|The internationally successful British pop group Smokie. With chart-topping hits like Living Next Door to Alice, Lay Back in the Arms of Someone and If You Think You Know How to Love Me, and constant tours of the UK and Europe, Smokie is one of the most popular bands in the world today.
Look at the Guinness Book of Hit Singles and you could be forgiven for thinking Smokie’s success story was a 1970s phenomenon. After all, 11 of their 14 British hits came in that eventful musical decade. However, their massive success story has continued to flourish around the globe including Scandinavia, South Africa, Germany and even China. Smokie are a band which has sold out tours and gained platinum records in four decades – the 70s, 80s, 90s and the present day.
Smokie first got together at school in Yorkshire in the late 60s. After going through various names and styles, they signed with Mickie Most’s then ultra-hot RAK label and found themselves chart bound. Songs like If You Think You Know How To Love Me, Don’t Play Your Rock’n’Roll To Me, It’s Your Life and Oh Carol (all Top 10 entries) became radio staples and gave Smokie their ticket to travel the world.
The sound was a combination of hook-laden songs and Smokie’s distinctive but unashamedly Stateside-influenced soft-rock harmonies, their secret being their vocal blend – a rasping, emotion-drenched lead set against melodic harmonies that produces a unique, bittersweet result.
After accumulating worldwide sales of over 30 million, Smokie made Wild Horses, a 1997 Nashville-recorded album that cost the band a quarter of a million pounds to produce. It gave them a foothold in US country radio, while hits collections continue to find a ready market. That trend continued with Uncovered and Uncovered Too, which were both huge hits throughout Scandinavia – reaching the top 5 in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden – achieving double platinum status.
In 2003, Smokie released the ultimate greatest hits collection. Entitled The Box Set, the collection consisted of ten CD’s spanning the decades from the 1970’s through to today and gained Gold and Platinum awards throughout Scandinavia.
2004 was spent mainly in the studio writing and recording their album On the Wire. Written mainly by Smokie themselves, this chart topping album proved that Smokie are still on top form. With this year’s 2010 release of a live DVD, and a new album entitled Take A Minute charting across Europe, Smokie are working as hard ever.