Norman Smith had a long and varied career which spanned over 50 years until his death in March 2008. Originally a glider pilot in the R.A.F. who served in World War II, a failed jazz career led to him taking up a post as a trainee sound engineer at E.M.I. in 1959.
Famously, he was an engineer on all The Beatles studio albums up until 1965’s “Rubber Soul”. John Lennon would nickname him “Normal” due to his calm, unflappable manner. He would then go on to produce Pink Floyd’s first, second and fourth studio albums.
In 1971 he embarked on a solo song writing career, and inadvertently scored a number two U.K. hit with “Don’t Let It Die”. Written and recorded as a demo that he hoped would be covered by John Lennon, the song was picked up by famed 70s producer Mickie Most who encouraged Smith to release the song. Under the pseudonym Hurricane Smith the song reached number 2 in the U.K singles chart.
Here’s the song…
Transatlantic success would come the following year with a Billboard number 3 hit “Oh Babe, What Would You Say?”
In 2004, at the age of 80, he released a collection of newly recorded versions of songs from his back catalogue. “From Me To You” had liner notes penned by Paul McCartney and various members of Pink Floyd.