgeoning punk scene. Norman, meanwhile, joined fellow Rak artist Suzi Quatro on the 1978 hit duet 'Stumblin' In'. By 1978 and 'The Montreux Album', the band, through Norman and Spencer, were taking a greater share of writing credits, but this coincided with a drop in their fortunes. They bounced back briefly in 1980 with a cover of Bobby Vee's 'Take Good Care Of My Baby', but this proved to be their last hit. Norman and Spencer moved on to writing for other artists including fellow Rak teenybop groups, and both Kevin Keegan's 'Head Over Heels' and the England World Cup Squad's 'This Time We'll Get It Right'.

[Norman, Uttley and Silson have also collaborated with artists as diverse as Donovan, Agnetha Faltskog (of ABBA), Verity and Heavy Metal Kids, often providing their signature Smokie background harmony vocals.

The band resurfaced in 1986 with a different lineup; Chris Norman dropped out soon after the reformation, in order to pursue a solo career. The reunion lineup included the late Alan Barton (who died in a bus accident in 1995), ex-Black Lace, Steve Pinnell on drums and Martin Bullard on keyboards. They went on to moderate chart success in mainland Europe and Scandinavia with numerous singles and albums. Alan was replaced by Mike Kraft; the only original member in today's version of Smokie is Terry Uttley. Pete Spencer has stuck with Chris Norman and his solo endeavours ever since the split in 1982. - A.G.]

(from "The Guinness Who's Who of Seventies Music", Guinness Publishing, UK, ISBN: 0-85112-727-4)

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