Jim Ed Norman
|Jim Ed Norman|
Jim Ed Norman by Keith Nealy
|Birth name||Edward James Norman|
October 16, 1948|
Fort Myers, Florida, US
|Genres||Pop, Rock, Country, Folk-rock, Pop-rock, Country-rock, Jazz, Gospel, Christian|
|Occupation(s)||Producer, arranger, musician|
|Associated acts||Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, America, Anne Murray, Jackie DeShannon, Hank Williams, Jr., Kenny Rogers, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Jennifer Warnes, Glenn Frey|
Edward James Norman (born October 16, 1948), known as Jim Ed Norman, is an American musician, record producer, arranger and label head. He was one of the principal architects of the distinctive sound of West Coast 1970s pop and rock, after which he moved into production, eventually becoming President of Warner Bros. Records Nashville. Following a retirement period beginning in 2004, he re-emerged in Nashville in 2010.
Norman's career began in earnest when he joined Don Henley in Texas-based group Felicity in 1969, playing keyboards and guitar. Having renamed themselves Shiloh and by now based in Los Angeles, they recorded an eponymous album (1970, Amos Records) which bore early signs of the direction in which 1970s country-rock would soon move en masse. The album was produced by Kenny Rogers but following its release, the group disbanded.
Norman resurfaced a couple of years later with Uncle Jim's Music, a group who combined West Coast and country music leanings. Norman joined the band after the release of their first album, contributing to their second collection for Kapp Records, There's A Song in This.
Music and arrangement career
Norman contributed string arrangements and piano to a series of bestselling albums by the Eagles, released between 1973 and 1980 including Desperado, One of These Nights and Hotel California. During the same period he wrote string and horn arrangements for Linda Ronstadt's album, Don't Cry Now and Hat Trick – America's third studio album (released on Warner Bros). He would continue to accrue arrangement credits throughout his career and well into its next phase in Nashville.
In the mid-seventies, Norman emerged as a producer of note. Among the albums he helmed, and which featured his smooth stylistic qualities, were song-writing legend Jackie Deshannon's You're The Only Dancer (Amherst, 1977) and Quick Touches (Amherst, 1978), the first of which restored Deshannon to the pop charts with the spirited anthem "Don't Let The Flame Burn Out". Other production jobs included albums by New Riders of the Purple Sage, Glenn Frey, The Osmonds, and Jennifer Warnes's first hit, "Right Time of the Night" (US #6).
In addition, Norman's production techniques were enlisted repeatedly for one artist in particular – he oversaw a large chunk of Anne Murray's platinum-selling output from 1977 onwards, including Let's Keep It That Way, New Kind of Feeling, and I'll Always Love You. Notoriously hard-to-please critic, Robert Christgau, credited these albums with Murray's "gradual revitilazation..." thanks to Jim Ed Norman's "...clean, honest, Nashville-quality work".
The albums were platinum-selling successes, spawning multiple hit singles including the US No. 1, Grammy winning (Female Pop Vocal Performance) "You Needed Me" and a string of US AC chart-toppers – "I Just Fall in Love Again", "Shadows in the Moonlight", "Broken Hearted Me", and "Daydream Believer". Norman's fruitful alliance with Murray extended well into the 1980s during which he produced the Gold-selling albums A Little Good News and Heart Over Mind, both of which won CMA awards.
While Norman had been known for providing arrangements and keyboards on albums that typified the lush, Californian sound of the seventies, as a producer his natural inclination towards country music became increasingly prominent through his work with such artists as Kenny Rogers and Hank Williams Jr.
By the outset of the nineties, Nashville was the place to be for a migration of Singer/Songwriters from Los Angeles, and the city gradually became known for music that mixed country with the folk and soul leanings brought by the influx. In 1990 Norman added his expertise to this emergent trend, producing the breakthrough self-titled Warner Bros/Reprise album by singer/songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman, which was very much in the singer/songwriter blend of styles. He resumed duties for Nielsen Chapman's follow-up album You Hold the Key (Warner Reprise, 1993).
