Monday’s Music Moves Me – A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs: the SILVER Edition

Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me hop theme happens to be “Color Me with Music”. This fits in nicely with the series I’ve been presenting these last few weeks so I am continuing on with my KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOR SONGS SERIES, highlighting the color SILVER. The following playlist is my favorite songs with the color Silver in the title and includes information and fun facts about each “silver” song.

Silver, Blue & Gold by Bad Company – Silver, Blue & Gold is a song from “Run with the Pack,” the third studio album by the English supergroup Bad Company, written by Paul Rodgers. A fixture on rock radio for decades, Paul Rodgers has been the driving force behind countless rock ‘n’ roll classics. The bulk of his legacy, however, remains with Bad Company.

Co-founded in 1973 by Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs (Mott the Hoople guitarist), Simon Kirke (drummer) and the late Boz Burrell (former King Crimson bassist & vocalist), Bad Company grew out of Free, which also featured Rodgers and Kirke. Over the next nine years, they released four platinum or multi-platinum albums together before Rodgers departed for a lengthy hiatus. During that period, he could be found bending the ears of music fans worldwide with the Firm (with Jimmy Page), the Law (with Who drummer Kenney Jones) and later even toured with the members of Queen.

“Silver, Blue & Gold” was released in January 1976 on the wildly successful “Run with The Pack”   album, which was the band’s third consecutive platinum seller. It was recorded in France with The Rolling Stones Mobile Truck in September 1975 with engineer Ron Nevison and mixed in Los Angeles by Eddie Kramer.

Upon its release, the album soared to No. 5 on the US Billboard 200 and peaked at No. 4 in the UK Albums Chart. With three albums now to their credit, the central ingredient to the group’s remarkable success was their steady stream of first rate original material. Rodgers and Ralphs were the group’s composers. “I always thought it was important for the group to have more than one writer,” states Rodgers.

Coupled with the strength of the group’s song writing was the clarity and unmistakable power of Rodgers’ voice. Rodgers moved with ease among a wide range of emotions and musical styles.  Rodgers “Silver, Blue & Gold” celebrated the group’s skills for ballads, highlighting a softer, more introspective vocal performance by Rodgers.

Although “Silver, Blue & Gold” remains one of the band’s most popular compositions, the song was never released as a single. “Silver, Blue and Gold” is a fan favorite and it’s one of Bad Company’s very best songs, artfully charting the oft-experienced tale of a love gone wrong and the aftermath as the spurned party seeks solace in silver, blue and gold–and the rainbow that’s long overdue.

Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac – “Silver Springs” is a song written by Stevie Nicks and performed by Fleetwood Mac. It was originally intended for the band’s 1977 album Rumours, but became a B-side to the song “Go Your Own Way”. A live version of “Silver Springs” was released as a single from the 1997 album The Dance; this live version of the song received a Grammy Award nomination.

Written by Stevie Nicks, “Silver Springs” was originally intended for the album Rumours. Years after the fact, Nicks commented that the song’s exclusion from the album marked a growing tension in the band. The track describes Nicks’ perspective on the ending of the romantic relationship between her and Lindsey Buckingham. She has said,

I wrote “Silver Springs” about Lindsey. And we were in Maryland somewhere driving under a freeway sign that said Silver Spring, Maryland. And I loved the name … Silver Springs sounded like a pretty fabulous place to me. And, ‘You could be my silver springs…’, that’s just a whole symbolic thing of what you could have been to me.

According to Rolling Stone, “Nicks’ tender yet vengeful post-mortem on her breakup with Buckingham [became] an emotional lightning rod. The song would have behind-the-scenes repercussions for decades to come – nearly leading to the breakup of the band.” Due to the limited space available on the LP format of the time (and over strenuous objections from Nicks), the song was excluded from the Rumours album due to its length. It was bumped off the album by another song Nicks wrote called “I Don’t Want To Know,” which the rest of the band liked better and fit better on the album because it was shorter. Stevie was very upset with the decision and considered refusing to sing “I Don’t Want To Know” in protest.

