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Dick Greener
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Dick Greener

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A&M, 1973

Shine On Silver Sun

Release date: 7 Sep 1973 (UK). (Promo copies had a printed release date on the label of 31 Aug 1973, but the release was delayed by a week.)

"Shine On Silver Sun" was the Strawbs' comeback single after the disastrous break-up in Summer 1973. Dave took the new crop of band members down to Devon to work up new songs and existing material, then, as often was the case, into the studio to record a few numbers for possible single release. Recorded at the same time were "Just Love" (an old Dave Lambert/Fire number), "Where Do You Go (When You Need A Hole To Crawl In)" which made the B-side of "Hold On To Me (The Winter Long)".

The other track recorded then was probably the mini-epic "Why And Wherefore". This was in three parts - "Why", an old Cousins number (check out the early version on Preserves Uncanned) and "And Wherefore" with a short bridge in between. For some time this was only available in live format on the In Search Of The Heroine" bootleg, but the studio version was included on the UK Halcyon Days 2CD set. The version of "And Wherefore" which appears here is different however, with a long harmonica break (played by Lambert ?) instead of the (for once, not very impressive) electric guitar solo on the full studio version. So, either the single version was recorded and then merged with other fragments during the album sessions to make up "Why And Wherefore"; or the single version was an alternative take from those early sessions. The title suggests the latter.

The UK release was scheduled for 31 Aug 1973, but was delayed a week to 7 Sep 1973 - the promo singles were hurriedly stickered to reflect the new release date.

The new look Strawbs performed the song on Top Of The Pops and the single made 34 in the UK Charts, but failed to repeat the runaway success of "Part Of The Union".

Back to main 1973-1975 singles page

UK vinyl

"Shine On Silver Sun"/And Wherefore"
(AMS 7082), A&M, 1973)
UK promo release

"Shine On Silver Sun"/"And Wherefore"
(AMS 7082, A&M, 1973)
UK release

There seem to have been two printings of the labels for this release, which I can't readily explain - one would have thought after "Part Of The Union"'s runaway success, they have had enough confidence to print enough copies for this single's slower burn, reaching 34 in the UK charts for one week. Maybe they were cautious after the band breakup, and only pressed a small number at first, re-pressing after the song made the charts in the hope it would climb higher.

The differences are very tiny - the text above and below the A&M logo has different spacing, and on side 2, the song title and credits sit lower on the label. Must get out more ... when lockdown ends!

"red logo" release

Originally thought to be a UK mis-press, it turns out that this copy is a standard UK copy hand coloured with a felt tip pen!

US vinyl

"And Wherefore"/"Shine On Silver Sun"
(1476, A&M, 1973)
US release? (*)

The website On A&M Records lists this with the B-side first, with a US release catalogue number and 1973 release date. Never seen one so it may not have made it out the door.

Canada vinyl

Canada release? (*)

Haven't ever seen any trace of a Canadian release of "Shine On Silver Sun". Anyone seen one?

Europe vinyl

"Shine On Silver Sun"/"And Wherefore"
(12964, A&M, 1973)
German release

Rather dull grey cover, plain grey on the back.

"Shine On Silver Sun"/"And Wherefore"
(12964, A&M, 1973)
Dutch release

Same label number as the German release, but a more attractive cover, featuring the first promo photo of the new band, artfully arrayed in various posh jackets and ties (nice shoes too!) on a rather uncomfortable-looking podium draped with dark cloths. The picture was used for a splendid display poster, which I got from my local record shop when they'd finished with it, and went straight up on my wall for about 10 years! The cover of the single is the same on both sides, except for some wording (which also appears on the sleeves of the Dutch releases for "Shine On Silver Sun" and Hudson Ford's "Pick Up The Pieces") - "hoes: arno van ofsouw - amsterdam" (cover/sleeve by ..... ). Van Ofsouw was a prolific graphic designer in Netherlands - look him up on Discogs!

"Shine On Silver Sun"/"And Wherefore"
(AM 45052, A&M, 1973)
Italian release

A very similar, though not the same, photo as used above, further adapted by printing it the wrong way round!

Danish release?

Any sign of a Danish version?

Asia Pacific vinyl

"Shine On Silver Sun"/"And Wherefore"
(K 5275, A&M, 1973)
Australian release

Festival Records had the Australian franchise for A&M.

"Shine On Silver Sun"/"And Wherefore"
(AMK 5275, A&M, 1973)
New Zealand release

A plain release from New Zealand.

"Shine On Silver Sun"/"And Wherefore"
(AM 194, A&M, 1973)
Japanese promo release

A white label release with an insert and a "plate setting" King Records company sleeve, as well as a plain white sleeve and protective plastic sleeve.

Unusually, not a great insert on this occasion - the Japanese releases are usually very nice indeed. The lyrics, transcribed by the sound of it in a hurry, make for particularly bewildering reading:

The churchbells are on for the night
and rulers to say goodbye
The songs that treat year fell from
I gonna die.

"Shine On Silver Sun"/"And Wherefore"
(AM 194, A&M, 1973)
Japanese release ?

Did this release make it beyond promo status? Anyone got one?

Other vinyl

"Shine On Silver Sun"/"And Wherefore"
(AMRS 1073, A&M, 1973)
South African release

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