OK so he wasn’t a Beatle, but he might as well have been seeing as he was responsible for the sound engineering of every Beatle track till mid 1965 when he was promoted from sound engineer to producer. He kinda got lost with all the hype and history surrounding producer George Martin and manager Brian Epstein, but without question Smith was a very important part of that equation and largely responsible for the final outcome of the recordings.
Smith got the handle ‘ Hurricane ‘ from Lennon, who called him hurricane because he was so slow…methodical. History buffs say that Lennon called him ‘ Normal ‘ but that makes no sense at all, he never referred to himself as ‘ Normal ‘ and no one else did either, but he did use ‘ Hurricane ‘ and everyone else did too. So how the nickname ‘ Normal ‘ came about is anyone’s guess. If Lennon ever did refer to Smith as ‘ Normal ‘ it definitely was not a nickname that stuck. His actual name was Norman. Smith went on to have 2 UK hits of his own, one of which became a one hit wonder in the US ( Oh, Babe, what would you say? ), which he sang on Johnny Carson. In 1967 he started working with the new group Pink Floyd and produced 3 of their albums ( their 1st, 2nd, and 4th respectively ).
Being the sound engineer for almost 100 of the Beatle’s early tracks ( pre 1966 ) made him instrumental in the success of the Beatle’s.
( image courtesy of alterpast.wordpress.com )