The King of Rockery’n’Roll, Gnorman the Gnome, famed for his seventies hit single ‘The Laughing Gnome” with David Bowie has died after a short illness. He was 2 foot 6.
Although the duet with Bowie was originally recorded in the sixties, the record didn’t chart until 1974 when it was re-released at the height of Bowie’s fame. Its success heralded a brief period, with groups such as Mud and Manfred Mann's Earth Band topping the charts, when the record buying public couldn’t get enough of the new "backyard rock”, directly paving the way for the next generation with Adam & the Ants and the Stray Cats.
DJ Paul Gambaccini, Gnorman’s biographer, recalled how Gnorman was respected by his fellow musicians for his wisdom and deep powers of contemplation. ‘Once, after being asked the question ‘Gnorm, do you want a little more bass on that?’ he sat impassively for six days before answering with a look of total indifference. That put the sound engineer in his place’, laughed Gambaccini. ‘It was so typical of his unique character. When they made him, they sure threw away the mould.’
Although no longer recording together by the time Bowie’s seminal album, ‘Low’ was released, the LP’s title was the Thin White Duke’s tribute to Gnorman’s Svengali like influence. Later, cult band, the Stone Roses took their name from Gnorman’s favourite building material, concrete, but they were later forced to change the name after a copyright dispute.
After leaving the music industry, Gnorman took up a position in the Garden Centre business and upon his retirement liked nothing better than to while away the hours by the river with his trusty rod in hand, just as he had done as a young gnome all those years ago.
Gnorman’s last public appearance was two years ago when he was admitted into the Rock Hall of Fame. There was a sticky moment when he was asked to leave his hand prints in wet cement but thanks to a quick thinking attendant, he was saved the ignominy of becoming a permanent exhibit.