Shel Silverstein

Shelby Allan " Shel " Silverstein ( born September 25, 1930 in Chicago, † 10 May 1999 Key West ) was an American songwriter, musician, composer, writer, poet, cartoonist and author of children's books. He was also known as Uncle Shelby.

Singer- songwriter

Silverstein's musical work includes numerous songs that were hits by other artists. He wrote 25 Minutes to Go and A Boy Named Sue for Johnny Cash, who won a Grammy for the latter in 1970. Cash called the song " the most cleverly written song I've ever heard ." One's on the way was a hit for Loretta Lynn and The Unicorn Song of 1968 became the flagship of the Canadian- Irish folk band "The Irish Rovers " and is still popular worldwide in Irish pubs, even though he be neither something with Ireland or with Irish culture has to do.

Silverstein wrote most of the songs the group Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show as Cover of the Rollin 'Stone, Freakin ' at the Freakers ' Ball and Sylvia 's Mother. He also has a lot of songs for Bobby Bare written (eg: Marie Laveau, Rosalie 's Good Eats Cafe, Mermaid, The Winner and Tequila Sheila ). The song The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, who was taken in 1979 by Marianne Faithfull and later also used in the film Thelma & Louise, also comes from Silverstein as Queen of the Silver Dollar from Emmylou Harris ' 1975 album Pieces of the Sky. In addition, he has recorded in 1995 with the folk musician Bob Gibson Album Makin ' A Mess (Of Commercial Success).

During his brief career as a producer, he wrote with David Mamet on the screenplay for the feature film Things Change - More luck than judgment, and was nominated for the written for Postcards from the Edge song " I'm Checkin 'Out " for an Oscar. He also composed music for several other films and showed his musical versatility in these projects: he played guitar, piano, saxophone and trombone.

"Playboy " - children's book and screenplay writer

Silverstein began in late 1956 as a writer, photographer and cartoonist for the magazine Playboy. He lived a long time at the Playboy Mansion. Acquaintance he is today as the author and illustrator of his Children's literature, the following volumes include: The Story of the Missing Piece Missing Piece meets Big O, light in the attic, where the sidewalk ends, Rauf favor and the bountiful tree. He also wrote Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book, a satirical pseudo - children's book, and wrote Different Dances, a picture book with wordless comics for adults.

Silverstein was convinced written words would be read on a suitable plant for matching paper. He let his poems and stories only publish if he could even specify the type, size, shape and color of the paper. Occasionally he wrote colloquial poetry, such as a Rapversion of Shakespeare's Hamlet, which was published in 1998 in Playboy on yellow- beige special paper. In 2005 appeared Silverstein's Runny Babbit Book, in which each poem and each illustration from a Schüttelreim there.

Silverstein claims to have never read poems of others and therefore developed his own style. His style was loose and conversation -like, sometimes to the point of profanity and the use of current slang.

Awards, appreciations and death

Shel Silverstein was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The Canadian band Silverstein named after him.

Silverstein died in 1999 in Key West from a heart attack.


  • Hairy Jazz ( Elektra Records ) ( 1959)
  • Shel 's Stag Party ( = Hairy Jazz ) ( 1961)
  • Inside Folk Songs (Atlantic Records) (1962 )
  • I'm So Good That I Do not Have To Brag ( Cadet Records) (1965 )
  • Drain My Brain ( Cadet Records) (1967 )
  • Boy Named Sue And Other Country Songs (RCA Records) (1969 )
  • Inside Shel Silverstein ( = Inside Folk Songs ) ( 1970)
  • Crouchin 'On The Outside ( Janus Records ) (= DOLP edition of I'm So Good ... and Drain My Brain ) ( 1973)
  • Songs & Stories ( Parachute Records) (1978 )
  • The Great Conch Train Robbery ( Flying Fish Records) (1980 )
  • Where The Sidewalk Ends (Columbia Records) (1984 )
  • A Light In The Attic (Columbia Records) (1985 )
  • The Best of Shel Silverstein: His Words His Songs His Friends (Columbia Records ) (2005 ) ( posthumous)
  • Under Waterland ( with Pat Dailey ) (Olympia Records) (2002) ( posthumous)

Film scores

  • Ned Kelly ( 1970)
  • Who is Harry Kellerman? ( Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? ) ( 1971)
  • Payday (1972 )
  • Thieves (1977 )
  • The Oscar-nominated song I'm Checkin 'Out for Postcards from the Edge ( 1990)

Books (selection)


  • " Things Change " - " ... the path to happiness " (1988 ) ( with David Mamet )