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Smokie is an Englishmarker rock band from Bradfordmarker, Yorkshiremarker who found success in Europe in the 1970s.


Early years

Originally called The Yen, then The Sphynx and later Essence, the band was formed in 1965 at St. Bede's Grammar Schoolmarker in Heatonmarker, Bradford. It was composed of Chris Norman (lead vocals/rhythm guitar/piano) (born Christopher Ward Norman, 25 October 1950, in Redcarmarker, North Yorkshire), Terry Uttley (born Terence David Uttley, 9 June 1951, in Bradford, West Yorkshiremarker) (bass/vocals), Alan Silson (lead guitar/vocals) (born 21 June 1951, in Bradford, West Yorkshiremarker) and Ron Kelly (drums) (born Ronald Bruce Kelly, 10 February 1950, in Winchestermarker, Hampshire). As Essence, they toured small clubs in Bradford and the surrounding communities. The band became The Black Cats in 1966 and in Nov 1967 the band changed their name to The Four Corners.

In April 1968, the group found a manager in Mark Jordan, who advised them to rename themselves The Elizabethans. The group now became fully professional, and the members garnered higher salaries. In June 1968 Terry Uttley joined the group. December saw the group having a first TV appearance on Yorkshire Television's news and magazine show "Calendar". In August 1969, the four performed two songs for the BBC show "High Jinx". Enthused with this successful performance Jordan had them record a first demo tape. In January 1970 RCA showed an interest in the band and suggested a name change to Kindness. A single was recorded, but due to a strike, the double A-side, "Light Of Love" / "Lindy Lou", was not released for a few months. 300 copies of that were sold and it was followed by a second single "Oh Julie" / "I Love You Carolina".

In late 1970, Dave Eager approached the group and offered to manage them. Subsequently, an arrangement was made with Rory Storm - formerly of the influential band and early Beatle contemporaries Rory Storm and the Hurricanes - the band to which Ringo Starr had originally belonged. Kindness backed Storm performing as 'Rory Storm and the Failures'. In late 1971, Norman suffered a serious infection which affected his vocal cords. After getting over the sickness his voice sounded much rougher, which the other group members considered an interesting addition to their sound. Eager introduced them to Decca, which resulted in recordings in February 1972 . Shortly thereafter their next single was released: "Let The Good Times Roll" / "Oh Yeah!"

Rise to fame

Around this time the band was offered to accompany Peter Noone, formerly lead vocalist of Herman's Hermits, on tour. Noone was also helpful in recording their next single for Decca, "Make It Better" / "Lonely Long Lady". Noone didn't bring the boys any luck, but during the tour Bill Hurley offered to manage them. Hurley convinced Eager to release the boys from the contract with him. They recruited an old school friend, Pete Spencer (born Peter David Spencer, 13 October 1948, in Leedsmarker, West Yorkshire) (drums/vocals), who had played in various groups, to drum for them. This line-up performed on a sightseeing boat in Frankfurtmarker, Germanymarker. Hurley introduced the band to composers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (aka Chinnichap), who also wrote songs for glam rock contemporaries Sweet, Mud and Suzi Quatro, and also for Hot Chocolate. At first "Chinnichap" turned them down, but Hurley's tenacity eventually convinced the composers/producers to give the young group a chance. Hurley and Chinnichap started working intensely with the band, and suggested yet another name change to Smokey. Reluctantly, the band agreed. An attempt to dress the band up in leather clothes (similar to Suzi Quatro) was dropped, and the four won acceptance for their jeans outfit.

New instruments were bought and in late 1974 recordings sessions for their debut album commenced. On 14 February 1975, Pass It Around was released. The album spawned the title song as a single but failed to gain significant attention from the Britishmarker audience. In April that year Smokey opened for Pilot on tour.

Height of popularity

On September 22 1975, Smokey released their second album Changing All the Time. This LP sounded much softer than the debut, contained string arrangements on some songs, and heavily leaned toward acoustic guitar arrangements with close harmony vocals, which became their signature sound. The first single from the new album, "If You Think You Know How to Love Me", quickly became a big hit in many European countries, peaking at No. 3 in Britain, and won Smokey a wider audience. It was followed by "Don't Play Your Rock'n'Roll to Me".

Around this time the Americanmarker soul legend Smokey Robinson threatened to file a law suit, alleging that the band's name would confuse the audience. In order to avoid legal action it was decided to drop the "ey" and undergo another name change to Smokie. Shortly after the release of the second album, their first tour as headline act commenced.

