One Hit Wonder: Mickey & Sylvia (1956)

Love Is Strange
Single: Mickey & Sylvia
B-side: I'm Going Home
Released: November 1956
Recorded: October 1956
Genre: Rock & roll, rhythm & blues
Songwriter: Ethel Smith

Mickey & Sylvia were the American R&B duo Mickey Baker and Sylvia Vanderpool. Mickey, a music teacher, formed a team with Sylvia, one of his pupils; their only hit was "Love Is Strange" in 1957. In 2004, "Love Is Strange" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Bo Diddley

This song was written by Bo Diddley. Due to a legal dispute with his record company, he published it under the name of his wife, Ethel Smith, Bo's version can be found on I'm a Man: The Chess Masters, 1955-1958

Mickey & Sylvia

Mickey & Sylvia made drastic changes to the song. Bo Diddley's call-and-response portion becomes 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 piece quite memorable and was incredibly racy for the time. 

Covers & Films

Buddy Holly released a version of this song in June 1957 as "Words Of Love." It didn't chart. His next single, "Peggy Sue," became his first hit. In the UK, The Everly Brothers' 1965 version hit number 11. Peaches & Herb took this song to number 13 in the US in 1967. But it's always the 1956 version featured in movies like Badlands, Casino, and Dirty Dancing.


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