Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday Tuneage
Chris Norman and Suzi Quatro - "Stumblin' In"

You knew Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, bored with writing all those rah-rah teenybopper songs for Suzi Quatro, The Sweet, and assorted never-broke-in-the-US glam rockers like Mud and Smokie of course had a crossover country shuffle up their sleeves, just waiting for that moment when it could make a major dent on the charts. Pair Quatro - known mostly to America from post-shark Happy Days episodes but with no US hits to her name - with the vaguely Rod Stewartish-sounding (with Rod's brand near its all-time post-sellout high) Chris Norman and BOOM! The charming "Stumblin' In" went to Number Four on the US Top 40 in 1979. Not that you'll hear it on the condensed oldies playlist that KOOL 108 now uses, but that's what SiriusXM's Seventies on 7 channel is for.

So we can spend the rest of the day gazing at Quatro in her leather and contemplating that she had an album titled Rock Hard, but one nagging question: Who the hell is this Chris Norman? A few stabs at his identity:

- He's Greg Norman's brother.
- He's AWA wrestler Norman Christopher.
- He's a Chapman/Chinn creation, who they later renamed "Nick Gilder." (Not "Bryan Adams" as the urban legend claims.)
- He was one of those guys in Mott the Hoople that wasn't Ian Hunter and that didn't later join Bad Company.
- He's the guy who played Eddie Haskell on Leave It To Beaver.
- He's the cousin of Paul Norman, who once yelled "jump!" at a guy leaning out of a fourth-floor window on the University of North Dakota campus in the fall of 1983. I cracked up, so any time we saw each on campus we would yell "jump!" at each other. A few months later, Van Halen released "Jump" as their leadoff single from 1984. Back in school for the second semester, first time I saw Norman, he grabbed me, grinned, and asked: "Heard that Van Halen song??"
- He's that guy who turned down "Because The Night" so Bruce Springsteen turned and offered it to Patti Smith.
- "Chris Norman" is a nickname for Suzi Quatro's bangs.

And more important question regarding Chris Norman: Should we ever trust a man with two first names?