In late January 2015, my family attended I attended one of those Deconstructing the Beatles lectures by Scott Freiman, “a series of entertaining multimedia presentations about the composition and production techniques” of the band.
Previously, the Wife and I experienced Looking Through A Glass Onion: Deconstructing The White Album, which also covered the recording of ‘Hey Jude’. Freiman “discusses the studio techniques used by the Beatles during 1968 and share many examples of rare audio and video of the Beatles in action.”
More recently, the three of us saw YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! Deconstructing The Early Beatles, in which Freiman traces “the birth of the Beatles from Liverpool to Hamburg. The journey continues from their initial recording sessions at EMI for ‘Love Me Do’ through their first several groundbreaking singles.”
At some point, Freiman mentioned Norman Smith, the engineer on all of the EMI studio recordings by the Beatles through Rubber Soul. As an avid reader of liner notes, I did recognize the name. After he stopped working with the Beatles, he produced early albums for Pink Floyd.
What I did not know, until Freiman played a clip, was that Norman became a recording artist under the name Hurricane Smith. His big hit, which I remember quite well, was “Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?”, “which became a US No. 1 Cash Box and a Billboard Pop No. 3 hit. It reached No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart in the Northern Hemisphere winter of 1972-73, when he was nearly 50.
I always thought the song had a certain melancholy, both in the vocal and the lyrics:
“Would you greet me or politely turn away
“Would there suddenly be sunshine on a cold and rainy day”
Hurricane Smith died in 2008.