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Silver Apples

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Silver Apples
Simeon Coxe of Silver Apples performing in Barcelona in 2008
Background information
OriginNew York City, United States
Years active1967–1970, 1996–1999, 2006–2016
Past membersSimeon
Danny Taylor
Xian Hawkins
Michael Lerner
Ad for The Silver Apples album, 1968

Silver Apples were an American electronic rock group[2] from New York, active between 1967 and 1970, before reforming in the mid-1990s. It was composed of Simeon (born Simeon Oliver Coxe III,[4] June 4, 1938 – September 8, 2020),[5] who performed on a primitive synthesizer of his own devising; and, until his death in 2005, drummer Danny Taylor. The duo were among the first to employ electronic music techniques outside of academia, applying them to 1960s rock and pop styles.[6]

As part of New York's underground music scene, the band released two albums—Silver Apples (1968) and Contact (1969)—to poor sales.[7] They began recording a third album before a lawsuit by Pan Am, owing to the use of their logo in the artwork of Contact, forced the end of the group and its label Kapp in 1970.[7] In the 1990s, German bootleg recordings of the band's albums raised their profile, and Simeon reformed the group with other musicians and released new music.[7] In 1998, he reconnected with Taylor, and the two completed their original third LP The Garden (1998).[7] After Taylor's death, Simeon continued releasing Silver Apples projects using samples of Taylor's drumming.[2]


The 1960s[edit]

The group formed out of a traditional rock band called The Overland Stage Electric Band, working regularly in the East Village. Simeon was the singer, but began to incorporate a 1940s vintage audio oscillator into the show, which alienated the other band members to the extent that the group was eventually reduced to the duo of Simeon and Taylor, at which point they renamed themselves The Silver Apples, after the William Butler Yeats poem "The Song of Wandering Aengus".[8] The arsenal of oscillators eventually grew (according to their first LP liner notes) to include "nine audio oscillators piled on top of each other and eighty-six manual controls to control lead, rhythm and bass pulses with hands, feet and elbows". Simeon devised a system of telegraph keys and pedals to control tonality and chord changes, and reportedly never learned to play traditional piano-styled keyboards or synthesizers.

They were signed to Kapp Records and released their first record, Silver Apples, in 1968, and from that released a single, "Oscillations", a song that Simeon has cited as the first song he had written. On the debut album, seven of the nine songs had lyrics by Stanley Warren (not Warren Stanley as incorrectly credited on the re-release of the 1997 MCA CD), including the group's signature song "Oscillations". Warren, who subsequently became a published poet, met Simeon and Taylor at the Fifth Annual Avant Garde Arts Festival in 1967 in New York City, organized by Charlotte Moorman, who was famous as the "topless cellist".[9] Soon after, Simeon became acquainted with Warren's early work, and set a poem, "MJ", to music as "Seagreen Serenades".[citation needed] Inspired by Simeon's interest, in the next few months Warren wrote the remaining six songs used on the Silver Apples album. Another song, "Gypsy Love", was used on the Silver Apples' second album, Contact. In latter-day performances, Simeon still played some of his and Warren's works from the early days of Silver Apples.[7]

The following year, they released their second LP, Contact, and toured the United States. During the time of the recording of their second album, they shared a studio room with Jimi Hendrix.[2] Both of them decided to jam together and recorded their version of the Star Spangled Banner for their special Fourth of July shows.[2] The band had struck a deal with the airline Pan Am to shoot the front photo of the album's artwork in an airliner cockpit, in exchange for including the Pan Am logo. However, the backside of the record featured a photograph of a plane crash. This led to a lawsuit and the record was pulled from stores.[7] A third album was recorded in 1970, but Kapp was folded into MCA Records, leaving the album unreleased, and the group defunct.[7] Simeon elaborates on the other reasons for Silver Apples disbanding and the record label's demise online.[10]

1990s revival[edit]

In 1994, the German label TRC released a bootleg CD of both records. In 1996 the British label Enraptured released a tribute album called "Electronic Evocations - A Tribute To The Silver Apples", featuring bands like Windy & Carl, Flowchart, The Third Eye Foundation, Alpha Stone, Amp, among others. The interest provoked by this release prompted Simeon to reform the Silver Apples in 1996. The first two records were re-released as official records from the master tapes, and Simeon began a tour of the United States with a new Silver Apples band featuring Xian Hawkins (alias Sybarite) and Michael Lerner. In the ensuing years the Silver Apples released two albums of new material featuring this line-up: Decatur and Beacon.[7] Eventually, "after much searching", Danny Taylor was located, and a handful of reunion shows of the original lineup were performed.[11] Taylor also had the tape of the unreleased third record, The Garden, in a box in his attic, and the record was finally released in 1998, featuring completed tracks from the original sessions plus tracks of Taylor's drumming from the time mixed with Simeon's new additions. On July 5, 1998, Silver Apples played with Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon from Blur at the Meltdown Festival at the London Royal Festival Hall.[12]

