Norman "Hurricane" Smith (February 22, 1923 - March 3, 2008) was an English musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and recording engineer with a distinctive raspy singing voice. He became best known in the U.S. for his 1972 smash hit, "Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?," a sweet, old-timey-styled song with a ragtime feel written by his wife, Eileen Sylvia Smith.
Born Norman Smith in Edmonton, Middlesex, he served as a glider pilot during World War II. He began his career in music as a jazz percussionist and pianist before joining EMI in 1959. While at EMI, he became The Beatles' first recording engineer and worked with famed producer George Martin on all of the band's earliest albums through "Rubber Soul" (1965). He then produced for Pink Floyd and The Pretty Things before launching a singing career in 1971 under the Hurricane Smith moniker. He had a #2 hit on the U.K. charts with "Don't Let It Die," a song he wrote and produced which earned him the 1971 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
Hurricane Smith made his U.S. debut in late 1972 with "Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?," which topped the Cash Box charts and became a Billboard #3 hit the following year, and also made the Top 5 in the U.K. and Canada. He also had another hit on both sides of the pond with a cover of Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Who Was It?" (1973).
- Norman "Hurricane" Smith discusses his work with The Beatles and other topics in an interview with Robert Silverstein for mwe3.com (July 2, 2007).
- The New York Times remembers Norman Smith.
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