The next album was partly produced in America, where Nicky Chinn had moved for various reasons (the tax situation being just one of them). Midnight Café built on the popularity of Changing All the Time and established the group as a new pop phenomenon. The following years yielded a string of successful singles: "Something's Been Making Me Blue", "Wild Wild Angels" and "I'll Meet You at Midnight" gained a faithful following among younger listeners. When their single "Living Next Door to Alice" was released in November 1976, it quickly became the group's biggest hit, followed by the equally successful "Lay Back in the Arms of Someone". Smokie now found themselves European superstars with sold-out tours and million-selling albums. The next two albums were to emphasize their stature: Bright Lights & Back Alleys (1977) and The Montreux Album (1978) were both chart successes.

At the peak of Smokie's success in 1978 Chris Norman teamed up with Suzi Quatro (who had just decided to return to Chinnichap after looking at separation from them) and released a duet single, "Stumblin' In"/ "A Stranger With You" - another Chinnichap composition. Norman and Quatro were on top of the European charts for some time, and it reached the US Top 10, though disappointingly no higher than No. 41 in Britain. Smokie's subsequent 45 was "Mexican Girl" / "You Took Me By Surprise". Composed by Norman and Spencer, the record saw the group actively distance itself from Chinnichap. Smokie's next act was to produce British football star Kevin Keegan's first single, "Head Over Heels In Love". It charted in many European countries.

In 1979, the album The Other Side Of The Road was released, entirely recorded in Australia. It spawned two more hits for the band, "Do To Me"/"Cryin'" and "Babe It's Up To You" / "Did She Have To Go Away", but it became clear that their sales were declining. Only a subsequent non-album single release, the melancholic "Run To Me"/"Look What You're Doin'" became another hit.

Smokie met with a hiatus before Solid Ground was released in 1981 . The advance single was neither a Chinnichap composition nor penned by any Smokie member, but a cover of "Little Town Flirt"/"I'm In Love With You", the last Smokie single to chart.

Decline and Norman's departure

In early 1982 the last album for EMI/BMG was released, Strangers In Paradise, which was almost a complete failure. The departure from Chinnichap became notable, and the four members of Smokie appeared unable to recreate their success using their own material. Shortly after the release of Strangers In Paradise work began on two parallel albums, one released as Smokie - Midnight Delight, the other Chris Norman's solo debut, Rock Away Your Teardrops. Neither release sold well.

Though Smokie had begun work on a comeback, in 1986, Norman - enthused with the relative success of his second solo album Some Hearts are Diamonds - announced that he was to leave the band. He was replaced by Alan Barton, formerly of Black Lace, a friend of the band who had a vocal style similar to Norman's. Smokie also recruited keyboard player Martin Bullard. Spencer quit and was replaced on drums by Steve Pinnell. The new line-up released All Fired Up! in 1988, which brought some attention and contained a new version of "Rock Away Your Tear Drops", the song which was initially the title track to Norman's debut album.


Several releases followed over the next years including Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (by Dieter Bohlen), Chasing Shadows and the 1994 album Celebration, which contained old hits in new arrangements accompanied by an orchestra. None had any real success. However, Smokie made a surprise return to the UK singles chart in 1995, with one of the most unlikely hits of the year - a duet with controversial northern comedian Roy Chubby Brown on a re-release of their biggest hit "Living Next Door To Alice" which reached #3. The band had noticed that, whilst touring in Irelandmarker, whenever they sang the main line "For 24 years/I've been living next door to Alice" the audience would shout "Who the fuck is Alice?". The resident DJ in Dutch café Gompie first came up with this phrase and, after a local record producer had noted its popularity and organised a recording, had a number 17-hit with Alice? Who the Fuck is Alice?! in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlandsmarker reaching #1. Smokie decided to cover the Gompie-version of their own song and thought that Brown was the ideal man for the job, with Barton singing the song vocals and Brown providing the additional sworn response.

They now hold the record as the first group to get a record in the Top Ten with the word "fuck" in it, and also the first to have it played on BBC1's "Top of the Pops", although with the offending word replaced due to the show being broadcast before the watershed. The word was not edited out, but Roy shouted the word "bleep" at the appropriate point.

