Silver Threads among the Gold

DESCRIPTION: "Darling, I am growing old, Silver threads among the gold Shine upon my brow today; Life is fading fast away; But, my darling, you will be... Always young and fair to me." The singer describes how (his) belove will grow old, but he will love her anyway
AUTHOR: Words: Eben Eugene Rexford (1848-1916) / Music: Hart Pease Danks (1834-1903)
EARLIEST DATE: 1873 (sheet music published by Chas. W. Harris of New York)
KEYWORDS: love age nonballad
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (5 citations):
RJackson-19CPop, pp. 194-197, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (1 text, 1 tune)
Geller-Famous, pp. 1-4, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 259, "Silver Threads Among The Gold" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, p. 501, "Silver Threads Among the Gold"
DT, SILVTHRD*

ST RJ19194 (Full)
Roud #6403
RECORDINGS:
Henry Burr, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (Victor 19131, 1923)
Fiddlin' John Carson, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (OKeh 45488, 1930)
Andrew Jenkins & Carson Robison, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (OKeh 45246, 1928)
Frank & James McCravy, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (Brunswick 197, 1928; rec. 1927)
McMichen's Melody Men, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (Columbia 15247-D, 1928; rec. 1927)
Marie Narelle, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (CYL: Edison 9162, 1905)
Riley Puckett, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (Columbia 405-D, 1925)
Royal Hawaiians, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (Broadway 8100, c. 1930)
Will Oakland, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (CYL: Edison [BA] 1547, n.d.)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Sweet Genevieve" (theme)
cf. "When You and I Were Young, Maggie" (theme)
SAME TUNE:
At the Boarding House (Silver Threads; While the Organ Pealed Potatoes) (File: DTbordho)
The Old Toiler's Mesage (Gibbs M. Smith, _Joe Hill_, 1969 (I use the 1984 Peregrine Smith Books edition), p. 254)
NOTES: Jackson notes, "The fashionable message of the song -- that romantic love remains always young even though bodies wrinkle and age -- was apparently lost on Danks's wife; she left the forty-year-old composer the year after 'Silver Threads' appeared."
This was the only song by Rexford (1848-1916) that amounted to anything in its original form (but see "Bill Vanero (Paul Venerez)" [Laws B6]; also, according to John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), p. 1587, he produced a number of minor hymns published by Ira D. Sankey in the late 1870s) -- but it by itself was enough to cause monuments to be erected to him in both his birthplace in New York and his primary place of residence in Wisconsin.
Danks (1834-1903) spent much of his life trying to make a career of music; he composed several other melodies and several stage pieces -- but, again, none of them amounted to anything.
According to James J. Geller's Famous Songs and their Stories, this collaboration came about in a curious way: Rexford was editing a Wisconsin farm magazine and, needing a space filler, threw in one of his poems. Danks saw it, thought it worth setting to music, and sent Rexford a small sum to purchase the rights. That song went nowhere -- but Rexford responded by sending Danks much of his other works. Among those songs was "Silver Threads." Danks supplied music, and the two had the only hit they would ever produce- RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: RJ19194

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.