Артисты: Chris Norman
It is not surprising that Chris made the music business his career, as he comes from a show business family. His Grandparents toured their own concert party around England during the first world war and their daughter Pat (Chris’s mother) joined a dance troupe when she left school and became a dancer and singer. Pip Norman, (Chris’s Dad) was part of a dancing/comedy act called ‘The Three Jokers’ who worked all over Europe in the 1930s/40s and even had a Royal Variety Performance to their credit. Chris was born in Redcar, Yorkshire, on 25th October 1950, his parents didn't intend that he should pursue a stage career, but when he was just 3 years old, he decided to walk on stage and join the finale line up for the show in which his parents were appearing. This must have had an effect on him because with the advent of ‘Rock & Roll’, Chris acquired his first guitar at the age of seven and was hooked. His early musical influences were the likes of Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Lonnie Donegan. In these early years, Chris’s parents moved around the country a lot which resulted in him going to nine different schools and living in various locations around England, such as, Redcar, Luton, Kimpton and Nottingham.
By 1962 however the family had moved back to Chris’s mum’s home town of Bradford. Approaching his twelfth birthday, Chris started at St. Bede’s Grammar School where he was to meet Alan Silson and Terry Uttley the future members of Smokie. As teenagers, influenced by the new era of beat groups such as the Beatles and the Stones, and folk singer Bob Dylan. Chris and Alan began meeting up and spending nearly all their spare time learning new songs on their guitars. They managed to persuade Terry to join them and along with a drummer friend called Ron Kelly, they formed their first band. The Yen, Essence, Long side down were just some of a variety of names they called themselves before settling on ‘The Elizabethans’. In 1968 ‘The Elizabethans’ had turned professional via a stint at Butlins holiday camp Skegness. Another name change was inevitable though and during the next seven years Chris and the band gained much experience playing around the country, they performed many live radio broadcasts, including the recently cancelled Radio 1 Road shows. They managed to gain a recording contract with first RCA and then Decca records, and released three singles under their new name of ‘Kindness’.
During this period the band played many different styles and venues and at one time had a period as backing group to Peter Noone who as Herman had just left his Hermits. Their style was becoming a mixture of listening to acts such as, the Small faces, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Free, the Beatles and others. When Ron Kelly left the group in 1973 an old friend called Pete Spencer was asked to take over on drums and the group which was to become ‘Smokie’, was complete. That same year the group took on a new manager called Bill Hurley. Bill quickly set about getting them out of their recording contract with Decca Records and managed to sign them to Mickie Most’s RAK Label with songwriters Chinn/Chapman as production company. By 1974 the boys had developed their own sound reflecting their close three part harmonies and Chris’s distinctive vocal sound. The band’s name was changed to ‘Smokie’ and their first album ‘Pass it Around’ was released in 1975. By the summer of that year they had their first hit with ‘If you think you know how to love me’. This was followed by a string of hit singles including ‘Living next door to Alice’, ‘I’ll meet you at Midnight’, ‘Lay back in the arms of Someone’, etc.
Plus the very successful duet with Suzi Quatro, ‘Stumblin’ In’ which gave Chris his first taste of success outside the group. Their album sales grew accordingly and they had many hit albums such as, ‘Midnight Cafe’, ‘Bright Lights and Back Alleys’ and ‘the Montreux Album’ among others. By now Chris and the group were enjoying huge success touring all over the world and selling out many stadium gigs but the strain and pressure of constantly being away from home and family was beginning to tell so in the early eighties Chris decided to spend more time writing and working in the studio. Chris together with Pete Spencer, now concentrated on songs for other artists including hits for Kevin Keegan and the England football team’s hit ‘This Time’. He also worked with such names as ‘Agnetha’ from Abba, on her solo album, ‘Donovan’ and the Heavy Metal Kids, singing back vocals along with Alan & Terry and also playing guitar on the Agnetha album. In 1985 ‘Smokie’ got back together to play a charity show in aid of the Bradford F.C. fire disaster. The show was successful and as a result the band decided to go back on the road. Tours of Germany and Australia followed but in the latter part of 1985, Chris recorded a project for a German TV movie and decided to once again concentrate on his solo career. “Midnight lady” was the beginning Chris’s solo career took off in 1986 with the song, ‘Midnight Lady’, which was a massive hit throughout Europe holding the number one spot in Germany for six weeks. Other singles soon followed like’ ‘Some Hearts are Diamonds’, ‘Broken Heroes’, ‘Sarah’, and ‘As good as it gets’ along with solo albums, ‘Break the Ice’, ‘The Interchange’, ‘The Growing Years’ among others. Never having considered his music ‘country’, Chris was pleasantly surprised in 1994 when he was awarded ‘International video Star of the Year’ by CMT Europe for the videos ‘Jealous Heart’, ‘The Growing Years’ and ‘Red Hot Screaming Love’.
