Known for his solo hits in the 1980s as well as his hits with the band Smokie in the '70s, Chris Norman is a British soft rock singer with an international following whose career spans several decades. Born on October 25, 1950, in Redcar, North Yorkshire, England, he began his musical career in the band Smokie. Originally founded in 1965, the band changed its name several times before ultimately deciding upon Smokie in the mid-'70s. Comprised of Alan Silson (lead guitar, vocals), Terry Uttley (bass, vocals), and Pete Spencer (drums), in addition to Norman (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Smokie made their album debut in 1975 with Pass It Around. Their second album, Changing All the Time (1975), broke them into the pop mainstream not only in the United Kingdom but also in parts of Western Europe, where the album's single, "If You Think You Know How to Love Me," was a Top Ten hit. Subsequent albums Midnight Cafe (1976), Bright Lights and Back Alleys (1977), and The Montreux Album (1978) were also international hits. Moreover, Norman scored an international Top Ten hit single in 1978 with "Stumblin' In," a duet with Suzi Quatro.
As Smokie's popularity trailed off around the turn of the decade, Norman split from the band and made his solo album debut in 1982 with Rock Away Your Teardrops. While his debut album was fairly unsuccessful, his second full-length effort, Some Hearts Are Diamonds (1986), was another story, spawning the international Top Ten smash hit single "Midnight Lady." Norman's popularity was greatest in Germany, where he racked up several additional hits during the late '80s, among them "No Arms Can Ever Hold You," "Sarah (You Take My Breath Away)," and "Broken Heroes." While Norman released a new album every couple years from the mid-'80s onward, his popularity waned in the '90s, and not until after the turn of the century did he start hitting the charts again. Once again, his popularity was greatest in Germany, where he had a banner year in 2004 with the compilation The Very Best of Chris Norman, the new album Break Away, and the Top Ten hit single "Amazing." Subsequent albums including One Acoustic Evening (2005), Million Miles (2006), and Close Up (2007) were also well received in Germany while the career-spanning compilation The Hits! From His Smokie and Solo Years (2009) was an international success. ~ Jason Birchmeier