Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
UK pop group of '70s, first called Kindness, then Smokey; changed spelling to avoid confusion with Smokey Robinson: Chris Norman, vocals, guitar, keyboards; Alan Silson, lead guitar; Peter Spencer, drums, sax; Terry Uttley, bass. Signed to UK bubblegum label Rak, affected notions of progressive Eagles, CSN&Y pop with Pass It Around '75 (title track banned by BBC as a drug reference), soon emerged as singles act. "If You Think You Know How To Love Me', "Don't Play Your Rock'n'Roll To Me' (both top 10 '75) revealed class popsters in vein of early '70s harmony hitmakers New World (who were discredited after allegations of vote-rigging on a TV talent show). Ten more top 40 hits to '80 incl. update of New World's "Living Next Door To Alice'; all showcased growling, gravelly vocals of Norman, whose '78 duet with Susie Quatro "Stumblin' In' was no. 4 USA '79 (Smokie as a group hit in USA only with "Alice' at no. 25). On albums the group moved away from the songs of producers Chinn & Chapman which had brought them hits; by The Montreux Album '78, their last collaboration, they were taking much more credit but found success waning, as did Mud, Sweet, other Chinnichap acts who broke away. It was too late to return to the first LP's attempt at credibility; they split early '80s.