Unfortunately shortly after the song was recorded Smokie's tour bus careened off of the road during a hailstorm in Germanymarker. Barton, badly injured, died after five days in intensive care. The rest of the band and Brown agreed to donate their royalties from the song to Barton's first wife.


The remaining members decided to continue with the band and went about finding their third lead singer. Friend of the band Mike Craft was chosen - allegedly, it only took one song to come to a decision. The World And Elsewhere was released later that year, followed by Light A Candle - The Christmas Album.

In 1996, Silson terminated his membership, saying he intended to pursue a solo career and to work with other acts as well, joining Mickey Finn's T. Rex; he also no longer wanted to be on the road all the time. Mick McConnell became the group's new lead guitarist. This formation produced the next album Wild Horses - The Nashville Album (1998), precisely in Nashvillemarker, Tennesseemarker, U.S.marker. In February 2001, the group released two albums, Uncovered and Uncovered Too, which consist entirely of cover versions, with no original new songs added.

In 2004 Smokie released a studio album with their own material. The album, On The Wire, marked the beginning of a new strong period for the band that, despite almost 30 years in the business, refuse to sit back and stop their development. Eleven of the 14 songs on the new album were written by the band themselves.

In 2006 Smokie released the album From the Heart. Although mainly a compilation album, it contained three brand new tracks.


1965 - 1968
  • Chris Norman - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Alan Silson - lead guitar, vocals
  • Terry Uttley - bass, vocals
  • Ron Kelly - drums

1968 - 1986

1986 - 1995

1995 - 1996

1996 - Present



Title Album cover Year of release Track listing Members info
Pass It Around 1975
  1. Pass It Around
  2. Daydreamin'
  3. Oh Well Oh Well
  4. My Woman
  5. It Makes Me Money
  6. Headspin
  7. Goin' Tomorrow
  8. I Do Declare
  9. Don't Turn Out Your Light
  10. Will You Love Me
  11. A Day at the Mother-In_law's
  12. The Coldest Night
  13. Shy Guy"
With Chris Norman
Changing All the Time 1975
  1. Don't Play Your Rock 'n' Roll To Me
  2. If You Think You Know How to Love Me
  3. It's Natural
  4. Give It to Me
  5. We're Flyin' High
  6. Changing All the Time
  7. Julia
  8. Take Me In
  9. Umbrella Day
  10. Back to Bradford
  11. Talking Her 'Round
With Chris Norman
Midnight Cafe 1976
  1. Something's Making Me Blue
  2. Wild Wild Angles
  3. Poor Lady (Midnight Baby)
  4. When My Back Was Against the Wall
  5. Make Ya Boogie
  6. Stranger
  7. What Can I Do
  8. Little Lucy
  9. Going Home
With Chris Norman
Smokie No cover 1976
  1. Lay Back in the Arms of Someone
  2. Something's Been Making Me Blue
  3. If You Think You Know How to Love Me
  4. Pass It Around
  5. I'll Meet You at Midnight
  6. Living Next Door to Alice
  7. Changing All the Time
  8. Don't Play Your Rock 'n' Roll to Me
  9. Back to Bradford
  10. Wild Wild Angels
with Chris Norman
Bright Lights & Back Alleys No cover 1977
  1. It's Your Life
  2. I Can't Stay Here Tonight
  3. Sunshine Avenue
  4. Think of Me
  5. In the Heat of the Night
  6. Needles and Pins
  7. No-one Could Ever Love You More
  8. The Dancer
  9. Baby It's You
  10. Walk Right Back
  11. Now You Think You Know
  12. Lay Back in the Arms of Someone
  13. Here Lies a Man
With Chris Norman
The Montreux Album 1978
  1. The Girl Can't Help It
  2. Power of Love
  3. No More Letters
  4. Mexican Girl
  5. You Took Me By Surprise
  6. Oh Carol
  7. Liverpool Docks
  8. Light Up My Life
  9. Petesey's Song
  10. For a Few Dollars More
  11. Stumblin' In (Smokie & Suzi Quatro)
  12. A Stranger with You (Smokie & Suzi Quatro)
With Chris Norman
Live: The Concert 1978
  1. intro
  2. I'll Meet You at Midnight
  3. Lay Back in the Arms of Someone
  4. What Can I Do
  5. If You Think You Know How to Love Me
  6. In the Heat of the Night
  7. It's Your Life
  8. Baby It's You
  9. Needles & Pins
  10. Think of Me (The Lonely One)
  11. For a Few Dollars More
  12. Wild Wild Angels
  13. Don't Play Your Rock'n'Roll to Me
  14. Living Next Door to Alice
  15. Going Tomorrow
  16. Oh Carol
  17. The Girl Can't Help It
Chris Norman
Terry Uttley
Pete Spencer
Alan Silson

