“Get Up And Boogie,” sing the girls of Silver Convention with wide smiles and enthusiastic hand movements. “No thanks, we’re just fine sitting here,” reply the audience.
I can only assume they don’t understand English, judging by their sullen determination not to move from their seats, no matter how much encouragement they get from the stage. Which is understandable, as they are German. But then again, so are the group.
It’s a shame (to coin another disco-era phrase) because Silver Convention weren’t that bad. I mean, it’s formulaic Euro-disco from Germany, sure, but it’s a fine example of that, with strings that show the influence of Barry White and Isaac Hayes and the Philly duo of Gamble & Huff.
And this was after all the era of formulaic Euro-disco from Germany, thanks to Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte’s success with the admittedly vastly superior Donna Summer and Love To Love You Baby, which was bound to spawn imitators.
In traditional dance music fashion, Silver Convention essentially consisted of two older svengali figures, producers Silvester Levay and Michael Kunze, who hired a trio of session vocalists called Ingrid, Wilma and Monica to make a single called Save Me at their studio in Munich.
That gave them a minor UK hit so they recorded an album, using a selection of different session vocalists. But before releasing their next single, the middle-aged producers chose a trio of singers to present to the public.
So out went Ingrid, Wilma and Monica (and Gitta, Lucy, Betsy, Roberta and Jackie) and in came Penny McLean, Ramona Wulf and Linda Thompson (no, not that one) to become Silver Convention.
They made their debut when Fly Robin Fly (original title: Run Rabbit Run until moments before recording) imitated its title – the lyrics consisted of six different words (Fly. Robin. Up. To. The. Sky.) – by soaring to the top of the US charts in 1975.
They repeated that success with this tune, Get Up And Boogie, which reached the UK Top Ten. Soon after, Thompson left the group and open auditions were held to find her replacement – New Yorker Rhonda Heath, who made her debut when Silver Convention represented Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1977.
Their song, Telegram, finished a disappointing seventh and their popularity faded rapidly until they disbanded before the end of the Seventies – but Rhonda was back in Eurovision in 1994, finishing third this time as a member of Mekado, singing Wir Geben ‘Ne Party.