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Album Review

If you looked at one of the Silver Convention's publicity shots in 1976, you would have seen a picture of vocalists Penny McLean, Ramona Wolf, and Rhonda Heath. But Michael Kunze and Silvester Levay were running the show. They founded the group and took care of the producing and songwriting — McLean, Wolf, and Heath were essentially there to carry out Kunze and Levay's ideas. And on the Silver Convention's third album, Madhouse, Kunze and Levay decided to play up the funkier elements in the group's Euro-disco sound. There are plenty of swirling strings on this 1976 LP, and the production is still ultra-slick. Even so, "The World Is a Madhouse," "Plastic People," and "I'm Not a Slot Machine" are among the Silver Convention's funkier offerings — certainly not funky in a Labelle or Pointer Sisters type way, but funky by the Silver Convention's Euro-disco standards. And on "Everybody's Talking 'Bout Love" (one of the group's best singles), Kunze and Levay sound like they're really trying to connect with fans of female northern soul groups like First Choice and the Three Degrees. Save Me remains the Silver Convention's most essential album, but Madhouse runs a close second.


Formed: 1974 in Munich, Germany

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s

Best remembered for their disco smash "Fly Robin Fly," the Munich, Germany-based ensemble Silver Convention was formed by producers Silvester Levay and Michael Kunze, debuting in 1975 with the LP Save Me and scoring a U.K. hit with the title track. After topping the American charts with "Fly Robin Fly," Levay and Kunze recruited a trio of vocalists -- Linda Thompson (not to be confused with the same-named singer and wife of guitarist Richard Thompson), Ramona Wulf, and Penny McLean -- who began appearing...
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Madhouse, Silver Convention
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