lundi 29 mai 2017

Silver Convention: the inspiration for Luv'

In 1976, well estasblished Dutch record producer and songwriter Hans van Hemert got a revelation as he watched the Disco girl group "Silver Convention" performing on German television. Inspired by the visual aspect of this combo (one dark-skinned girl and two white girls), hcame up with a wonderful idea:  why not form his own female pop trio? He teamed up with composer-arranger Piet Souer and manager Han Meijer to launch his project. Patty Brard, Marga Scheide and José Hoebee were recruited to be part of Luv'. The rest is history....

Who were Silver Convention? The group was initiated in Munich by producers and songwriters Sylvester Levay and Michael Kunze in 1974. It was originally called Silver Bird Convention and was named after Levay ("Silver" being his nickname). 

Silver Convention started out as a faceless studio group. Session vocalists Betsy Allen, Jackie Carter, Roberta Kelly, Lucy Neale and Gitta Walther were hired to record the debut single "Save Me" which charted across Europe and USA in 1975 (Germany: #33, Belgium: #9, Netherlands: #8, Norway: #9, United Kingdom: #30, Billboard disco chart: #1). Shortly afterwards, the first official line-up (Jackie Carter, Linda G. Thompson and Ramona Wulf) was presented to the public and the media.

Jackie, Ramona & Linda as Silver Convention (1975)

Save Me (1975)

Penny McLean rapidly replaced Jackie Carter. A second single entitled "Another girl" was released later in 1975 (Belgium: #29, Netherlands: #19, Billboard disco charts: #7).

Another Girl (1975)

The third single "Fly, Robin Fly" was their international breakthrough in late 1975 (Germany: #3, Belgium: #3, Canada: #3, Netherlands: #8, Norway: #8, Switzerland: #5, Austria: #9, France: #28 , Sweden: #16, New Zealand: #16, UK: #28, Billboard Hot 100: #1). The song won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance. In the USA, it sold one million copies and went gold

Fly, Robin Fly (1975)

In 1976, the follow-up single "Get Up And Boogie" also became a major hit (Germany: #13, Netherlands: #6, Belgium: #12, Norway: #6, Sweden: #14, France: #20, UK: #7, Canada: #1, Billboard Hot 100: #2, Australia: #19). 

Penny, Ramona and Linda (1976)

Get Up Ang Boogie (1976)

Later in 1976, just after "No No Joe" came out (Germany: #49, Canada: #74, Billboard Hot 100: #60), Linda G. Thompson was replaced by Rhonda Heath.

No No Joe (1976)

The first single of the renewed trio was "Everybody's talking about love" (UK: #25).

Penny, Ramona & Rhonda (1976)

Everybody's Talking About Love (1976)

In 1977, Silver Convention represented Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest in London and finished 8th with their track "Telegram" (Germany: #27, Belgium: #26, Sweden: #4).

Telegram (1977)

In late 1977, Penny McLean wanted to focus on her solo career and was replaced temporarily by Zenda Jacks (aka Suzie Jacks). The fourth line-up embarked on a world tour. Other records followed (including "Spend The Night With Me" (Billboard Disco Charts: #10). 

Then, Penny McLean returned to Silver Convention to record a final single "Café Au Lait". The trio disbanded in 1979. 

Silver Convention reunited on several occasions. 

In 1983, the line-up consisting of Linda, Penny and Ramona performed a hit medley on Thomas Gottschalk's show "Na Sowas" on ZDF

Hit Medley (1983)

In 1987, they re-recorded "Fly Robin Fly" and performed it on the TV show "Wilkommen In Munich". Penny also sang a new version of her solo hit "Lady Bump".

In 2000, Silver Convention appeared on  ZDF's program "Gottschalks TV-Welt". 

Medley (2000)

In 2004, Penny, Ramona and Rhonda Heath discussed their Eurovision entry "Telegram" on "Wunder Gibt Es Immer Wieder" on ARD

In 2007, "The Original Silver Convention" (Penny, Linda & Ramona) performed in Feldkirchen in a show called "Swinging Classics".

In 2009 and 2012 they sang "Fly, Robin, Fly" on the Italian TV show "I Migliori Anni". 

Other TV appearances, events and concerts followed in recent years (including a gig at the Alliierten Museum in Berlin in 2013, Eurovision fan club meetings in 2015 and 2016, Sylvester Levay’s 70th birthday in 2015 and the Disco Inferno party in New York in 2016).

Silver Convention and their legendary producer Sylvester Levay (2015)

Thanks Hans R. de Vries for your expertise!!!!

Source: Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia...

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