Gypsy Woman

Album: The Impressions (1961)
Charted: 20

Songfacts®:

  • Written by lead singer Curtis Mayfield, this song is about a man who is part of a traveling caravan who falls in love with a gypsy they encounter along the way. Mayfield was probably inspired by the Western movies he enjoyed.
  • To the best of our knowledge, this is the biggest hit featuring castanets, which keep the rhythm and play to the gypsy theme.
  • This was the first song The Impressions recorded without Jerry Butler, who fronted the group in the '50s but left for a solo career. Curtis Mayfield kept working with Butler as a guitarist and songwriter, and when Mayfield wrote "Gypsy Woman," he regrouped The Impressions and recorded the song with them, taking over for Butler as their frontman. The song was a hit and The Impressions soon became regular chart-dwellers, racking up 30 more Hot 100 entries in the '60s.
  • According to Curtis Mayfield, it was the group's manager Eddie Thomas (who named the act, telling them "you gotta make an impression"), that got this song onto the radio. Thomas would personally stop by radio stations and peddle the song. He got some takers in Philadelphia, and when the song got some attention in that market, it took off elsewhere.
  • In 1970, this became the last hit for Brian Hyland, when he took the song to #3 in the US. Hyland's biggest hit was "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Leslie - Sherbrooke, QC

Comments: 8

  • Mary Helen from HomeThe song, Little Darlin' sounds like they use castanets in the original by the Gladiolas and maybe in the cover by the diamonds, which reached #2 in 57 or 58. Have a listen: https://youtu.be/Qy62EBb9tTg https://youtu.be/dxeWZ-zkBUg
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 21st 1961, the Impressions performed "Gypsy Woman" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #37 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and thirteen days later on December 4th, 1961 it peaked at #20 {for 2 weeks} and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #2 {for 1 week} on Billboard's R&B Singles chart; and the week it was at #2 the #1 record for that week was "Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes...
    Between 1958 and 1987 the soulful group had forty-six records make the R&B Singles chart; sixteen made the Top 10 with four reaching #1, "It’s All Right" in 1963, "We're A Winner in 1967, "Choice of Colors" in 1969, and "Finally Got Myself Together" in 1974.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 7th 1970, Brian Hyland performed "Gypsy Woman" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #18 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and twenty-two days later on November 29th, 1970 it peaked at #3 {for 2 weeks} and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100...
    It also made the Top 10 in Australian; it reached #9 on the Kent Music Report chart...
    Between 1960 and 1971 he had twenty-two Top 100 records; three made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" for 1 week in 1960...
    Brian Hyland will celebrate his 71st birthday in five days on November 12th {2014}.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhThis is a fabulous oldies song that I've loved ever since I heard Brian Hyland's version in 1970 when I was 12 years old. In my mind, I'd pretend I was this alluring gypsy woman and there was some awesome, good looking guy completely fascinated by me. I remained a free spirit for many years and that's why I related to the gypsy in the song. I love when it comes on the car stereo.
  • Jon from Scotland, United KingdomBoth versions are brilliant - and there are others who have done "Gypsy Woman" too - but IMO, Brian's version was the best. A great "summer" anthem of old.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyBruce Springsteen performed this song once, with various artists, on March 1st, 1994 at Radio City Music Hall, Los Angeles, CA, during the 36th Grammy Awards ceremony. A studio version by Bruce was also recorded and included in Feb 1994 on the 'All Men Are Brothers: A Tribute To Curtis Mayfield tribute album,
  • Farrah from Elon, NcI like both versions, but I think Brian Hyland's version is the best.
  • Bruce from La Verne, CaThe Brian Hyland version of Gypsy Woman was produced by the late Del Shannon
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