In 1998 their tour van was forced off the road by an unknown driver, breaking Simeon's neck. Plans for new recordings and further touring by the reunited duo were put on hold. As of 2004, Simeon was much recovered, but he was unable to play his instrument in the way he used to. [citation needed]

Following the accident, Silver Apples' activity diminished. Simeon spent his time making new music, recuperating, and boating on the Gulf of Mexico.[citation needed] Xian Hawkins released four albums of solo material under the name Sybarite. Danny Taylor died on March 10, 2005, in Kingston, New York.

2000s and 2010s concerts and festivals[edit]

Silver Apples performing in Leeds in 2016

In September 2007 Simeon went on tour for the first time in years, performing as a solo version of the Silver Apples. Silver Apples / Simeon performed at, among others, All Tomorrow's Parties (Minehead, UK, December 2007); Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Ireland (September 2008); All Tomorrow's Parties, Australia (January 2009), The Unit, Tokyo, (July 2009); Oscillations Music + Arts Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland (September 2009); Austin Psych Fest 3, TX (April 2010); Albuquerque Experimental, Albuquerque, NM (October 2010), Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (May 2011), London, England iTunes Festival (July 2011), RecBeat festival, in Recife, Brazil (February 2012) and Incubate, Netherlands (September, 2012), Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, Asheville, NC (October, 2013), Audioscope 14 in Oxford, UK (November 2014). Stereo Glasgow, UK (November 2014)[citation needed]

In October 2011, Simeon performed as Silver-Qluster, a collaboration with Cluster frontman Hans-Joachim Roedelius, in ATP I'll Be Your Mirror Festival in Asbury Park, NJ. On the same festival the following day, Simeon was invited onstage by Portishead to perform "We Carry On", Portishead's homage to Silver Apples.[citation needed]

Simeon toured the UK, Europe and the US in mid to late 2016.[13] 2016 also marked the release of the first new Silver Apples studio album, Clinging To A Dream, in 19 years.[14]

Simeon died on September 8, 2020, at the age of 82.[15]

Legacy and influence[edit]

Silver Apples are regarded as one of the pioneers of electronic music, electronica, synth-pop,[16] electro and electronic rock for their experimentation with electronic music in a rock/pop context and innovative work in melding psychedelic rock with home-made oscillators and synthesizers.[17][18][19][20][21]

The band's pulsing rhythms and electronic melodies would predate several contemporary artists, including Wendy Carlos, Kraftwerk,[22] White Noise and Can,[2] as well as later artists including Suicide, Stereolab, and Laika.[7] AllMusic's Jason Ankeny called them "a surreal, almost unprecedented duo".

Alan Vega from the Synth-punk duo Suicide listed Silver Apples as one of the inspirations to form his group.[23][24]

Sean Lennon has also informed Simeon that John Lennon was a fan of his music[2] and recommended them by saying, "Watch out for a band called Silver Apples, they are the next thing."[25]

Portishead's Geoff Barrow stated that "for people like us, they are the perfect band [...] They should definitely be up there with the pioneers of electronic music."[2]

Other groups and artists that were influenced by Silver Apples include Stereolab,[2] Spiritualized,[2] Beck,[17] Beastie Boys[17] and Moby.[26]

The song "Lovefingers" was used in the 2024 film Civil War from A24 Films.[27]


Studio albums

Extended plays

  • Gremlins (2008, Gifted Children Records)

Compilation albums

  • Silver Apples (1997, MCA)
  • Selections from the Early Sessions (2008, ChickenCoop Recordings)
  • I Said No Doctors! (2017, Dymaxion Groove)


  • "Oscillations"/"Whirly-Bird" (1968, KAPP Records, 7")
  • "You & I"/"Confusion" (1969, KAPP Records, 7")
  • "Fractal Flow"/"Lovefingers" (1996, Enraptured 45's, 7")
  • "Fractal Flow"/"Lovefingers" (1997, Whirlybird Records, CD)
  • "A Lake of Teardrops" (1998, Space Age Recordings, CD) (with Spectrum)
  • "I Don't Know" (2007, Gifted Children Records, 7") (split single with One Cut Kill)