In a 1997 documentary on the making of Rumours, Richard Dashut, the engineer and co-producer, called it “the best song that never made it to a record album”. The song was, however, released in late 1976 as the B-side of the “Go Your Own Way” single, the Buckingham-written song to which it is regarded as being a response.

Years later, the band went on a world tour to promote the Fleetwood Mac album Behind the Mask. After the tour concluded, Nicks left the group over a dispute with Mick Fleetwood, who would not allow her to release “Silver Springs” on her album Timespace – The Best of Stevie Nicks because of his plans to release it on a forthcoming Fleetwood Mac box set. The song did appear in the 1992 box set 25 Years – The Chain.

In 1997, the song got a second life on the reunion album The Dance. It hailed the return of the band’s most successful line-up of Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie and Stevie Nicks, who had not released an album together since 1987’s Tango in the Night a decade earlier.

During the filming of the reunion concert that brought Nicks and Buckingham back to the fold, “Silver Springs” was on the set list.

“Nicks has admitted that the fiery take on the song that appears in The Dance was ‘for posterity… I wanted people to stand back and really watch and understand what [the relationship with Lindsey] was.'”

During this song’s performance on Fleetwood Mac’s 1997 DVD The Dance, halfway through the song while singing, Stevie turns towards Lindsay and appears to be singing directly to him. It was as if she was reminding him who the song was about. Once they locked eyes, you could see and feel the emotions they must have felt many years ago when they dated and eventually broke up. A very intense moment.

The band earned a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals nomination for this live version from The Dance.

“I never thought that “Silver Springs” would ever be performed onstage [again],” [Nicks] reflected during a 1997 MTV interview. “My beautiful song just disappeared [20 years ago]. For it to come back around like this has really been special to me.”

In 2004, “Silver Springs” finally appeared where it was supposed to on the DVD-A (audio) re-issue release of Rumours. This is a 2-disc set which also includes a longer bonus version of the song.

The song also appeared on Nicks’ compilation album, Crystal Visions – The Very Best of Stevie Nicks. She wrote in the album’s liner notes that the song was intended as a gift for her mother, who now refers to it as her “rainy day song”, and that the exclusion of the song from Rumours was a source of anger for many years.

FUN FACT: Stevie Nicks used to check into hotels on the road under the alias “Miss Silver Spring.”

FUN FACT: Stevie Nicks appeared on two episodes of the TV series American Horror Story: Coven, including the finale, where she performed “Seven Wonders” to open the show. Later in the episode, this song was used to underscore a scene where a witch was sent to burn at the stake.

Man on the Silver Mountain by Rainbow – “Man on the Silver Mountain” is the first single by Rainbow and the first track of their debut album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Written by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and singer Ronnie James Dio, this song is, as Dio said, “a semi-religious one, a man on the silver mountain is a kind of God figure everyone is crying out to”. This track became one of Rainbow’s best-known tracks and was also a live favorite for any Rainbow line-up, and also for the band Dio. The words “The man on the silver mountain Ronnie James Dio” are inscribed on his grave.

According to the Ultimate Classic Rock site, “Man on the Silver Mountain” is a song that first codified Ritchie Blackmore’s creative vision for Rainbow and proved the group would be a force to be reckoned with for years to come: Though lacking somewhat in production punch, the song’s signature riff and evocative lyrics have gone down in heavy metal lore — even following Ronnie James Dio to the grave by being etched onto his tombstone. (See tombstone photo below)

“The Man on the Silver Mountain” was recorded at Musicland Studios, Munich in January and February, 1975. Interesting fact, the whole project, including the song, was supposed to be a solo album of Ritchie Blackmore; however in collaborating with Ronnie James Dio, it eventually ended up as a new band, Rainbow. Though, it was not Ritchie that got the most out of it, but rather Dio – his popularity and fan base reached the sky and he became one of the most influential and critically-acclaimed frontmen of all time. Later on, Ritchie was joking that this album should’ve been named “”Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio’s Rainbow”.

