Friday, March 19, 2004

100 years ago: “Silver Threads Among the Gold” hit #1

Silver Threads Among the Gold

Richard Jose

Writer(s): Hart Pease Danks (music), Eben E. Rexford (lyrics) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: February 6, 1904

Peak: 14 US, 30 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Silver Threads Among the Gold” was published in 1873 and became a barbershop quartet standard. WK It was the most frequently recorded song of the acoustic recording era WK from the 1890s to 1925. More than a hundred versions were recorded from 1903 until the Great Depression. TY2 In 1932, the song won a poll by New York’s WABC AM radio station as listerners’ favorite song, even though it was 60 years old. WK

A 1930 article in The New York Times said the love ballad, “which has stirred the hearts of more than one generation, was not the inspiration of an aging poet but a ‘re-hash’ produced on order.” WK Eben E. Rexford wrote poems for flower and garden magazine articles. He sold some verses called “Growing Old” for $3 when he was 18. When composer H.P. Danks, who’d written “Silver Threads,” wrote to Rexford requesting lyrics for a song, Rexford revised “Growing Old.” WK

Danks paid Rexford $3 for the resulting “Silver Threads Among the Gold,” which Rexford wrote for his wife. TY2 Danks turned around and sold the sentimental ballad to publishers, meaning he failed to capitalize on its future success. TY2

The first known recording was by Richard Jose in 1903. In 1904, his version reached #1. Other chart versions followed by Will Oakland (#4, 1909), John McCormack (#6, 1912), and Charles Adams (#10, 1915). Others who have recorded the song include Henry Burr (1905), Bing Crosby (1947), Jerry Lee Lewis (1956), George Ots (1958), Tapio Rautavaara (1967), and Jo Stafford (1969). WK The song was used in the Mae Mwest movie musical She Done Him Wrong in 1933. TY2


First posted 12/14/2022.

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