Time at Warner Nashville
After joining Warner Bros. Nashville as Head of A&R, Norman was awarded Presidency of the company in 1984. There, he was responsible for nurturing the talents of Randy Travis, Faith Hill, Travis Tritt, and Dwight Yoakam. His new role was also notable for the fact that it did not curtail his direct creative involvement in music, and he continued to amass production credits throughout his time with the label, as well as undertaking arrangements for non-Warners artists. Among those he worked with at the time were Crystal Gayle, Kenny Rogers, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
Diversity at Warner Bros.
Norman was influential at Warner Bros. Nashville, demonstrating an inclination to increase the company's range of genres. To this end, he was involved in the successful expansion of the label's reach to include the WB Gospel and Christian division, and the launches of the Warner Western imprint, featuring Native American and Cowboy artists, and a Hispanic label – Warner Discos. In addition, Norman spearheaded the Progressive division, with artists including Take 6, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Mark O'Connor and American guitar virtuoso Shawn Lane.
Retirement and re-emergence
Norman's retirement was confirmed on June 14, 2004, and shortly thereafter he relocated to Hawaii. Despite ostensibly retiring, he swiftly became involved in music again, organizing a music business program between the University of Hawaii and Belmont University, Nashville. In a short space of time, he was widely noted for his largesse, commitment to and support of local talent, which also benefitted Honolulu Community College, with the creation of the MELE program.
In 2010, however, he broke his retirement and returned to Nashville, initially working on the debut album by Nashville Star contestant Christy McDonald, the first of a series of new production assignments which also included newcomers, Dylan Scott and Tim Dugger. He continues to encourage and support education via his involvement as Senior Fellow at The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy at Vanderbilt. In 2011, reports that he would be working with Rounder recording artist Claire Lynch began to emerge.
In 2014 it was reported that Norman was named the unique title of Chief Creative Officer of Curb Records. Just a year later, in 2015, Jim Ed Norman became the CEO of The Curb Group. The Curb Group is involved in the music industry, philanthropy, and motorsports.
Awards and philanthropy
Jim Ed Norman was surprised with the Bob Kingsley Living Legend Award February 24, 2016 on stage at the Grand Ole Opry House. The award is annually presented to someone who has made a lasting impact on the country music business. Kingsley, a famed radio personality, received the inaugural award in 2014 and Joe Galante, former head of Sony Music Nashville, was honored in 2015. The award was presented during a dinner to benefit The Opry Trust Fund. Following dinner, artists including Big & Rich, Don Henley, Mickey Gilley, Michael Martin Murphy, TG Sheppard, Gary Morris, Crystal Gayle, Mo Pitney, Jeff Hanna, Brice and Kenny Rogers paid tribute to Norman. And, Randy Travis made an unannounced rare public appearance. The Tennessean
Jim Ed Norman was the Founding President of Leadership Music, an organisation that brings together music industry personnel, encouraging community spirit, education, the cross-pollination of ideas, and issue-based interaction.
He was also the Original Fund Raising Chair and past President of the W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School, which provides private music instruction for low income families given by an all-volunteer faculty at 50 cents a lesson
Norman was named Producer of the Year by Cashbox in 1989 for his work with Crystal Gayle among others. In 1990, he was given the Andrew Heiskell Community Service Award – a Time Warner award designed to recognise those who have contributed outstanding degrees of community service.
In acknowledgement of his efforts to link the Nashville community at large with the entertainment industry, Norman was given the Leadership Music Bridge Award (subsequently renamed the Dale Franklin Leadership Music Award) in 1996.