Rainbow’s music was partly inspired by classical music since Blackmore started playing cello to help him construct interesting chord progressions, and Dio wrote lyrics about medieval themes. Dio possessed a versatile vocal range capable of singing both hard rock and lighter ballads, and, according to Blackmore, “I felt shivers down my spine.” Although Dio never played a musical instrument on any Rainbow album, he is credited with writing and arranging the music with Blackmore, in addition to writing all the lyrics himself. Blackmore and Dio also found a common ground in their sense of humor.

Dio left Rainbow in 1979 and soon joined Black Sabbath, replacing the fired Ozzy Osbourne. On November 25, 2009, Dio’s wife Wendy Gaxiola (who also served as his manager) announced that Dio had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. On May 4, 2010, his then band Heaven & Hell announced they were canceling all summer dates as a result of Dio’s ill health. A statement made by Dio’s wife stated that Dio had died at 7:45 am (CDT) on May 16, 2010, of metastasized stomach cancer, according to official sources.

The words “The man on the silver mountain Ronnie James Dio” are inscribed on his tombstone.

The tomb of Dio (note the “throwing horns” sign on the flanking urns)

FUN FACT: Regarding Ronnie James Dio: He fronted and/or founded numerous groups including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, and Heaven & Hell. He is credited with popularizing the “metal horns” hand gesture in metal culture and was known for his medieval-themed lyrics.

Vocalist Ronnie James Dio making the sign at a Black Sabbath “Heaven and Hell” tour concert in 2007. The gesture is quite common within heavy metal culture.

According to Wikipedia’s page on the “metal horns”: Ronnie James Dio was known for popularizing the sign of the horns in heavy metal. He claimed his Italian grandmother used it to ward off the evil eye (which is known in Southern Italy as malocchio). Dio began using the sign soon after joining the metal band Black Sabbath in 1979. The previous singer in the band, Ozzy Osbourne, was rather well known for using the “peace” sign at concerts, raising the index and middle finger in the form of a V. Dio, in an attempt to connect with the fans, wanted to similarly use a hand gesture. However, not wanting to copy Osbourne, he chose to use the sign his grandmother always made. The horns became famous in metal concerts very soon after Black Sabbath’s first tour with Dio. The sign would later be appropriated by heavy metal fans under the name “maloik”, a corruption of the original malocchio.

Terry “Geezer” Butler of Black Sabbath can be seen “raising the horns” in a photograph taken in 1971. The photograph is included in the CD booklet of the Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970–1978 compilation album. This would indicate that there had been some association between the “horns” and heavy metal before Dio’s popularization of it.

When asked if he was the one who introduced the hand gesture to metal subculture, Dio said in a 2001 interview with

I doubt very much if I would be the first one who ever did that. That’s like saying I invented the wheel, I’m sure someone did that at some other point. I think you’d have to say that I made it fashionable. I used it so much and all the time and it had become my trademark until the Britney Spears audience decided to do it as well. So it kind of lost its meaning with that. But it was…. I was in Sabbath at the time. It was a symbol that I thought was reflective of what that band was supposed to be all about. It’s NOT the devil’s sign like we’re here with the devil. It’s an Italian thing I got from my Grandmother called the “Malocchio”. It’s to ward off the Evil Eye or to give the Evil Eye, depending on which way you do it. It’s just a symbol but it had magical incantations and attitudes to it and I felt it worked very well with Sabbath. So I became very noted for it and then everybody else started to pick up on it and away it went. But I would never say I take credit for being the first to do it. I say because I did it so much that it became the symbol of rock and roll of some kind.

Gene Simmons of the rock group KISS attempted to claim the “devil horns” hand gesture for his own. According to CBS News, “Simmons filed an application Friday, June 16, 2017 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a trademark on the hand gesture he regularly uses during concerts and public appearances – thumb, index and pinky fingers extended, with the middle and ring fingers folded down. According to Simmons, this hand gesture was first used in commerce – by him – on Nov. 14, 1974. He is claiming the hand gesture should be trademarked for “entertainment, namely live performances by a musical artist [and] personal appearances by a musical artist.” Simmons abandoned this application on June 21, 2017.

