Smokie is an English band from Yorkshire formed in 1965. Originally the band was made up of Ron Kelly (drums), Alan Silson (guitar and vocals), Chris Norman (lead vocals/guitar), and Terry Uttley (bass and vocals). The band began touring under the name “Essence” but soon broke up. In 1968, with a new manager, a new name, and new members, the band started to record. “Light of Love” and “Lindy Lou” were recorded in 1970.
Still, the fame didn’t come. The band was able to get an audition with Peter Noone, an English singer, and became his permanent band. Although this didn’t turn out to be their big break they were able to form a relationship with Bill Hurley who offered to manage the band. He introduced the band to talented composers who gave the band a chance. At this time the members decided to change the band`s name to Smokey, although when soul singer Smokey Robinson warned the band that he would sue them due to the similarity to his own name, the name was modified to Smokie.
Their debut album was called “Pass It Around” but it didn’t gain too much attention. Their second album “Changing All the Time” was received much better with singles like “If You Think You Know How to Love Me” and “Don`t Play Your Rock’n’Roll” doing very well with the listeners. Songs like “Wild Wild Angels”, “I`ll Meet You At Midnight”, and one of the most well-known Smokie song “Living Next Door to Alice” from their third album “Midnight Café” did relatively well in European music charts. “Living Next Door to Alice” even managed to reach the 25th spot of The Billboard Hot 100 in 1977.
Smokie`s success continued with “Stumblin’ In,” a duet between Chris Norman and Suzi Quatro, as well as “Mexican Girl”. In 1986 lead vocalist Chris Normal decided to leave the band and focus on his solo projects. He was replaced by Alan Silson who late left the band as well. He was replaced by Mick McConnell. The band continued releasing albums, mainly in Europe, “Take a Minute” being their latest one.
Even with multiple name changes and members leaving to pursue other projects, Smokie still has a strong fan following and their songs still manage to capture the listeners ears and hearts.