Jimmy Norman  - The Early Years


Born August 12, 1937 in Nashville, Tennessee, Norman relocated to California as a teenager, beginning his career as a touring musician throughout the Midwest and southern regions of the United States before settling in New York. There, he wrote music for Broadway and performed.In 1962, Norman released his only charting single, "I Don't Love You No More (I Don't Care About You)", which reached #21 on the Billboard "Black Singles" chart and #47 on the "Pop Singles" chart.

In 1964, singer Irma Thomas went into the studio to record the single "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)". It was decided that the b-side, a cover of Kai Winding's "Time Is on My Side", needed additional lyrics, since the only words in the original composition were "Time is on my side" and "You'll come runnin' back." Norman was contacted and composed the rest of the lyrics to the tune. The Rolling Stones also recorded the song with Norman's lyrics and released it as a single, which became the band's first hit to break the top ten.

In 1966, Norman recorded several tracks with Jimi Hendrix on session at Abtone Studio in New York: "You're Only Hurting Yourself", "Little Groovemaker" and "On You Girlie It Looks so Good".[8][9] The second of these songs was retooled under the title "Groove Maker" and has been included on a number of Hendrix releases. According to Black Gold: The Lost Archives of Jimi Hendrix, Norman—not Lonnie Youngblood as popularly supposed—was the primary performer besides Hendrix on this song. Jimi Hendrix - from the Benjamin Franklin Studios 3rd Edition Part 1: The Complete Guide to the Recorded Work of Jimi Hendrix posits Younglood on saxophone, but gives writing credit to Norman. Jimi Hendrix: Musician documents the confusion surrounding this and other Hendrix sessions of the time, including the difficulty in tracking contributions when they also rose from later manipulation of the material as Hendrix became famous. "You're Only Hurting Yourself" and "Little Groovemaker" were first released under Norman's name as Samar records single 112 in 1966 and never again released in original form. "On You Girlie It Looks so Good" remains unreleased.

In 1968, Norman was visited by a young Bob Marley in his Bronx apartment. Norman had at that time written a number of songs for Johnny Nash, whose record label had just signed Marley, and Marley wanted to learn more about rhythm and blues.[ Along with Al Pyfrom, Norman's co-writer, and Marley's wife Rita, the pair spent several days in a jam session that ultimately resulted in a 24-minute tape of Marley performing several of his own and Norman-Pyfrom's compositions. According to Reggae archivist Roger Steffens, the tape—which was lost among Norman's possessions for decades—is rare for Marley in that it was influenced by pop music rather than reggae, highlighting a point in Marley's career when he was still trying to find his path.Some of the songs from this early jam session were released on the Marley album Chances Are

Following these sessions, Norman went to Kingston, Jamaica and spent more than half a year there, working in the studio with Marley and composing songs. A number of his compositions were recorded by Marley, Peter Tosh, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires and Neville Willoughby. Some of the tapes recorded by Norman during his sessions with Marley have been commercially released as part of the Marley compilation album Soul Almighty.