  1. ^ Smith, Ethan (May 28, 1998). "Still Beating". NY Mag. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Wray, Daniel Dylan. "The great 60s electro-pop plane crash: how pioneers Silver Apples fell out of the sky". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  3. ^ Brend, Mark (2012). The Sound of Tomorrow: How Electronic Music Was Smuggled into the Mainstream. Bloomsbury. p. 186. ISBN 9781623561536. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  4. ^ Statton, Charles (2008). As a Tree Grows: A Genealogy of the Cox and Allied Families of Northwestern North Carolina. iUniverse. ISBN 9781440101908. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  5. ^ Simeon Coxe III. Legacy.com. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  6. ^ Cuzner, Russell. "Brothers Of Invention: Silver Apples & Graham Sutton In Conversation". The Quietus. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Ankeny, Jason. "Silver Apples | Biography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 February 2015. Eclectic NYC-based 1960s minimalist pop duo whose electronic experimentation influenced underground bands for decades [...] the Silver Apples remain one of pop music's true enigmas [...] electronically generated melodies years before similar ideas were adopted in the work of acolytes
  8. ^ "Silver Apples interview". Furious.com.
  9. ^ Gómez, Edward M. (17 January 2015). "Topless but Far From Helpless: Charlotte Moorman's Avant-Garde Life". Hyperallergic.com. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  10. ^ "History of the Band | SILVER APPLES". Silverapples.com.
  11. ^ "Silver Apples Interview". Furious.com. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  12. ^ New Musical Express (March 9, 1998). "Strange Fruit: Blur Duo Join Silver Apples at Meltdown". NME. NME Networks. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  13. ^ "Gigs and Releases | SILVER APPLES". Silverapples.com.
  14. ^ "SILVER APPLES, THE | CLINGING TO A DREAM | Katalog - Artikeldetail". Cargo-records.de.
  15. ^ Minsker, Evan (9 September 2020). "Silver Apples' Simeon Coxe Dead at 82". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  16. ^ Jon Pareles (September 12, 2020). "Simeon Coxe, Whose Silver Apples Presaged Synth-Pop, Dies at 82". New York Times. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  17. ^ a b c Tom Doyle (October 2010). "Silver Apples: Early Electronica". Sound on Sound. SOS Publications Group. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  18. ^ Theodore Stone (2 May 2018). "The United States of America and the Start of an Electronic Revolution". PopMatters. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  19. ^ Alexis Petridis (9 September 2020). "Silver Apples' Simeon Coxe: visionary who saw music's electronic future". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  20. ^ Evan Minsker (September 9, 2020). "Silver Apples' Simeon Coxe Dead at 82". Pitchfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  21. ^ Erica Huang (August 6, 2012). "Original Creator: Electro-Rock Pioneers Silver Apples". Vice. Vice Media Group. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  22. ^ Alexis Petridis (September 9, 2020). "Silver Apples' Simeon Coxe: visionary who saw music's electronic future". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  23. ^ Alexandre Breton (2013). Alan Vega - Conversation with an Indian. Le Texte Vivant. ISBN 9782367230467. Vega, a melting pot of influences. Presley, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Burnette (for the hiccups and chanting), Lou Reed, the wizard of Metal Machine Music (pre- or post-Suicide opus?), Captain Beefheart, the splenetic Dada master who blended rock and jazz, the nasty Garage scene's golden period of 1966-1967; pre-krautrock beep-obsessives Silver Apples, the heathens of Mississippi blues, like Hooker and Hopkins especially, the rap avengers Public Enemy and their formidable Bomb Squad; and of course the radicalism of what has been called free jazz since 1960.
  24. ^ Kris Needs (October 12, 2015). "Five". Suicide: Dream Baby Dream, A New York City Story. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9781783235353. With Alan, events which oddly foreshadowed Suicide itself were taking place elsewhere in downtown Manhattan. He had just discovered the world's first two-man electronic band. They were called Silver Apples, and featured Simeon Coxe III singing over the otherwordly noise he coaxed out a pulsing heap of arcane electronic junk he called The Thing, all punctuated by highly creative drummer Danny Taylor. Alan recalls discovering the duo in the late sixties, and being first to spread the word in CBGB and Max's about their monumental place in the city's musical history. "They were so way out, man," he still enthuses. "I loved the minimalism of their stuff. I used to rave about the Silver Apples, but nobody had heard of them. That music was part of me so, from my angle, Suicide stole from the Velvets, Iggy, Question Mark & the Mysterians and the Silver Apples.
  25. ^ Kris Needs (October 12, 2015). "Five". Suicide: Dream Baby Dream, A New York City Story. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9781783235353. John Lennon was smitten, announcing on British TV in 1968, "Watch out for a band called Silver Apples, they are the next thing."
  26. ^ Turner, Luke (September 24, 2013). "Corrupting Sonic DNA: Moby's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  27. ^ "All the Songs in A24's 'Civil War'". The Wrap. Retrieved 2024-05-29.

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