Thursday, 6 March 2008

Sad News - Hurricane blows out ...

Norman Smith aka Hurricane Smith (born February 22, 1923 - died March 3, 2008) was a musician and record producer. He was the engineer on all of the recordings by the Beatles up until 1965 when EMI promoted him from engineer to producer. The last Beatles album he recorded was Rubber Soul, [1] and Smith engineered the sound for approximately 180 Beatles songs in total.[2]

A native of the North London area of Edmonton, Smith was working with the Beatles on 17 June 1965 when he was offered 15,000 pounds by the band's music publishing company, Dick James Music, to buy outright a song he had written.

In early 1967, he began working with a new group, Pink Floyd, producing their first, second, and fourth studio albums The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets, and Ummagumma. [3] During the sessions for the song, "Remember a Day", drummer Nick Mason became agitated that he could not come up with the right drum part for the song. Smith, however, knew what he wanted with the drums, so he played the part himself.

In 1968, Smith produced one of the first rock concept albums, The Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow.

In 1971, Smith, using a recording artist pseudonym of "Hurricane Smith," had a UK hit with "Don't Let It Die". In 1972, he enjoyed a transatlantic hit with "Oh Babe What Would You Say?", which became a U.S. # 1 Cashbox hit.[4] This recording was a demo of a song that he had written for a different artist to record. When he played it for fellow record producer Mickie Most, Most was impressed enough to tell him to release it as it was. Also included on Smith's self-titled debut album was a third hit single, a cover of Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Who Was It?"

Some minor hits followed, like "My Mother Was Her Name" (1972), "Beautiful Day, Beautiful Night" (1973) and "To Make You My Baby" (1974). However, his subsequent attempts at producing successful recordings proved elusive.

He also recorded an instrumental track entitled 'Theme From an Unmade Silent Movie' which the West Midlands-based radio presenter Tony Butler adopted as his theme music.

In 2004, Smith released a new CD, From Me To You (SFMCD030), including new recordings of his biggest self-penned hits, "Don't Let It Die" and "Oh Babe, What Would You Say?", and includes messages in the liner notes from Sir Paul McCartney and members of Pink Floyd.

Norman Smith has written a his memoirs, entitled John Lennon Called Me Normal. It debuted on 16 March 2007 as a limited edition at The Fest for Beatles Fans in Secaucus, New Jersey. There, Smith appeared and sang "Oh Babe". The book contains never-before-published pictures, newly revealed historical facts about the Beatles and Pink Floyd at Abbey Road Studios, as well as details of Smith's life as an RAF Glider Pilot.

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