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Silhouettes by Herman's Hermits

Album: Greatest HitsReleased: 1965Charted:
5
3
  • This song is about a guy who sees a couple kissing and fooling around. He sees their shadows through a closed curtain, and thinks that it's his girl cheating on him. He gets so upset at what he's watching he bangs on the door, only to find out he has the wrong house. He then rushes to the right house, and together he and his girl make their own shadows when they kiss. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nathan - Saint Peter, MN
  • This was written by Bob Crewe and Frank Slay, who also produced to original version, which was by a vocal group called The Rays. Their version reached #3 US in November 1957, the same month a competing version by a white group called The Diamonds reached #10.

    In 1965, the song was revived by Herman's Hermits, who were part of the British Invasion. Their version was the first to chart in the UK and was also a hit in America at a time when the band was wildly popular, with "Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter"
    and "I'm Henry The VIII, I Am" reaching #1.
  • In the book Behind The Hits, Bob Crewe told the story behind this song. Traveling to Philadelphia by train, he spotted a silhouette of a couple embracing inside a house at one of the stops. This gave him the idea for the song, and he worked on it the rest of the ride.

    Crewe owned a record company called XYZ with Frank Slay, who helped him write the lyric. They had The Rays record the song and took it to Hy Lit, a popular DJ at the Philadelphia radio station WIBG, who played the song on his show. Listeners loved it, and the song became a huge hit.
  • Herman's Hermits lead singer Peter Noone sang on this track, but the other band members didn't play on it. The session musicians brought in were:

    Vic Flick - guitar
    Big Jim Sullivan - guitar
    John Paul Jones - bass (yep, the guy from Led Zeppelin)
    Bobby Graham - drums
    John Carter and Ken Lewis - backing vocals
  • Jimmy Page, who was a session guitarist at the time and went on to form Led Zeppelin, played on this song. In an interview with the Forgotten Hits newsletter, Peter Noone, who was lead singer of Herman's Hermits, addressed the use of outside musicians on their recordings: "The Hermits played on the songs that they played well on. Sometimes other musicians played on tracks, mostly because the band's weakness was our drummer (the nicest guy in the band and therefore irreplaceable) because he had pretty unusual time and was therefore un-overdubbable (my word) so we started using Clem Cattini (Tornadoes) and Jim Page (Yardbirds), John Paul Jones, Herbie Flowers and whoever was around at the time. Lek is the guitarist on 'For Your Love' so you can see he was very good. Jim played on 'Silhouettes' and 'Wonderful World' and, once Karl Green faded, he was replaced on all the recordings by John Paul Jones, who also arranged almost everything and was our genius."
  • This song inspired the storyline of "No Reply," which John Lennon wrote for The Beatles.
  • Cliff Richard brought this song back to the UK chart in 1990 when his live version recorded at Wembley Stadium reached #10.
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Comments: 6

On September 26th 1957, the Rays performed "Silhouettes" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
Three days later on September 29th, 1957 it entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position #95; and on October 19th, 1957 it peaked at #3 {for 2 weeks} and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100...
It also reached #3 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
The song was co-composed by Bob Crewe, who passed away earlier this month on September 11th {2014} at the age of 83...
The N.Y.C. quartet had two other Top 100 records, and both had 'Moon' in their title; "Mediterranean Moon" {#95 in 1960} and "Magic Moon (Clair De Lune)" {#49 in 1961}...
On October 6th, 1957 Steve Gibson & the Red Caps’ covered version of "Silhouettes" entered the Top 100 at #97, it stayed on the Top 100 for 5 weeks, peaking at #63…
And October 27th, 1957 the Canadian quartet, the Diamonds, had their covered version entered the Top 100; eventually it peaked at #10 on the chart.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On December 1st, 1957 the Rays performed the original version of "Silhouettes" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show.' Also appearing on that night's Sullivan show were Buddy Holly & the Crickets and Sam Cooke.Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
(To Paul of Pompano Beach who commented earlier:) Bob Crewe did not "later" have monster success--his success writing for the Four Seasons (and others) had already been taking place for several years before this record was released. It is disputed whether Jimmy Page played on this record, and probably it was Derek Leckenby as remembered by members of the group. All in all, this is a great remake of the Rays' song, in that it was done in a completely different style than the original without burying the engaging qualities of the original song.James - San Diego, Ca
This song was written by Bob Crewe who later had monster success with the 4 Seasons and numerous other singers & bands.Paul - Pompano Beach, Fl
it's an ok version..Herman is always fun to listen to! But for me, the Rays verson gets my vote. Whoever the lead player was on Hermans's records(supposededly Derek Leckenby?)-he was a very cool player with a great sound.Steve Dotstar - Los Angeles, Ca
Herman's Hermits belong to the better groups of the 60's. I love this song just as I love their other songs. Sweet 60's, the best period of popmusic.Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
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