Silver Convention

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Silver Convention
Also known as Silver Bird Convention
Silver Bird
Origin Munich, Germany
Genres Rhythm and blues, Euro disco
Years active 1974–1979
Labels Jupiter, Durium, Midland International
Past members Linda G. Thompson
Penny McLean
Jackie Carter
Ramona Wulf
Zenda Jacks
Rhonda Heath

Silver Convention was a West German Euro disco recording act of the 1970s. The group was originally named Silver Bird Convention or Silver Bird.

Career[edit]

The group was initiated in Munich by producers and songwriters Sylvester Levay and Michael Kunze. The group was named after Levay, "Silver" being Levay's nickname. Kunze had in the late 1960s been a pop lyricist who wrote protest songs in German; when these tunes went out of style, he began producing pop records and commercials.[1] Levay had developed a taste for American music while growing up in Yugoslavia, eventually becoming a music arranger and lyricist.[2]

Using female session vocalists Linda G. Thompson, Penny McLean, & Jackie Carter for their first recordings, they scored a successful single in the United Kingdom in 1975 with the song "Save Me", which peaked at #30.[3] They were only a studio group, and realized then that they would need to find professional entertainers for presentation to the public.

As Silver Convention they scored two major U.S. and Canadian hit singles. "Fly, Robin, Fly," of which the complete lyrics consisted of only six different words (Fly, Robin, Up, To, The, Sky), maintained three weeks at #1 in late November and early December 1975, and won the group a Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in December 1975.[4] Initially the song was titled "Run, Rabbit, Run", changed by the writers moments before the recording took place. Their next success "Get Up And Boogie", which also consisted of only six different words (Get, Up, And, Boogie, That's, Right), hit #1 in Canada on June 15, 1976,[5] had 3 weeks at #2 in the U.S in June 1976 and also peaked at #7 in the UK, in May 1976. Their next release, "No No Joe," only scored #60 in September 1976. The further singles released by the trio attempted to duplicate the sound that had made them successful briefly, but they were only minor successes. At this time, Linda G. Thompson left the group and was replaced by New Yorker Rhonda Heath, who was chosen over other hopefuls at an open casting call to become the newest singer for the group.[6]

Michael Kunze wrote the lyrics on the first two albums under the pseudonym Stephan Prager. During this time the three singers released their own solo work. McLean and Thompson achieved hit singles with "Lady Bump" and "1, 2, 3, 4 ... Fire!", and "Ooh What a Night" respectively. Wulf's solo effort was only a moderate success.

Silver Convention represented Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest 1977 with "Telegram", finishing eighth. The entry had only English lyrics (with considerably more words than their past hits), but was allowed to enter in spite of the language rule being reintroduced this year, because the song was chosen to represent Germany before the reintroduction was announced. In 1994, Rhonda Heath returned to Eurovision, providing backing vocals and keyboards for the German entry "Wir Geben 'Ne Party" performed in German by Mekado. This entry did better than Silver Convention's effort, finishing third out of the 25 entries in Dublin.

With a new producer (John Davis), and a revised line-up of singers (Suzie McClosky aka Zenda Jacks, Rhonda Heath and Ramona Wulf), Silver Convention was successful again during 1978 with the album Love in a Sleeper. The 12" single release from the LP was "Spend the Night With Me" backed with "Mission To Venus".

Levay also worked with Giorgio Moroder, and Kunze began work with Jim Steinman. The solo careers of the three singers ended quickly and they left the music industry, since interest in the disco scene was declining during this period. Levay and Kunze later collaborated on the successful Vienna productions of the musicals Elisabeth, Mozart! and Rebecca.

Cover versions[edit]

American jazz flautist Herbie Mann recorded a cover version of "Fly, Robin, Fly" for his 1976 album, Bird in a Silver Cage, which was co-produced and arranged by Sylvester Levay.[7] The Australian/British string quartet Bond also recorded a version of "Fly, Robin, Fly" for their 2004 album, Classified. In 2003, German lifestyle company Apartment20 produced a version of "Fly, Robin, Fly," which featured Ramona Wulf on lead vocals and in the video for the song.

Silver Convention's hit, "Get Up and Boogie," was re-tooled for a 2009 commercial for the "Snuggie" (sleeved blanket).

"Thank You, Mr. DJ", a B-side of the "No, No, Joe" single was sampled by the Australian alternative rock band Regurgitator for the track "The Song Formally Known As" from their second album, Unit.[8]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Save Me" (1975) b/w "Save Me (Special Disco Mix)" (UK) b/w "Save Me Again" (NL)
  • "(There's) Always Another Girl" (1975) b/w "I Like It" (NL) b/w "Land of Make Believe" (UK, 1977)
  • "Fly, Robin, Fly" (1975) b/w "I Like It" (UK) b/w "Tiger Baby" (NL)
  • "Get Up and Boogie" (1976) b/w "Son of a Gun" (UK, NL)
  • "Tiger Baby" (1976) b/w "No, No, Joe" (UK, double A-side)
  • "No, No, Joe" (1976) b/w "Thank You, Mr. D.J." (NL)
  • "Everybody's Talking 'Bout Love" (1976) b/w "Thank You, Mr. D.J." (UK)
  • "Dancing in the Aisles (Take Me Higher)" (1976) b/w "Thank You, Mr. D.J." (USA)
  • "Fancy Party" (1977) b/w "Everybody's Talking 'Bout Love" (NL)
  • "Telegram" (1977) b/w "Midnight Lady" (UK, NL)
  • "The Boys from Liverpool" (1977) b/w "Blame it on the Music" (UK)
  • "Summernights" (1977) b/w "Save Me '77" (FR)
  • "Spend the Night with Me" (1978) b/w "Mission to Venus" (UK)
  • "Café au Lait" (1979) b/w "Rollermania" (NL)

Albums[edit]

  • Save Me (1975)
  • Get Up and Boogie (alternate title for Silver Convention in some territories) (1976)
  • Silver Convention (alternate title for Get Up and Boogie in some territories) (1976)
  • Madhouse (1976)
  • Summernights (alternate title for Golden Girls in some territories) (1977)
  • Golden Girls (alternate title for Summernights in some territories) (1977)
  • Greatest Hits (UK title) (1977)
  • The Best of Silver Convention (U.S. title; 2-LP set) (1978)
  • Love in a Sleeper (1978)
  • The Best of Silver Convention: Get Up and Boogie (1994)
  • Get Up and Boogie with Silver Convention: Their Greatest Hits (2000)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vickers, Tom. "Singles: Surprising Takeoff of 'Fly, Robin, Fly.'" Rolling Stone 203 (January 1, 1976), p. 18.
  2. ^ Vickers, Rolling Stone03.
  3. ^ "UK Top 40 Chart Archive, British Singles & Album Charts". everyHit.com. 2000-03-16. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  4. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 364. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  5. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  6. ^ "Albums by Rhonda Heath". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  7. ^ Mann, Herbie. Bird in a Silver Cage. iTunes album review. Accessed February 26, 2010.
  8. ^ "the AU Interview: Quan Yeomans of Regurgitator (Melbourne / Brisbane)". the AU review. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Les Humphries Singers
with Sing Sang Song
Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest
1977
Succeeded by
Ireen Sheer
with Feuer