Silhouettes (The Rays song)

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"Silhouettes"
Single by The Rays
B-sideDaddy Cool
Released1957
Format45 rpm single
Recorded1957
GenreDoo-wop
Length2:45
LabelXYZ; Cameo
Writer(s)Bob Crewe, Frank Slay
Producer(s)Bob Crewe, Frank Slay
CertificationGold
 
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"Silhouettes"
Single by The Rays
B-sideDaddy Cool
Released1957
Format45 rpm single
Recorded1957
GenreDoo-wop
Length2:45
LabelXYZ; Cameo
Writer(s)Bob Crewe, Frank Slay
Producer(s)Bob Crewe, Frank Slay
CertificationGold

"Silhouettes" is a song made famous by the doo-wop group The Rays in 1957. A competing version by The Diamonds was also successful, and the song was a number 5 hit in 1965 for Herman's Hermits.

Writing and Rays version[edit]

In May 1957, songwriter Bob Crewe saw a couple embracing through a windowshade as he passed on a train. He quickly set about turning the image into a song. Frank Slay, who owned the small Philadelphia record label XYZ with Crewe, added lyrics, and they soon had a complete song ready to record.[1] The story has frequently been reported that Slay heard The Rays audition for Cameo-Parkway Records, for which he worked, and immediately decided that they were the perfect group for "Silhouettes". However, Slay and Crewe were actually already familiar with the group, as "Silhouettes" was their third single with them.[2]

The song received a break when popular local disc jockey Hy Lit fell asleep with a stack of newly released records on his record player. "Silhouettes" happened to be the last to play, and so it repeated until he woke up. He began to play the song on his show.[1] It became popular enough that Cameo-Parkway picked it up for national distribution, and it eventually reached number 3 on Billboard Top 100, while also hitting the top five on both the sales and airplay charts. It was the group's only top 40 hit.

The Diamonds[edit]

The Canadian pop group The Diamonds, who had experienced success with cover versions of other doo-wop records, quickly put out their own version of the song. They even used the same song, "Daddy Cool", on the b-side of their record as The Rays had.[3] Their version received widespread radio play, also reaching the top ten of the Billboard airplay chart. However, it did not reach Billboard's sales chart, and only hit number 60 on the Top 100.[4]

Herman's Hermits[edit]

Herman's Hermits recorded the song in 1965 after hearing the song on American Armed Forces Radio.[1] It reached number 1 in Canada (In both RPM and CHUM charts). It became their third hit in the "British Invasion" of the US, reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also reached the top 5 in the UK. Information from Peter Noone and others indicates that guitarist Vic Flick played on the track, and not Jimmy Page as previously thought.[5]

Legacy[edit]

Other artists who've recorded "Silhouettes" include:

Andy Griffith did a recorded comedy skit on that song, where a studio group sings a line from the song "Silhouettes", and then repeatedly stops, where Griffith makes his comic remark on the lyrical line before the song resumes. Only 2 verses of the song were used. This was recorded in 1957.

A rock and roll revival act, Sha Na Na, performed the song at the Woodstock Festival in mid-1969.

The Ronettes released a version of the song on their 1965 Colpix Records release, "The Ronettes featuring Veronica."

Doo-wop group The Silhouettes (known for their hit "Get A Job") were named after the song.[8]

According to John Lennon, The Beatles' song "No Reply" (1964) was inspired by "Silhouettes".[9]

The song also appears in the Broadway musical Jersey Boys.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Shannon, Bob; John Javna (1986). Behind The Hits:Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. New York: Warner Books. p. 17. ISBN 0-446-38171-3. 
  2. ^ Warner, Jay. American Singing Groups: A History From 1940 to Today. New York: Hal Leonard. pp. 283–284. ISBN 978-0-634-09978-6. 
  3. ^ Worth, Fred L. (1985). Rock Facts. New York: Facts On File Publications. p. 106. ISBN 0-8160-1099-4. 
  4. ^ Joel Whitburn, Top Pop Singles 1955-1999 (Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, 2000), 176.
  5. ^ Kotal, Kent. "FORGOTTEN HITS INTERVIEWS PETER NOONE". Forgotten Hits. 
  6. ^ Track in Cliff Richard iTunes Essentials
  7. ^ Johnson, Christopher. Dennis Brown: The 'Crown Prince' Of Reggae, National Public Radio. 26 April 2010. Retrieved on 2010-04-26.
  8. ^ Asanovic, Bosko. "The Silhouettes". Soulful Kinda Music. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  9. ^ Lennon, John; David Schiff (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-312-25464-3. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  10. ^ Ritchey, David (2008-06-26). "‘Jersey Boys’ a hit at State Theatre". West Side Leader. Retrieved 2009-08-16.