Smokie is an English glam rock and pop rock band, formed by Ron Kelly and Alan Silson in 1965, hailing from Bedford, Yorkshire, UK.
Originally formed in 1965 of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chris Norman, bassist Terry Uttley, lead guitarist Alan Silson and drummer Ron Kelly, the band had previously used the monikers The Yen, The Sphynx, Essence, and the Elizabethans. By 1975, after Kelly had departed and been replaced by Pete Spencer and a difficult few years earning breaks and gaining exposure, the band, originally spelled ‘Smokey’, released their debut album “Pass It Around”. The album failed to attract much attention, unlike their sophomore “Changing All the Time”, which spawned the charting hits “If You Think You Know How to Love Me” and “Don’t Play Your Rock ’n’ Roll to Me”. The album’s acoustic guitar and string arrangements became Smokey’s signature sound, however the band changed their name to 'Smokie' after the release following pressure from Smokey Robinson.
Smokie’s subsequent album “Midnight Café”, like its predecessor, featured the songwriting talents of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, and produced the popular singles “Something’s Been Making Me Blue”, “Wild Wild Angels” and “I’ll Meet You At Midnight”, with notable appeal from younger audiences. With the cover of New World’s “Living Next Door to Alice” in 1976 and the subsequent hit “Lay Back in the Arms of Someone”, Smokie were catapulted to international and superstar-like success.
The release of the band’s two subsequent albums “Bright Lights & Back Alleys” in 1977 and “The Montreux Album” in 1978, cemented this chart success, however was unable to be imitated on any of their later releases. “The Other Side of the Road” was released in 1979, spawning the hits “Do to Me” and “Babe It’s Up to You”, and “Solid Ground” in 1981. The latter however marked the departure of songwriting duo Nicky Chinn and Mark Chapman, and without, Smokie were unable to craft a successful charting album.
With Norman replaced by Alan Barton, previously of Black Lace, Smokie returned in 1986 and later released the albums “All Fired Up” (1988), “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (1989), “Whose Are These Boots?” (1990), “Chasing Shadows” (1992) and “Celebration” (1994), none of which drew any particular response. The band's move in to the ‘90s marked another change of lead singer with Barton being replaced by Mike Craft who recorded vocals on all of the band’s subsequent albums.
Sunday 23 October
Saw Smokie last night in Vicar Street, Dublin & OMG what a gig! They were fantastic and true entertainers! A magic night full of nostalgia, fun and love. Thanks for being the people you are and well done! X