It’s been over three and a half years since The Tremeloes scored their first number one hit, a raucous cover of ‘Do You Love Me’. Since then they’ve dropped Brian Poole – or, rather he’s left to pursue a solo career – and mellowed their sound right down.
Silence Is Golden, by The Tremeloes (their 2nd and final #1)
3 weeks, from 18th May – 8th June 1967
I’m getting a Beach Boys, folky vibe as we start off. ‘Silence Is Golden’ is yet another song I know as being ‘part the swinging sixties canon’, without having ever listened to it properly. It’s a nice melody, the harmonising is nice… It’s a nice song. Oh don’t it hurt deep inside, To see someone do something to her… It’s the song of a watcher, one that either still has feelings for an ex, or that has an unrequited love. He wants to tell her that she’s being taken for a ride: Should I tell her, Or should I be cool…?
In the end he decides that silence is indeed golden, and that he should keep schtum. I like the idea that it’s actually the singer’s conscience singing to him, and that it at one point calls him ‘a fool’, but some time around the second chorus this song starts to get irritating.
It’s the forced falsetto voices, and the cheesy doo-wop backing vocals. It’s the ‘solo’, which is the band converging for a long oooweeeooowaaawaaawooowooow. By the end, when the final note swoops upwards like you’ve changed the speed setting, you’re glad it’s over. Like I said, it’s nice enough… But it’s a bit wishy-washy. It’s trying too hard. If this record were a schoolboy, he’d be getting his lunch money stolen.
(Can we just take a moment to appreciate that this disc appears to have had an actual picture sleeve, which seems to have been very rare thing indeed in Britain in the ’60s! Maybe that’s why it made it to #1!)
‘Silence Is Golden’ is actually a cover of a Four Season’s ‘B’-side from a few years earlier. I’ll link to it here, but have to admit that that version also leaves me a bit cold. I dunno. Sometimes songs just don’t connect. It is very impressive, though, that The Tremeloes’ chart-topping career spanned the very middle of the 1960s, a time when pop music was developing at lightning speed. Their contemporaries in 1963 were Gerry & The Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer, who were nowhere near the #1 spot in 1967. (And The Beatles who, to be fair, were still enjoying reasonable success…)
To conclude: file under so-so. The Tremeloes powered on, given a second wind by their second number one, and scored hits right through to the early seventies. They still tour on the oldies circuit, and reunited with Brian Poole for their 40th anniversary. And, since I’m struggling to write much more, I’ll end with a great bit of trivia. The Tremeloes contributed heavily to nineties pop, inadvertently, as the band members’ children included duo Alisha’s Attic and the one and only (gettit?) Chesney Hawkes!