Norman Smith aka Hurricane Smith (22 February 1923 – 3 March 2008) was an English musician and record producer. Smith was born in Edmonton, North London and served as a RAF glider pilot during World War II. After an unsuccessful career as a jazz musician, Smith joined EMI as an apprentice sound engineer in 1959.
He was the engineer on all of the EMI studio recordings by The Beatles until 1965 when EMI promoted him from engineer to producer. The last Beatles album he recorded was Rubber Soul, and Smith engineered the sound for almost 100 Beatles songs in total.
While working with The Beatles on 17 June 1965, he was offered £15,000 by the band’s music publishing company, Dick James Music, to buy outright a song he had written.
In 1971, Smith, using a recording artist pseudonym of “Hurricane Smith,” had a UK hit with “Don’t Let It Die”. This recording was a demo of a song that he had written with the hope that John Lennon would record it. When he played it for fellow record producer Mickie Most, Most was impressed enough to tell him to release it as it was. In 1972, he enjoyed a transatlantic hit with “Oh Babe What Would You Say?”, which became a U.S. #1 Cash Box and a Billboard Pop #3 hit. Also included on Smith’s self-titled debut album was a third hit single, a cover version of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Who Was It?”
In short, Hurricane Smith was really a one hit wonder with his song “Oh Babe What Would You Say?” But it was a great quirky song which really reflects the early 1970’s.
Please enjoy Hurrican Smith performing “Oh Babe What Would You Say?” on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.