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The Awesome Music of Smokie

This English rock band originally spelled their name as Smokey then changed it to Smokie. The band comes from Bradford, Yorkshire, England. They have had many great hit singles and are still touring. Among their most popular singles are “If You Think You Know How to Love Me”, “Don’t Play Your Rock ‘n’ Roll to Me”, “and Lay Back in the Arms of Someone”. The hit with which they are most recognized is “Living Next Door to Alice”.

The band in their original formation was created in 1965 and its members were Chris Norman lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Terry Uttley bass and vocals, Alan Silson lead guitar and vocals and Ron Kelly drums.  It was their second album Changing All the Time that brought them fame with the hit “If You Think You Know How to Love Me”.  Finally, with their third album Midnight Café, they came out with a string of hits like “Something’s Making Me Blue”, “Wild Wild Angels” and “I’ll Meet You After Midnight”.

Smokie was at the peak of their success in 1978 and it was at this time that their lead singer Chris Norman teamed up with singer Suzi Quatro and released a popular duet single “Stumblin’ In”. For awhile this duet was on top of the European charts. Then popularity shifted again to Smokie who came out with “Mexican Girl” composed by Norman and Spencer.

Followed by another hit “Head Over Heels in Love”.  Their album The Other Side of the Road was released in 1979 and recorded in Australia. It brought them the following hits “Do to Me” and “Babe It’s Up to You”.  These were followed by a melancholic single “Run to Me”.

They were considering a full comeback when in 1986 Chris Norman chose to leave the group due to his success as a solo singer. He was replaced by Alan Barton who has previously been a part of Black Lace. With a few other changes, Smokie released the album All Fired Up! In 1988. A surprise turn to popularity came when they toured Ireland and noticed that when they sang their most popular song “Living Next Door to Alice” the audience would shout, “Alice? Who the f—k is Alice?” Finally, this phrase was worked into a version of the song and became a runaway hit.

Smokie has continued to perform and tour and is still coming out with albums. In 2010 they had a hit with a song written about the other girl in the song about Alice called “Sally’s Song”. They are an interesting and innovative group and well worth taking a listen to.


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