Spotlight: Chris Norman

Chris Norman

Chris Norman may be a familiar face to many of you. He first found fame as the original lead singer of English rock band Smokie. From 1964-86, Norman toured the world with the soft-rock group but, in 1986, Norman found success as a solo artist with the song ‘Midnight Lady’ which charted all around Europe, nestling at the top of the German charts for six weeks. After an illustrious career, with 20 solo records under his belt, Norman returns with a new album made up of some of the most beloved ‘Rediscovered Love Songs’ such as ‘Always On My Mind’. The record features songs originally made famous by the likes of Roy Orbison and The Temptations and comes out on October 21. The record was recorded and produced out in Nashville, Tennessee with some of the finest musicians in attendance. Norman joins me to talk me through the record and how he selected the songs which have been so perfectly reimagined.  

When did you first know that you wanted to be a musician? 

When I was about 15 years old when we formed our first band. We played at a school dance and I remember thinking I’d like to do this as a profession. 

Who were your main inspirations when you were growing up? 

In music, we used to listen to old time songs when I was a little kid, like from the 30s onwards. So people like Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra were interesting to me. When I was about 5 or 6 years old, rock ‘n’ roll burst onto the scene and I was inspired by Elvis Presley, Lonnie Donegan, Buddy Holly etc. Then later on the 60s music especially the Beatles were my biggest inspiration. 

How did you decide which songs to put on this record? 

I made a list of my favourite love song recordings and then asked friends and family to come up with some ideas of their favourites. Then I decided which were the ones that would suit my voice best and came up with the songs which are now on the album. 

The classic ‘Always On My Mind’ is the lead single, what does that track mean to you? 

I remember hearing Willie Nelson‘s version of this song after I was already familiar with Elvis Presley’s version and just thought that the lyrics really were timeless. 

Tell me about the song ‘Stumblin In’ and it’s placement in Licorice Pizza? 

Suzy Quatro and I recorded the song back in 1978 after we’d been singing together at an after show party at an award ceremony, we decided it might be cool to record something together. I didn’t know it was in licorice pizza until after the film came out so I don’t really know how it got placed in the film. 

When you’re on stage and you’re performing are you completely focused or do you let your mind wander, we call it your mid-gig thoughts? 

Sometimes it can happen that your mind wanders a little bit. But it’s not often for me that it’s happens as I’m concentrating and focused on the playing and  the sound and the audience reaction. 

What’s next for you? 

I’ll be doing some promotion for the new album next and touring in different countries and then back to writing and recording, pretty much the same as I always do. 

‘Rediscovered Love Songs’ will be out on October 21st  

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