 Eyes of Silver by The Doobie Brothers – “Eyes of Silver” is a deep cut off the What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits studio album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers, released in 1974. This 4th studio album reached #4 on the Pop Albums chart in 1975.

Tom Johnston’s “Another Park, Another Sunday” was chosen to be the album’s first single. “It’s about losing a girl,” stated Johnston. “I wrote the chords and played it on acoustic, and then Ted [Templeman] had some ideas for it, like running the guitars through Leslie speakers.” The song did moderately well on the charts, peaking at #32.

The second single released was “Eyes of Silver”, another Johnston penned tune with a horn-driven funk sound. During this period and for several subsequent tours, the Doobies were often supported on-stage by Stax Records legends The Memphis Horns. According to Johnston, “Word-wise, that one really isn’t that spectacular. I wrote them at the last minute.” That song didn’t have much success on the charts either, reaching only #52. Grasping for chart action, Warner Brothers re-released the band’s first single, “Nobody”. This release was soon overshadowed when radio stations discovered “Black Water”. Other stations joined in and the song was officially released as a single that went on to sell over a million copies and became the Doobie Brothers’ first #1 hit. Ironically, “Black Water” had been featured as the B-side of “Another Park, Another Sunday” eight months earlier. (“Black Water will be featured when I do my Black edition of the Kaleidoscope of Color Songs Series).

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer by the Beatles – “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” is a song by the Beatles, sung by Paul McCartney on their album Abbey Road. It was written by McCartney, though credited to Lennon–McCartney. “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” is a pop song with dark, eccentric lyrics about a medical student named Maxwell Edison who commits three murders with his silver hammer. He murders his girlfriend Joann, his teacher, and a judge but it is never explained why. The lyrics are disguised by the upbeat, catchy, and rather “childlike” sound of the song.

Paul McCartney said of this song:

“It epitomizes the downfalls in life. Just when everything is going smoothly, Bang! Bang! Down comes Maxwell’s Silver Hammer and ruins everything.”

The song was written in October 1968, intended for the album The Beatles, but left off because of time constraints. It was rehearsed again three months later, in January 1969, at Twickenham film studios during the Get Back sessions but would not be recorded for another six months. The film features two brief rehearsal takes compiled together showing the band’s progress on the song up to that point. Lennon is shown to be participating on electric guitar despite not featuring on the recording for Abbey Road at all. Road manager and Beatles associate Mal Evans participates by providing the anvil hits.

Linda McCartney said that Paul had become interested in avant-garde theatre and had immersed himself in the writings of Alfred Jarry. This influence is reflected in the story and tone of the song, and also explains how Paul came across Jarry’s word “pataphysical”, which occurs in the lyrics.

Beatles guitarist George Harrison described the song in 1969 as “one of those instant whistle-along tunes which some people hate, and other people really like. It’s a fun song, but it’s kind of a drag because Maxwell keeps on destroying everyone like his girlfriend then the school teacher, and then, finally, the judge.” Lennon described it as “more of Paul’s granny music”.

In 1994, McCartney said that the song merely epitomizes the downfalls of life, being “my analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often does, as I was beginning to find out at that time in my life. I wanted something symbolic of that, so to me it was some fictitious character called Maxwell with a silver hammer. I don’t know why it was silver, it just sounded better than Maxwell’s hammer. It was needed for scanning. We still use that expression now when something unexpected happens.”

Recording began at Abbey Road Studios on July 9, 1969. John Lennon, who had been absent from recording sessions for the previous eight days after being injured in a car crash, arrived to work on the song, accompanied by his wife, Yoko Ono, who, more badly hurt in the accident than Lennon, lay on a large double-bed in the studio. Sixteen takes of the rhythm track were made, followed by a series of guitar overdubs. The unused fifth take can be heard on Anthology 3. Over the following two days the group overdubbed vocals, piano, Hammond organ, anvil, and guitar. The song was completed on August 6, when McCartney recorded a solo on a Moog synthesiser.

