Silver Convention

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Silver Convention
Also known as Silver Bird Convention
Silver Bird
Origin Munich, Germany
Genres Eurodisco[1]
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.[2] 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 Gitta Walther, Lucy Neale, Betsy Allen, Roberta Kelly, & 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.

First U. S. Concert for Braniff Airways[edit]

Silver Convention's first United States Concert was held at Dallas, Texas, in the North Hangar of Braniff International Airways Operations and Maintenance Base at Dallas Love Field Airport on Wednesday evening, February 23, 1977. The group had traveled from Acapulco, Mexico, where they had also performed on February 19, 1977 for Braniff during a special party dubbed Three Evenings To Remember. The airline threw the promotional party to announce its new Ultra Elegance Campaign and debut new air and ground crew uniforms by Haute Couturier Halston. Silver Convention penned a song titled "Ultra Ultra" specifically for Braniff to commemorate the carrier's new inflight service which they performed in Acapulco and at the Dallas concerts. The day after the Love Field concert, the group traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to tape an interview for the syndicated Mike Douglas Show.[7]

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.[8] 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). The song was also covered by American industrial metal band Static-X, and released as a bonus track for the album Cannibal, in 2007.

"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.[9]

American alternative rock band the Bloodhound Gang sampled "Get Up and Boogie" for the main riff of their 1996 song "Lift Your Head Up High (And Blow Your Brains Out)", released on their album One Fierce Beer Coaster. The sample was played as is during performances of the song with Lupus Thunder, but Daniel P. Carter replaced it with a live guitar part.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
GER
[10]
CAN
[11]
NOR
[12]
SWE
[13]
US
[14]
Save Me
  • Released: 1975
  • Label: Jupiter Records
  • Formats: LP, K7, CD
48 11 49 10
Get Up and Boogie
  • Released: 1976
  • Label: Jupiter Records
  • Formats: LP, K7, CD
19 3 15 25 13
Madhouse
  • Released: 1976
  • Label: Jupiter Records
  • Formats: LP, K7
41 65
Summernights
  • Released: 1977
  • Label: Jupiter Records
  • Formats: LP, K7, CD
86 20 71
Love in a Sleeper
  • Released: 1978
  • Label: Jupiter Records
  • Formats: LP, K7

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
NOR
[12]
SWE
[17]
UK
[18]
Success
  • Released: 1976
  • Label: Jupiter Records
  • Formats: LP
11 16
Greatest Hits 34
The Best of Silver Convention
The Best of Silver Convention: Get Up and Boogie

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
GER
[10]
BEL
[20]
CAN
[21]
NET
[22]
SPA
[23]
NOR
[12]
SWE
[17]
UK
[18]
US
[24]
US DAN
[14]
1975 "Save Me" 33 9 8 9 15 30 1 Save Me
"Always Another Girl" 29 19 7
"Fly, Robin, Fly" 3 3 3 8 8 1 16 28 1 1
1976 "Get Up and Boogie" 13 12 1 6 6 22 14 7 2 2 Get Up and Boogie
"Tiger Baby" 41 Save Me
"No, No, Joe" 49 74 27 60 1 Get Up and Boogie
"Everybody's Talking 'Bout Love" 25 Madhouse
"Dancing in the Aisles (Take Me Higher)"
1977 "Fancy Party"
"Telegram" 27 26 4 Summernights
"The Boys from Liverpool" N/A
"Summernights" Summernights
1978 "Spend the Night with Me" 10 Love In A Sleeper
1979 "Café au Lait" N/A
"—" denotes the single failed to chart or was not released.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-silver-convention-mn0000755950/biography
  2. ^ a b Vickers, Tom. "Singles: Surprising Takeoff of 'Fly, Robin, Fly.'" Rolling Stone 203 (January 1, 1976), p. 18.
  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. ^ Upshaw, Larry (March–April 1977). "Silver Convention Rocks On At Concert For Braniff Employees". The B Liner. 29 (2): 13. 
  8. ^ Mann, Herbie. Bird in a Silver Cage. iTunes album review. Accessed February 26, 2010.
  9. ^ "the AU Interview: Quan Yeomans of Regurgitator (Melbourne / Brisbane)". the AU review. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  10. ^ a b "GfK Entertainment Charts > Soçver Convention". offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  11. ^ Peak positions for Canada:
  12. ^ a b c Norway Charts>>Silver Convention, Penny McLean, Ramona Wulf, Linda G. Thompson - SUCCESS (album) at the Wayback Machine (archived June 16, 2016). norwegiancharts.com.
  13. ^ "Sverigetopplistan > Silver Convention Albums". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  14. ^ a b ALLMusic Awards>> Silver Convention at the Wayback Machine (archived June 16, 2016). AllMusic.
  15. ^ "RIAA certifications for Silver Convention". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  16. ^ "Gold & Platinum – Silver Convention". Music Canada. Retrieved June 16, 2016. 
  17. ^ a b "Sverigetopplistan > Silver Convention Songs". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  18. ^ a b "OCC > Silver Convention". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  19. ^ IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1978 at the Wayback Machine (archived March 18, 2012). ifpihk.org.
  20. ^ "Ultratop > Sinver Convention Singles". ultratop.be. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  21. ^ Peak positions for Canada:
  22. ^ Silver Convention - Artiestenpagina at the Wayback Machine (archived June 16, 2016). dutchcharts.nl.
  23. ^ Fernando Salaverri (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  24. ^ Billboard Hot 100: Peak positions for Silver Convention Billboard.com. Retrieved 16 June 2016
Preceded by
Les Humphries Singers
with Sing Sang Song
Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest
1977
Succeeded by
Ireen Sheer
with Feuer