The Group With No Name – Moon Over Brooklyn (Casablanca)
Jennifer Warnes – Jennifer Warnes (Arista)
The New Commander Cody Band – Rock 'n Roll Again (Arista)
Coon Elder – Coon Elder Band (Mercury)
Rains & Harris – Rains & Harris (RCA)
The C.Y. Walkin’ Band – Love The Way It Feels (Parachute)
Janie Fricke – I'll Need Someone To Hold Me When I Cry (CBS)
Albert Hammond – Your World & My World (Columbia)
Charlie Rich – Once a Drifter (Elektra)
Johnny Lee – Bet Your Heart on Me (Asylum)
Anne Murray – Christmas Wishes (Capitol)
Janie Fricke – Greatest Hits (Columbia)
Mickey Gilley – Biggest Hits (Epic)
Johnny Lee – Sounds Like Love (Asylum)
Michael Martin Murphey – The Best of Michael Martin Murphey (Liberty)
Jennifer Warnes – The Best of Jennifer Warnes (Arista)
Teresa Straley – Never Enough (Alfa Records)
Johnny Lee – Greatest Hits (Asylum)
Gary Morris – Faded Blue (Warner Bros.)
The Osmonds – One Way Rider (Warner Bros.)
Bandana – Bandana (Warner Bros.)
The Osmonds – Today (Range Records)
Southern Pacific – Southern Pacific (Warner Bros.)
Southern Pacific – Killbilly Hill (Warner Bros.)
The Forester Sisters – Christmas Card (Warner Bros.)
Gary Morris – Hits (Warner Bros.)
Mac McAnally – Finish Lines (Geffen Records)
Southern Pacific – Zuma (Warner Bros.)
The Forester Sisters – All I Need (Warner Bros.)
The Forester Sisters – Greatest Hits (Warner Bros.)
Pink Cadillac – Original Soundtrack (Warner Bros.)
Southern Pacific – County Line (Warner Bros.)
Mac McAnally – Simple Life (Warner Bros.)
Gary Morris – Greatest Hits, Volume II (Warner Bros.)
Pinkard & Bowden – Live in Front of a Bunch of Dickheads (Warner Bros.)
Kenny Rogers – 20 Great Years (Reprise)
Brenda Lee – A Brenda Lee Christmas (Warner Bros.)
T. G. Sheppard – All-Time Greatest Hits (Warner Bros.)
Southern Pacific – Greatest Hits (Warner Bros.)
Kathie Lee Gifford – It's Christmas Time (Warner Bros.)
Kathie Lee Gifford – Sentimental (Warner Bros.)
Tish Hinojosa – Destiny's Gate (Warner Bros.)
Anne Murray – Best of the Season (Capitol)
Herb Jeffries – Brief History of Herb Jeffries (Warner/Western)
Herb Jeffries – Bronze Buckaroo (Rides Again) (Warner Bros.)
B. J. Thomas – Precious Memories (Warner Bros.)
The Foreman – What’s Left (Reprise)
Tish Hinojosa – Dreaming from the Labyrinth (Warner Bros.)
The Forester Sisters – Greatest Gospel Hits (Warner Bros.)
Crystal Gayle – He Is Beautiful (Southpaw Musical Productions)
Tish Hinojosa – Sonar Del Laberinto (Warner Bros.)
Kenny Rogers – Decade of Hits (Warner Bros.)
Victoria Shaw – Victoria Shaw (Reprise)
B. J. Thomas – I Believe (Warner Bros.)
Michael Martin Murphey – Wildfire 1972–1984 (Raven)
Janie Fricke – Super Hits (Sony)
Beth Nielsen Chapman – Greatest Hits (Reprise)
Kongar-ol Ondar – Back Tuva Future (Warner Bros.)
Hank Williams, Jr. – The Complete Hank Williams Jr (Curb)
Damita – Damita (Warner Bros.)
Jackie DeShannon – Best of 1958 – 1980: Come And Get Me (Raven)
America – The Definitive America (Rhino/WEA)
Michael Martin Murphey – Ultimate Collection (Hip-O)
Jeff Foxworthy – The Best of Jeff Foxworthy: Double Wide, Single Minded (Rhino)
Hank Williams, Jr. – That's How They Do It in Dixie: The Essential Collection (Asylum/Curb Records)
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- Gores To Receive Award AllBusiness