413. ‘Silver Lady’, by David Soul

Barely five seconds into David Soul’s second chart-topper of the year, I decide that I like it more than his first, ‘Don’t Give Up On Us’.

Silver Lady, by David Soul (his 2nd and final #1)

3 weeks, from 2nd – 23rd October 1977

To be honest, that’s more of a comment on the overbearing dullness of the earlier single than the brilliance of this, but still. It intros with a nice, Eagles-esque bassline and riff. It’s funky, and slightly sleazy. It sounds, believe it or not, like the theme-tune to a cop drama… Tired of drifting, Searching, Shifting, From town to town… The lyrics are much more interesting than their predecessor, too.

Then, midway through the first verse, something clicks and the song is suddenly tremendous fun. Suddenly we’re gearing up for an outrageous earworm of a chorus. It’s the horns. It’s always the horns. Come on silver lady, Take my word, I won’t run out on you again, Believe me… It’s schmaltzy, it’s cheesy… It’s stayed with me since I listened to this song for the first time a few days ago…

I love the barroom piano that joins us for verse two, as Soul paints a picture of the sorts of dives he’s been reduced to since getting himself chucked out. Seedy motels, And no-star hotels, Still I had to learn… Most importantly, compared to ‘Don’t Give Up…’, this song doesn’t take itself too seriously. The tongue remains firmly in cheek. It sounds exactly like the sort of song an off duty cop would attempt at a karaoke bar, after a beer or two… (I had to check that the lyrics weren’t: I’ve seen the light, It’s just one more pint without you…)

That was one of my main complaints about his previous #1. For the heartthrob star of an all-action police drama to debut with such an insipid puddle of crap was disappointing. ‘Silver Lady’ is more like it. I’m glad David Soul got this shot at redemption. And he got it just in time, for there were only two further chart hits left in his locker. Since then he’s tended to focus on his acting, though he is semi-retired these days. In 2004, he became a British citizen, perhaps as a way of thanking the nation for making him more than just a one-hit wonder, as he remains in his homeland.

This is one of those songs that, if you listen to it at the right time of day, with the right amount of alcohol in you, you may start to overestimate. I mean, I’m enjoying it; but I’d better move on before I start claiming it as an overlooked classic. Still, the charts need songs like this. Pure, unapologetic pop. More of which is coming up next…

25 thoughts on “413. ‘Silver Lady’, by David Soul

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    Yes you are right…it IS miles better than the other…of course that isn’t hard to do. I do like the guitar riff and yes…the mid seventies Eagles could have done this.
    I have to admit…it’s not bad…the question I have is…lets say the Eagles did this…would it be more remembered? When a tv or movie star does a song…in my mind it automatically cheapens it a bit…is that fair? No it’s not but I can’t help it. I feel they are doing it to expand their money making power…not because of the music.

    1. Yeah there’s definitely snobbery involved when actors go into music… I can think of lots of examples, but not many creditable ones. For some reason, though, pop stars are usually welcomed into the film industry much more readily…

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        You are right…it doesn’t go both ways. Bruce Willis and Eddie Murphy come to mind also…making songs that the only reason people paid attention was because it was them… Johnny Depp is really good but again…it’s hard for me to take seriously.
        He was a musician first I believe.

      2. Madonna’s another one who keeps trying with the movies… And then Russel Crowe had a rock and roll band too, that I’m not sure were any good

      3. badfinger20 (Max)

        I never did hear of any Russell Crowe’s music. I’m trying to think of someone who was really successful.
        I guess Elvis was the king of crossovers…not counting the bad movies he made lol but he was a musician first.

        Scarlett Johansson has done some cool stuff with Pete Yorn.

      4. I could have done without Steve Martin, William Shatner, Billy Bob Thornton, Lindsay Lohan, Juliette Lewis, Jack Black (sorry but, Tenacious D is annoying), the Return of Bruno was terrible, Murphy’s Party All The Time is pretty cool (because of Rick James), Jeff Bridges (can play a guitar well but the singing…no), Ryan Gosling is questionable but, Kevin Costner, surprisingly, isn’t bad. Madonna and Jennifer Lopez need to go away.

