Forgotten 45: "Living Next Door to Alice"
Smokie, with songs written and produced by British bubblegum masters Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, scored six Top 10 hits in Britain between 1975 and 1977. Three of those made the American charts, but only "Alice" hit the Top 40. It wasn't an across-the-board hit in America, but it stayed on the Hot 100 from December 1976 through April 1977, so it was big in some places around the country but not in others.
Like a lot of other semi-popular groups of their era, Smokie has had a long afterlife. The group broke up in the late 70s (lead singer Chris Norman would make the American Top 10 in 1979, paired with Suzi Quatro on "Stumblin' In") reformed in the late 80s, and continues to play today. "Alice" even made it back to the British Top 10 in 1995, in a new version with a singer named Chubby Brown, retitled "Who the F**k is Alice?"
There's no explaining British pop taste, really.
"Living Next Door to Alice" is a Forgotten 45 in the sense that you don't hear it on the radio anymore, but it's definitely not forgettable if you do actually hear it. I can't think of another record that stays in my head like this one does. It was on the car tape I was listening to a couple of hours ago, and I expect to be humming the chorus for days:
I don't know why she's leavin' or where she's gonna goIf you want to risk it, click the Smokie Jukebox for a clip.
I guess she's got her reasons but I just don't wanna know
Cuz for 24 years I've been living next door to Alice
(RSO 860, chart peak: #25, February 26, 1977)