That same year Chris formed a new band and went on tour for the first time in six years. It was an enjoyable experience and the nucleus of that line up are still with him today. Then in 1997 he recorded an album of classics with the Riga Dome Boy’s Choir opening yet more areas for his music. With his live band he did several tours in Europe and many countries more since then, among them also two outstanding performances in Mongolia where he and the band had been celebrated by 70.000 people in the audience on each show. At the moment Chris is going to release his meanwhile 12th solo album, called "Handmade", and another live tour is planned for the beginning of 2004. "Breathe Me In" is the fifteenth solo album of the former Smokie front man Chris Norman. After the retro-disc "Full Circle", for which Norman recorded some of the old hits, "Breathe Me In" is an album full of absolutely new tracks. Again David Brandes ("Bad Boys Blue", "E-Rotic") was the producer (he was also responsible for the last albums of Chris Norman.) The songs were recorded in the Brandes’ studio "Bros Music" as well as the "Greenwood Studios" in Switzerland. Chris Norman presents himself in the year 2001 at his best form: for example "When The Indians Cry" a wonderful rock-ballade which gives you a goose pimples effect , "Heartaches" reflects the classical Smokie flair in the actual way of sound, or the track "Sweet Surrender" which has its basic roots in rhythm & blues. Norman wrote this song himself. The rousing "Just Another Drink" was spontaneously created during a jam-session. Consciously the sound and arrangement of this song remind of the fifties, what makes the track very authentic. "When recording this song, we had lots of fun and this not only due to a simply terrific team."
1978 Norman had his first solo hit with "Stumblin’ In" (a duet with Suzi Quatro), 1984 followed "Love is a Battlefield" (Pat Benatar published this hit at the same time), 1986 finally his solo breakthrough with the "TATORT" title song "Midnight Lady". Further success followed by the songs "Some Hearts Are Diamonds", "Broken Heroes", "Fearless Hearts" (title song for the serial "Alarm Code 112") "Sarah" and "Baby I miss you". 1994 Chris Norman was honored by CMT Europe to be the "International Video Star of the Year". "With Smokie we had success all over the world, but our greatest success we always had in Germany", says Norman today. "In Germany there has always been the highest interest in my solo albums. Chris Norman signs now for years contracts directly with German record companies! So he did with his new album. Chris met his wife Linda in the year 1967 at a Smokie concert in Elgin / Scotland and on March 16th 1970 they got married so there were two jubilees in Chris’ family to celebrate last year: 30 years of marriage to his wife Linda and on October 25th Chris had his 50th birthday. The married couple has five children (Bryan, Paul, Michael, Steven and Susan Jane); Chris and Linda live together with their three youngsters on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. They have a studio in their house and here Chris fiddles around with new songs. Here he composed. the UK-Hit "This Time" (sung by British national soccer team with coach and Norman’s friend Kevin Keegan). Though all his success Chris always stayed rooted to his native soil. His favorite meal is fish & chips and his greatest wish to come true „is to have a long-lasting and healthy life together with Linda and my family". With his new album "Breathe Me In" Chris Norman proofs his extraordinary abilities. All we would like to do, is to wish this sympathic British man all the best for his new masterpiece.