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The Best of Smokie

Smokie

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Album Review

In January of 1977, England's Smokie scored its first and only Top 40 hit on Billboard with the band's version of New World's "Living Next Door to Alice," a slick little pop/rock number that rode on the voice of lead singer Chris Norman. It's this song that kicks off The Best of Smokie, an all-you-need compilation made up of 18 tracks, including the band's version of Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby" and a not-so-folksy rendition of "Mr. Tambourine Man." However, it's not the cover tunes that shine from this band by any means, but rather the songs that involve the songwriting prowess of Chinn and Chapman, which coincidentally marked the beginning of Smokie's short-lived run of success. With this duo penning the band's work, songs like "If You Think You Know How to Love Me" and "Don't Play Your Rock 'n' Roll to Me" gave Smokie ample recognition, easily surfacing as two of the group's best pop tunes. Cashing in on a Cliff Richard-like congeniality, sweetened rock efforts like "Oh Carol," "I'll Meet You at Midnight," and "For a Few Dollars More" represent Smokie's formulaic repertoire, which is why a compilation album such as this more than suffices. In 1979, Norman had a Top Ten hit with Suzi Quatro, teaming up for "Stumblin' In," which went all the way to number four and was Quatro's only Top 40 placing.

Biography

Formed: 1966

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Originally formed in Yorkshire, England, in 1966, Smokie hit the British pop charts several times during the late '70s with updated psychedelic pop, influenced by the band's stay on Mickie Most's Rak Records as well as the writers of most of the band's hit material, Rak's Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Vocalist Chris Norman, bassist Terry Utley, guitarist Alan Silson, and drummer Ron Kelly had played in the Elizabethans, but formed the band Kindness in 1970. The quartet recorded many singles during...
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The Best of Smokie, Smokie
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