by Kevin Burton
Silver is second best at the Olympics. Silver lining is a consolation prize. Yet silver is shiny, gray with a smile on.
Because of silver’s status as second best your bonus track is “Be My Number Two,” by Joe Jackson. This is one heart-weary love song, performed by the British singer/songwriter known for his cynicism.
This song has something soothing about it but it won’t pep up your day.
Now for the silver list:
8 “Silver Bird,” by Mark Lindsay. This song rose to 25 on the Hot 100. That sounds about right. Good hook, draggy verses. It plays out a lot like Arizona, Lindsay’s number ten hit.
7 “Eyes Of Silver,” by The Doobie Brothers. Tom Johnston who wrote the song called the lyrics “not that spectacular.” Very true but that music gonna make you move. Am I crazy or is there a little Stax, a little Stevie Wonder influence here? Song was just beneath the top 40 when Black Water started getting airplay and overshadowed it.
6 “Silver Eagle,” by Atlanta Rhythm Section. Country rock like an early Eagles tune. You get the wrong kind of guitar on a song and pop radio can’t handle it. It wasn’t what the world wanted from ARS. This appears to be a love song to the band’s tour bus and those times the band spent together on the road chasing their dreams. “Silver Eagle, roll on.”
5 “Silver Paper,” by Mountain. “Open your heart and let the sunshine in” is their mantra. Heavy guitars, insistent drumming, a bagpipe-sounding part after the chorus that I think is played on an organ. “Wrap my dreams in silver paper gonna give them all to you” is the shiny 60s promise.
4 “Silver Heels,” by Blaze. You might know this song by Fleetwood Mac. I prefer the version by the obscure band Blaze because they treated the song with the disco silliness it deserves. Fleetwood Mac sounds silly doing it. Name-dropping lyric includes, “If I could sing like Paul McCartney, or get funky like Etta James, I’d never change her silver-heeled ways.”
Lost 70s treasure found!
3 “Half Moon Silver,” by Hotel. Their Wikipedia entry compares Hotel to the Rascals and Raspberries. Maybe so, but not on this track. This is very much like Crosby Stills and Nash. Good lyrics, great harmonies.
Here’s your brief silver sidetrack before we hit the top two:
Thumbs down: “Silver,” by Echo and The Bunnymen. Waited almost two minutes for the lyrics, then when they came it was some nonsense about man being his own savior.
Thumbs down, no up, up, thumbs up: “Silver Lining,” by Player. Great vocal technique belting out a song with wall to wall clichés. Almost like they needed to get the record out and slapped any old lyric on it. But it’s got the requisite screaming guitar solo and a cool right-handed keyboard part in the bridge. OK, the song is growing on me.
Bonus track: “Be My Number Two,” by Joe Jackson.
Now silver’s top two:
2 “Silver Lining” by Bonnie Raitt. In concert Bonnie Raitt will often yell “we love our jobs!” She sings about love a lot. When she doesn’t, her love for the delta blues comes through that guitar. She doesn’t write a lot of songs but she knows how to pick ‘em. David Gray wrote Silver Lining. Raitt told CNN that she knew right away she wanted it for her album.
“Step into the silence, take it in your own two hands” is a sample lyric. So far I don’t grasp the meaning of the song, but it’s a gem.
1 “Silver Star,” by The Four Seasons. This song bounds out of the gate with “In my dream I’m a western hero riding my palomino” and goes bouncing on from there until a middle part that talks about being stuck in a 9-to-5 job. “Ain’t livin’ but I’m alive.” Then it goes back to the bouncy part and the dreams. Well-crafted song with a different feel from most Four Seasons songs. And, do NOT miss the bottom on this track. Somebody is killing that bass.
If I missed your favorite silver song, please let me know in comments below.