The records of Lorraine Silver are prized by girl group and Northern soul collectors alike -- not bad for a 13-year-old Jewish kid from London. Born in 1942, she began her recording career in 1965 while on holiday break from school; during a shopping trip to the Oxford Street district, Silver -- in her teens, already a veteran of the talent show circuit -- entered a Woolworth's record booth, depositing two shillings and cutting an a cappella rendition of "Sealed With a Kiss." Within two months of dropping off the acetate at Pye Records' London offices, she was offered a record contract, making her official debut with an up-tempo rendition of the Shelley Fabares hit "Lost Summer Love." Featuring Beatles associate Klaus Voorman on bass, the resulting single -- a classic dancefloor stomper ideally suited to Silver's preternaturally powerful and soulful vocals -- became a British chart smash, and the teen singer enjoyed a brief flurry of fame.
Silver's career quickly took a downturn, however -- scheduled for an appearance on the TV program Ready, Steady, Go, at her managers' insistence she was replaced by their firm's other current chart act, the Overlanders. When the follow-up single "The Happy Faces" failed to receive a significant promotional push, a disillusioned Silver retired from performing to return to her school career; she did not resurface publicly until the 1970s, touring cabarets under her married name Lorraine West. In the meantime, Silver's original recording of "Lost Summer Love" became a major favorite of Northern soul crowds, and without her knowledge, the single was reissued on the Casino Classics label, selling in excess of 12,000 copies. Still unaware of her resurgent popularity, she toured as a member of the vocal group Mixed Feelings during much of the 1980s, only learning of her cult following in 1988 when her husband spotted "Lost Summer Love" discussed in the pages of Blues & Soul Magazine. In the years to follow, Silver regularly appeared at the Northern soul weekends at Caister Holiday Park. ~ Jason Ankeny