The recording subsequently drew comment from the entire band; other than the composer (McCartney), none appear to have fond memories of their work on the song:

Lennon said “I was ill after the accident when they did most of that track, and it really ground George and Ringo into the ground recording it”, adding later “I hate it, ‘cos all I remember is the track … [Paul] did everything to make it into a single, and it never was and it never could have been.”

Harrison characterized the song as “fruity” and commented “we spent a hell of a lot of time on it”, and later “after a while, we did a good job on it”. Starr added retrospective input on the finished result in a Rolling Stone article from 2008: “The worst session ever was ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.’ It was the worst track we ever had to record. It went on for fucking weeks. I thought it was mad.”

McCartney recalled: “The only arguments were about things like me spending three days on ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.’ I remember George saying, ‘You’ve taken three days, it’s only a song.’ – ‘Yeah, but I want to get it right. I’ve got some thoughts on this one.’ It was early-days Moog work and it did take a bit of time”.

In his 1969 review of Abbey Road, John Mendelsohn of Rolling Stone magazine observed that in “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, McCartney “celebrates the joys of being able to bash in the heads of anyone threatening to bring you down. [He] puts it across perfectly with the coyest imaginable choir-boy innocence.”  Robert Christgau referred to the song as “a McCartney crotchet.”

McCartney has never implied a specific inspiration for this song, but fans speculated that he was expressing his frustrations with certain people in the band’s inner circle, perhaps hoping that a figurative hammer would crash down on Yoko Ono or their manager, Allen Klein.

Just for Fun, since we’re talking about a song that talks of killing people and appears on the most controversial Beatles album ever, let’s explore Abbey Road for a minute:

The cover of the album fueled rumors that Paul McCartney was dead. The cover shows all four Beatles walking in a crosswalk of Abbey Road. John is leading, followed by Ringo, Paul, and finally George. According to the rumor, what they were wearing signified a funeral procession. John was dressed in white as if he was God, Ringo was dressed in a black suit as if he was a Preacher, and George was wearing grungy clothing, as if he was the grave digger. Paul was dressed in a dark-gray suit, was carrying a cigarette, and has his eyes closed. Also, he is the only one walking barefoot.

I very fondly remember when the rumor that “Paul is Dead” was running rampant around the world. “Paul is dead” is an urban legend and conspiracy theory alleging that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was secretly replaced by a look-alike.

In September 1969, American college students published articles claiming that clues to McCartney’s supposed death could be found among the lyrics and artwork of the Beatles’ recordings. Clue-hunting proved infectious and, within a few weeks, had become an international phenomenon.

How do I remember all the hoopla so well? It was in 1969. I was only 7 years old. One of my (young) school teachers was so fascinated with the rumor that she brought in a record player and tried playing the record backwards, all the time sharing with the class all these bizarre clues that supposedly point to the validity of the rumor. I remember as a class we were all enthralled. I’m sure I’m not the only child who excitedly brought it up at the dinner table that night!  There is a plethora of info online about this whole subject but here’s a quick read from Paul is Dead: The Kooky Symbolism on the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” Album Cover

References to the legend are still occasionally made in popular culture. McCartney himself poked fun at it with his 1993 live album, entitling it Paul Is Live, with cover art parodying clues allegedly on the cover of the Beatles’ album Abbey Road.

Rumors declined after a contemporary interview with McCartney was published in Life magazine in November 1969.

The Life magazine report that rebutted the rumor (Nov 1969)

Wasn’t that fun? I still get a kick out of it. Do you remember when the rumors about Paul’s alleged death and all the clues proving the theory were circulating? Were you captivated by it? Did any part of you ever fall for it, even just a little bit?? Do tell!

FUN FACT: McCartney’s handwritten lyrics for the song “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” were sold at auction for $192,000.

