I only just found out that about a month ago Norman “Hurricane” Smith died. He’s mainly known as being a “one-hit wonder” for his hit song “Oh Babe, What Would You Say?“, which I’ve heard some say is an irritating song. Not me. It certainly was a nice change of pace for the charts back in 1973. He had a previous hit song in the UK called “Don’t Let It Die” that he originally wrote for John Lennon, but producer Mickie Most convinced Smith to release it himself. No doubt about it, he had a unique voice–cracked, weathered but earnest reminding me of Tom Waits.
Anyway, he’s much more important than you realize, for Hurricane Smith was also an engineer responsible for helping get the sound right for many of The Beatles’ great albums including Revolver and some of Pink Floyd’s early LPs as well.
I couldn’t find footage of him performing his famous hit, however, here he is performing the Gilbert O’Sullivan-penned tune “Who Was It?” With the flashy 70’s garb and psychedelic sets, can you believe he was almost 50 years old when he was performing this?