The Other Side of the Road 1979
  1. The Other Side of the Road
  2. Do to Me
  3. Belinda
  4. Big Fat Momma
  5. Don't Take You Love Away This Time
  6. London Is Burning
  7. Babe It's Up to You
  8. You Don't Care
  9. All Alone
  10. I Can't Stop Loving You
  11. Too Many Pennies In Hell
  12. Samantha Elizabeth
  13. San Francisco Bay
With Chris Norman
Solid Ground 1981
  1. Jet Lagged
  2. I'm in Love With You
  3. Everything a Man Could Need
  4. My Woman Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll
  5. Take Good Care of My Baby
  6. Rock 'n' Roll Woman
  7. Your Love Is So Good For Me
  8. Long Time Coming
  9. Melody Goes On/Songs
With Chris Norman
Strangers In Paradise 1982
  1. Introduction
  2. Love Remains a Stranger
  3. Falling for You
  4. Yesterday's Dreams
  5. Come on Home
  6. Can You Feel My Heartbeat
  7. Two Strangers Falling
  8. You'll Be Lonely Tonight
  9. Mirror, Mirror
  10. Now It's Too Late
  11. Long Way From Home
  12. Strangers in Paradise
Chris Norman

Pete Spencer

Alan Silson

Terry Uttley
Midnight Delight No cover 1982
  1. Don't Throw It Away
  2. You're a Lady
  3. Winter's Day
  4. Time of Your Life
  5. Number on My Wall
  6. Midnight Delight
  7. Time Keeps Turning
  8. One More For the Road
  9. Hiding from the Night
  10. Warm Nights with You
With Chris Norman
All Fired Up No cover 1987
  1. My Heart Is True
  2. Cry in the Night
  3. Hold on For the Night
  4. Never Fight Again
  5. Rock Away Your Teardrops
  6. Second Choice
  7. Hold on Tight
  8. Only Love Hurts
  9. Looking Daggers
  10. Hot Girls and Summer Nights
  11. If You Think You Know How to Love Me
With Alan Barton
Boulevard of Broken Dreams No cover 1989
  1. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
  2. Falling Apart
  3. Think About the Night
  4. Sometimes You Cry
  5. Love Take Me Away
  6. Moving Mountains
  7. Young Hearts
  8. Stop Rewind
  9. Angelina
  10. Northern Soul
  11. Hears Need Company
With Alan Barton
Whose Are These Boots? No cover 1990
  1. In the Middle of a Lonely Dream
  2. Heartbreak Angel
  3. I Feel Love
  4. Romeo And Juliet
  5. Every Little Kiss
  6. Fistful Of Dollars
  7. This Side Of Paradise
  8. Hurting
  9. Never Made In Heaven
  10. In the Heat of the Night
with Alan Barton
Chasing Shadows 1992
  1. Don't Play That Game with Me
  2. You're So Different Tonight
  3. Respect
  4. Lyin' in the Arms of the One You Love
  5. Don't Stop This Love
  6. The Rain Came Down
  7. Chasing Shadows
  8. One Night in Vienna
  9. All My Life
  10. I'd Die For You
  11. Remember the Days
  12. Scream Your Guitar
with Alan Barton
Burnin' Ambition No cover 1993
  1. Bang Bang
  2. Naked Love (Baby Love Me)
  3. Never Turn Your Back On Your Friends
  4. Love Sometimes Takes Time
  5. Listen to Your Radio
  6. Love Is Out of the Question
  7. One More Dance
  8. Relying on You
  9. Surfin'
  10. Can't This Be Love
  11. Derry Girl
  12. Mariah
  13. Naked Love (Disco Fox Version)
  14. Destiny
with Alan Barton
Celebration Sorry, no cover available 1994
  1. If You Think You Know How to Love Me
  2. Wild Wild Angels
  3. Living Next Door to Alice
  4. Lay Back in the Arms of Someone
  5. Don`t Play Your Rock`n Roll to Me
  6. Oh Carol
  7. It's Your Life
  8. You're So Different Tonight
  9. Don`t Play That Game with Me
  10. Bang Bang
  11. Think About the Night
  12. Naked Love (Baby Love Me...)
  13. Never Turn Your Back on Your Friends
  14. I`ll Meet You at Midnight
  15. Needles and Pins
  16. Like An Eagle
With Alan Barton
New versions.
The World and Elsewhere No cover 1996
  1. Rock 'n' Roll Rodeo
  2. Have You Ever Seen the Rain
  3. Till Hell Frizes Over
  4. Rose-A-Lee
  5. Love Like a Rocket
  6. Can Be A Heartbreaker Too
  7. Coming Home Tonight
  8. Love Can Change Your Heart
  9. Till You Follow Me
  10. Last Train
  11. When The Lightning Strikes
  12. Steppin' On Seashells
  13. Where Sorry 's Not Enough
  14. Tell Me Why
  15. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Mike Craft
Terry Uttley
Steve Pinnel
Alan Silson
Martin Bullard

