About Silverhead

Just like every musical movement, the original glam rock era of the early '70s spawned both renowned artists (David Bowie, Alice Cooper, T. Rex, Slade, etc.) and bands that never caught on despite high hopes, such as Jobriath, the New York Dolls, and Silverhead. Comprised of Michael Des Barres (vocals), Rod Davies (percussion, vocals, guitar), Nigel Harrison (bass), Pete Thompson (keyboards, drums), and Stevie Forest (guitar, vocals), Silverhead signed on with Deep Purple's short-lived label, Purple Records, in the early '70s. The British quintet's self-titled debut was issued in 1972, with production chores handled by Deep Purple/future-Iron Maiden studio man Martin Birch. Judging from the album cover alone (which showed a dolled-up Des Barres, posing for the camera and wearing huge bell-bottom trousers), Des Barres was the band's leader and main focal point from the get-go. Armed with such T. Rex-esque song titles as "Long Legged Lisa," "Ace Supreme," and "Silver Boogie," Silverhead should have fit in perfectly with the genre's heavy hitters, but for reasons unknown, Silverhead's debut failed to catch on with the masses. Forest was replaced by Robbie Blunt for the group's sophomore effort, 1973's 16 and Savaged, but like its predecessor, it too failed to ignite the charts. An appearance in an unreleased movie called Arizonaslim failed to boost band morale, as Silverhead split up shortly thereafter, with a post-mortem live album being issued in Japan during 1976, Live at Rainbow. Harrison went on to be a member of another forgotten '70s rock outfit, Nite City, before signing on with new wave hitmakers Blondie, while Blunt would play on several solo releases by ex-Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant during the '80s. Des Barres also continued on, first as a member of the obscure outfit Detective, then as a solo artist and TV/movie actor, before landing a gig as Robert Palmer's replacement in the Duran Duran off-shoot group the Power Station. Although Des Barres never recorded with the band, it was the Des Barres-led version of the group that performed at the mammoth Live Aid benefit concert in 1985. In the late '90s, both Silverhead and 16 and Savaged were reissued on CD with remastered sound and extra bonus tracks, in addition to another live album being issued solely for the Japanese market, Show Me Everything. ~ Greg Prato

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