The name Chris Norman might be familiar to you as he was the lead singer in Smokie. The group had huge success in the 1970s with hits such as Living Next Door To Alice and If You Think You Know How To Love Me and played many concerts in the North East.
Since leaving the band Norman has gone on to have a successful solo career, especially in Germany.
On this new album Norman has covered some of his favourite love songs.I spoke to Chris about his new album. He explained:
“I tried to keep the main essence of the song. Any guitar riffs or melodies we kept in and recorded the songs as if they were new but at the same time keeping the essence of the song, I enjoyed doing it and at the same time it was good fun to do”
The Bee Gees song To Love Somebody is a highlight of the album. Chris said:
“We met them around 1975. We were doing a TV show and after we met them at a restaurant afterwards, they were very complimentary as they liked Smokie’s first hit, If You Think You Know How To Love Me”
I think if Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees heard this new version of To Love Somebody he would equally pleased. The interpretation here though does sound like a Smokie song with the harmonies recalling their big hits.
Need You Now originally recorded by Lady Antebellum still gives a country-tinged vibe though Norman’s raspy vocal is instantly recognisable.
Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love is mostly known these days through the version by Adele, however Norman gives the song a more soulful touch here with his vocal sounding more heartfelt.
Old songs for a new audience
Nights In White Satin does not differ much from the Moody Blues version, though again the harmonies do sound like they have come from an old Smokie track. I get the impression that Norman was a fan of most of the artists who had originally recorded these songs. Some might say that he is going down a safe route recording these songs, whilst it might be true, I think he will introduce many of them to a new audience.
Bruno Mars’s Just The Way You Are is given a slightly rockier treatment which seems to push Norman’s voice before the album concludes with First Time I Ever Saw Your Face as a delicate vocal treats the song with respect.
Hopefully we will see Norman on tour next year playing these songs which will sound well alongside his own ones. Perhaps it is time for you to discover this accomplished album?