Light a Candle No cover 1996
  1. It Won't Be Christmas
  2. Mary's Boyfriend
  3. Light A Candle
  4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  5. A Spaceman Comes Travelling
  6. Silent Night
  7. A Winter's Tale
  8. When a Child is Born
  9. O' Little Town of Bethlehem
  10. O' Holy Noght
  11. White Christmas
  12. Away In A Manger
  13. O' Christmas Tree
  14. Christmas Isn't Just For Children
Mike Craft
Terry Uttley
Steve Pinnell
Mick McConnell
Martin Bullard

Wild Horses 1998
  1. Desperate Measures
  2. Wrong Reasons
  3. And The Night Stood Still
  4. She Rides Wild Horses
  5. When It's The Right Time
  6. Looking For You
  7. Ain't It Funny How It Works
  8. All She Ever Really Wanted
  9. No Rest For The Wounded Heart
  10. When The Walls Come Down
  11. Goodbye Yesterday's Heartache
  12. If You Think You Know How To Love Me
with Mike Craft
Uncovered 2000
  1. It Never Rains In Southern California
  2. When You Walk In The Room
  3. Arms Of Mary
  4. I Swear
  5. Darlin'
  6. Just When I Needed You Most
  7. Still The One
  8. Can't Fight This Feeling
  9. Whisky In The Jar
  10. Runaway Train
  11. I Don't Wanna Talk About It
  12. Who'll Stop The Rain
  13. Drift Away
  14. Love Hurts
with Mike Craft
Uncovered Too 2001
  1. Be My Baby
  2. Everytime You Go Away
  3. Hungry Heart
  4. Garden Party
  5. (I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight
  6. Only You
  7. Hungry Eyes
  8. Lodi
  9. You're So Vain
  10. Sailing
  11. I Won't Back Down
  12. What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted
  13. No Matter What
  14. Miss You Nights
with Mike Craft
On the Wire 2004
  1. Over You
  2. Ain't Gonna Rain
  3. Love On A Wire
  4. Why
  5. Tomorrow
  6. Mistral Wind
  7. Endless Way
  8. Midnight Train
  9. Hot Lovin'
  10. A Million Conversations
  11. African Nights
  12. Broken Hearts
  13. Home Is Anywhere You Are
  14. Josephine
with Mike Craft
From the Heart No cover 2006
  1. Don't Give Me That
  2. Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone
  3. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
  4. If You Think You Know How To Love Me
  5. Romeo And Juliet
  6. Back To You
  7. I Swear
  8. I Don't Wanna Talk About It
  9. Arms Of Mary
  10. Just When I Needed You Most
  11. I Feel Love
  12. No Matter What
  13. Love Hurts
  14. When The Night Falls
  15. Can't Cry Hard Enough
  16. Ain't It Funny How It Works
  17. Home Is Anywhere You Are
  18. Living Next Door To Alice
  19. Naked Love
With Mike Craft
Eclipse Sorry no cover 2008
  1. I'll Meet You at Midnight
  2. Desperate Measures
  3. Changing All the Time
  4. Don't Play Your Rock and Roll to Me
  5. Lay Back in the Arms of Someone
  6. The Rides Wild Horses
  7. Love Reminds a Stranger
  8. If You Think You Know How to Love Me
  9. Bouldevard of Broken Dreams
  10. For a Few Dollars More
  11. Why
with Mike Craft





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