British singer Lorraine Silver issued just two singles – neither of which was a hit at the time – but she later found popularity on the northern soul scene when her pounding Lost summer love was rediscovered.
She was born in London in 1952 and raised in west London.
In 1965, at the age of 13, she recorded a version of Brian Hyland’s Sealed with a kiss in a booth in a branch of Woolworth’s on Oxford Street, central London. She took the disc to Pye Records – home of such stars as Sandie Shaw and Petula Clark – and asked that somebody listen to it.
Two months later she was offered an audition with the label and given a contract.
The search began for a song for her to record. It was decided that she should cut a cover of an American hit. The Marvelettes’ I’ll keep holding on was lined up for her but it was switched at the last minute for a Shelley Fabares song, Lost summer love. The original was a ballad but Lorraine’s version cranked up the speed and gave it a very British stompy sound. Another Fabares cover, I know you’ll be there, was picked for the B-side.
Issued at the end of 1965, Lost summer love received a decent amount of airplay and Lorraine was all set for an appearance on the top TV programme Ready steady go! when the Overlanders – who had the same agent as Lorraine – were given the spot instead. Their Michelle became a big hit, while Lost summer love disappeared. It later became a regular spin on the northern soul dance circuit.
The happy faces, backed with a version of The Supremes’ When the lovelight starts shining thru his eyes, was released as the follow up in 1966. However, it too failed, and Lorraine found herself without a contract and back at school.
Using her married name, Lorraine West, she began performing cabaret and took part in the ITV talent show New faces in the 1970s. Later she performed with two friends in the group Mixed Blessings.
In the late 1980s she learned of her popularity on the northern soul scene and began appearing at club nights.
In 2004, she recorded her first album, The northern soul sessions, which featured updated versions of both sides of her two 1960s releases and, finally, a version of the Marvelettes song she’d almost recorded 40 years earlier, plus other dance floor favourites.
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