      5. badfinger20 (Max)

        Jack Black is a pretty good musician…yea I couldn’t agree more about the last two.

      6. Gwyneth Paltrow has a stunning voice. Then there’s Kevin Bacon (Bacon Brothers), Jared Leto (Thirty Seconds to Mars), Keanu Reeves isn’t a bad bassist in Dogstar…

      7. badfinger20 (Max)

        Yea I like Bacon’s stuff…the reason I mentioned Scarlett Johansson is because I heard some of it and she works with a folk singer…and she did a Tom Waites cover album…she is out there and not commercial for an actress.

      8. badfinger20 (Max)

        No she is pretty good and she has different tastes…not like a lot of the celebrities.

    2. Hey, now…both of ya… One of the very first 45s I bought when I was 10 years old was Don’t Give Up On Us. It’s a lovely song, thank you. *sticking out tongue*

      I didn’t comment about this when you posted it, Stuart, since I was on a blogging break.

      Have y’all ever heard Black Bean Soup?

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        Well we will give you a break since you were 10 lol…
        No he was fine for what he did…it’s not like he was going to sing a Stones song.

        Yea I just heard it…that was an odd song…was it for a show or something?

      2. badfinger20 (Max)

        Yep she was on there…I love that show and still watch it every year…no other decade would have that many generations.

      3. This is 100x better than ‘Don’t Give Up On Us’, sorry (not sorry!) The chorus soars!

        Just listened to Black Bean Soup, and it’s cute. Sounds exactly like you’d expect a song called ‘Black Bean Soup’ to sound!

  2. I like Silver Lady, but don’t love it. Over-exposure at the time, plus a wealth of tremendous singles that deserved the top spot far more (see Magic Fly from Space, Oxygene Jean Michel-jarre, No More heroes Stranglers, Heroes david Bowie for starters) and a little disco ditty from a minor movie named Star Wars that blew my mind but seemed to by-pass pop culture (hah!) ) left me a bit peeved it did so well, but Tony Macauley & Geoff Stephens did know their way around chart-topping hits – as with Mcauley’s previous Soul chart-topper, The Foundations 2 biggies, Love Grows, Long John Baldry’s topper, new Seekers “Fool” topper, as mentioned before. Stephens had oodles of hits too, for Hot Choc, Herman’s Hermits, Mary Hopkin (Eurovision) and many others.

    I also went off to uni while this was hogging the top of the charts, a new life for me so it’s sort of a dividing point between being school-kid and as close to being grown-up as I was capable of 🙂

    Re actors in music: loads of great examples, Johnny Remember Me, MacArthur Park, Kylie Minogue’s entire career for starters, and the reverse, err Oscar-winner Cher, Bowie, Madonna in Evita (but avoid the rest), and a host of actor-singers where the line is blurred anyway, from the heyday of Hollywood Musicals, think Howard Keel and huge names like the Rat Pack cast. The Monkees – musicians, actors singers, David Cassidy, current pop stars like Haylee Steinfeld who is pretty decent while essentially being an actor, dabblers like UK chart-topper Nicole Kidman, Ewan MacGregor, the Mamma Mia cast (OK not a great example there in some cases – cough Brosnan cough -, but it’ll be coming up shortly after a quick Boogie…..) 🙂

    1. I think it does sometimes help that I only focus on the song at number one, and not what it stopped from getting there… Though by the late 90s I’m sure I’ll be wailing about whatever was being held from the top by Boyzone or Westlife…

      Nice examples of music/acting crossovers… But with most of the ones you name the music came first, or at least concurrently. An established actor can maybe get a hit or two (David Soul), but quite often it’ll be terrible/a throwaway novelty (Telly Savalas, Martine McCutcheon (!))… Like you said, Kylie is probably the best acting-to-singing example, and she kicked off her music career pretty early.

  3. Pingback: Recap: #391 – #420 – The UK Number Ones Blog

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