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Love Is Strange by Mickey & Sylvia

Album: Love Is StrangeReleased: 1956Charted:
11
  • This song was written by Bo Diddley, but he published it under the name of his wife, Ethel Smith, due to a legal dispute with his record company. His version can be found on I'm a Man: The Chess Masters, 1955-1958. The song is about the complexities of love - how it can be addictive and lead to madness.
  • Mickey & Sylvia are McHouston "Mickey" Baker and Sylvia Robinson (at the time, she was Sylvia Vanderpool). Their version was a drastically different take on the song, turning Bo Diddley's call-and-response portion into a conversation between Mickey and Sylvia. The spoken word portion of the song where Mickey asks, "How do you call your loverboy?" and Sylvia responds, "Hey, Loverboy," made the song quite memorable and was especially racy for the time. The coy sexuality of this portion helped advance the stoylines of several famous movies, including the 1972 adult film Deep Throat, the 1973 movie Badlands, and the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, where the main characters played by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey mimed the song to each other.
  • This was the only hit for Mickey and Sylvia, but Sylvia had a #3 US hit in 1973 with "Pillow Talk," where she effectively simulates an orgasm. More significantly, she started Sugarhill Records and put together The Sugarhill Gang, who had the breakthrough Hip-Hop hit "Rapper's Delight."
  • Buddy Holly released his version of this song in June, 1957 as "Words Of Love." It didn't chart, but his next single was "Peggy Sue," which became his first hit. In the UK, The Everly Brothers 1965 version hit #11. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • Peaches & Herb took this song to #13 in the US in 1967. Other artists to record the song include Sonny And Cher, Everything But The Girl, Buck Owens and Susan Raye, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Paul McCartney, Betty Everett, and Connie Francis.
  • Mickey Baker of Mickey & Sylvia died in 2012 at age 87. He was one of the great guitarists of his time, playing sessions in the '50s for many artists, including The Drifters and Joe Turner. He taught Sylvia how to play guitar, and the duo hit the US Hot 100 eight times, the last in 1961 with "Lovedrops" (#97). While Sylvia continued as a solo artist, Mickey moved to France and played Jazz.
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Comments: 5

I seem to remember that in the early 1960s Mickey & Sylvia released a song titled "Love Will Make You Fail In School", does anyone recall this record???Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
I had never heard of this song until I heard it in the Martin Sheen/Sissy Spacek film "Badlands".Joel - Columbia, Sc
Parts of this song were included in the New York Dolls song "Trash." They say "How do you call your loverboy?" and then at the end they sing "Baby, oh baby, my sweet baby, you're the one." I happen to like that song better than this one but that's just my preference.Marissa - Akron, Oh
Besides forming the first successful hip hop record label (Sugarhill), Sylvia wrote and produced such #1 r&b hits as the million-selling "Love On A Two Way Street" by the Moments and the early disco classic "Shame Shame Shame" by Shirley and Company. Mickey wrote one of the first ever instruction books on playing jazz guitar which is still in print today. This book, simply titled JAZZ GUITAR is considered the ultimate book in learning how to play this style of guitar music.John - Nashville, Tn
Paul and Linda McCartney's group Wings released a cover version of this song in their first (first as a group, but third as McCartney solo)album "Wings Wild Life" in 1971, and is mainly sung by Linda, the only song of the eight performed on it not written by McCartney.Jorge - Mexico, Mexico