Silver Bells by Bing Crosby – It’s the wrong time of year for this song but I just couldn’t do a Silver themed post without including “Silver Bells”. “Silver Bells” is a popular Christmas song, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. Among the many other hit records the duo have written are two Academy Award winning numbers, “Buttons and Bows” and “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)”.

“Silver Bells” was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, filmed in July–August 1950 and released in March 1951:

The first recorded version was by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards on September 8, 1950 with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra and the Lee Gordon Singers which was released by Decca Records in October 1950. After the Crosby and Richards recording became popular, Hope and Maxwell were called back in late 1950 to re-film a more elaborate production of the song.

“Silver Bells” started out as the questionable “Tinkle Bells.” Said Ray Evans, “We never thought that tinkle had a double meaning until Jay went home and his first wife said, ‘Are you out of your mind? Do you know what the word tinkle means?'” Naturally she was referring to tinkle being the slang for urination.

This song’s inspiration has conflicting reports. Several periodicals and interviews cite the writer Jay Livingston stating that the song’s inspiration came from the bells used by sidewalk Santa Clauses and Salvation Army solicitors on New York City street corners. However, in an interview with NPR co-writer Ray Evans said that the song was inspired by a bell that sat on an office desk shared by Livingston and himself.

Livingston told American Songwriter Magazine July/August 1988 that this originally had a different title. He recalled:

“We wrote a song called ‘Tinkle Bell,’ about the tinkly bells you hear at Christmas from the Santa Clauses and the Salvation Army people. We said ‘this is it, this will work for the picture,’ so I took it home and played it for my wife. She said ‘you wrote a song called ‘Tinkle Bell’? Don’t you know that word has a bathroom connotation?’ So I went back to Ray the next day and told him we had to throw the song out, and we did.”

However as the duo continued to work on their assignment, they found themselves taking many of the lines and part of the melody from their “Tinkle Bell” song. In the end, they used the original song, except for substituting the word silver for tinkle, and the song became “Silver Bells.”

The song has been covered by a zillion artists over the years. Take your pick.

FUN FACT: The song charted in the UK for the first time in 2009 when a duet by BBC Radio 2 DJ Sir Terry Wogan and Welsh singer Aled Jones recorded for the Bandaged charity reached the Top 40, peaking at no. 27.

So that’s it for my favorite Silver songs! To close out this post, here is some cool information about the color Silver:


Taken from the Bourn Creative’s Color Meaning Blog Series:

Silver, the metallic refined, distinguished color of riches, has cool properties like gray, but is more fun, lively, and playful. The color silver is associated with meanings of industrial, sleek, high-tech, and modern, as well as ornate, glamorous, graceful, sophisticated, and elegant.

Silver is a precious metal and, like gold, often symbolizes riches and wealth. Silver is believed to be a mirror to the soul, helping us to see ourselves as others see us. As a gemstone silver represents hope, unconditional love, meditation, mystic visions, tenderness, kindness, sensitivities, and psychic abilities.

Silver affects the mind and body as a conductor and communicator that aids in public speaking and eloquence. Silver is believed to draw negative energy out of the body and replace it with positive energy.

Traditionally gray-haired seniors are viewed as just being old, while the phrase silver-haired traditionally describes a distinguished individual who is aging gracefully. Silver is the traditional twenty-fifth wedding anniversary gift. Silver together with turquoise and brown is often used in Southwestern artwork.

Other meanings associated with the color silver:

  • The phrase “silver screen” used in reference to movies and Hollywood.
  • The saying “silver-tongued” is used to describe a witty and eloquent speaker.
  • The term “pieces of silver” refers to money and coins.
  • The expression “silver-tongued devil” refers to an articulate speaker who is insincere and possibly a liar.
  • The phrase “silver spoon” is used as a descriptor for someone born wealthy who has never had to work for a living.

Additional words that represent different shades, tints, and values of the color silver: gun metal, gray, metallic grey.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my Silver Edition of the Kaleidoscope of Color Songs Series. There are quite a few songs with silver in the title. My playlist features my favorites. What are your favorite Silver songs?

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy.  Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.

This is a Blog Hop!