The group was initiated in Munich by producers and songwriters Sylvester Levay and Michael Kunze. The group was named after Levay, “Silver” being Levay’s nickname. Kunze had in the late 1960s been a pop lyricist who wrote protest songs in German; when these tunes went out of style, he began producing pop records and commercials. Levay had developed a taste for American music while growing up in Yugoslavia, eventually becoming a music arranger and lyricist.
Using female session vocalists Linda G. Thompson, Penny McLean, & Jackie Carter for their first recordings, they scored a successful single in the United Kingdom in 1975 with the song “Save Me”, which peaked at #30. They were only a studio group, and realized then that they would need to find professional entertainers for presentation to the public.
As Silver Convention they scored two major U.S. and Canadian hit singles. “Fly, Robin, Fly,” of which the complete lyrics consisted of only six different words (Fly, Robin, Up, To, The, Sky), maintained three weeks at #1 in late November and early December 1975, and won the group a Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in December 1975. Initially the song was titled “Run, Rabbit, Run”, changed by the writers moments before the recording took place. Their next success “Get Up And Boogie”, which also consisted of only six different words (Get, Up, And, Boogie, That’s, Right), hit #1 in Canada on June 15, 1976, had 3 weeks at #2 in the U.S in June 1976 and also peaked at #7 in the UK, in May 1976. Their next release, “No No Joe,” only scored #60 in September 1976. The further singles released by the trio attempted to duplicate the sound that had made them successful briefly, but they were only minor successes. At this time, Linda G. Thompson left the group and was replaced by New Yorker Rhonda Heath, who was chosen over other hopefuls at an open casting call to become the newest singer for the group.
Michael Kunze wrote the lyrics on the first two albums under the pseudonym Stephan Prager. During this time the three singers released their own solo work. McLean and Thompson achieved hit singles with “Lady Bump” and “1, 2, 3, 4 … Fire!”, and “Ooh What a Night” respectively. Wulf’s solo effort was only a moderate success.
Silver Convention represented Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest 1977 with “Telegram”, finishing eighth. The entry had only English lyrics (with considerably more words than their past hits), but was allowed to enter in spite of the language rule being reintroduced this year, because the song was chosen to represent Germany before the reintroduction was announced. In 1994, Rhonda Heath returned to Eurovision, providing backing vocals and keyboards for the German entry “Wir Geben ‘Ne Party” performed in German by Mekado. This entry did better than Silver Convention’s effort, finishing third out of the 25 entries in Dublin.
With a new producer (John Davis), and a revised line-up of singers (Suzie McClosky aka Zenda Jacks, Rhonda Heath and Ramona Wulf), Silver Convention was successful again during 1978 with the album Love in a Sleeper. The 12″ single release from the LP was “Spend the Night With Me” backed with “Mission To Venus”.
Levay also worked with Giorgio Moroder, and Kunze began work with Jim Steinman. The solo careers of the three singers ended quickly and they left the music industry, since interest in the disco scene was declining during this period. Levay and Kunze later collaborated on the successful Vienna productions of the musicals Elisabeth, Mozart! and Rebecca.