Norman Nardini

Norman Nardini has been one of Pittsburgh’s great performers over the last half century and has dubbed himself both the “Uncrowned King” and the “Manful! Handful!”… as “the high priest from the church of rock ‘n roll”. Norm began playing according as a boy, but then took up the organ in 1966 as he moved from the Yardleys to the Igniters to Friends and eventually landed a gig playing keyboards and guitar for Little Anthony and the Imperials and others around his native Pittsburgh. In 1974, Nardini joined Frank Czuri (vocals), Bubs McKeg (guitar) and Robbie Johns (guitar) to form the band Diamond Reo. They achieved national success with a top 40 hit “Ain’t That Peculiar” written by Marvin Gaye. The hit single opened doors and they found themselves opening for the likes of KISS, Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Frank Zappa, Kansas and more. When Diamond Reo disbanded in 1978, Norm started Norman Nardini & The Tigers, for which he became the lead singer and guitarist and primary songwriter. The Tigers became a regional favorite, packing clubs in the area as well as along the Jersey Shore. It was during his Tiger days that Norm met a young talent, Jon Bon Jovi, and the two became fast friends. (Norm played at Bon Jovi’s wedding.) Norm and the Tiger released Eat’n Alive on Buddha Record in 1981 to respectable reception. In 1982, Norm signed with CBS Records releasing Norm Nardini & The Tigers in 1985 with Bon Jovi providing some background vocals on the album. But in 1991, This Ole Train hit the market and Norm and the Tigers had a hit – in Germany. “Smoke Two Joints” and “Please Don’t Talk About Me” landed at #s 2 and 5 in Germany and the band was off to Europe. They toured Germany, Austria and Switzerland opening for the Blues Brothers. Norm released a handful of records and single son various labels like Moondog Records in the 1990s and he continues to play in the Pittsburgh area. He also released Breakdown in Paradise in 2009 and Bona Fide in 2011.