Mickey & Sylvia was an American R&B duo formed by Mickey Baker and Sylvia Vanderpool, who later changed her name to Sylvia Robinson. They are most known for their 1957 number one R&B single “Love Is Strange.”
Baker and Vanterpool began working together on recordings in 1954. They debuted as Mickey & Sylvia on Rainbow Records in 1955 before signing with Groove Records, where they became the label’s first big seller. Willow Records was later founded by the duo. Although Mickey and Sylvia split up in 1958, they reformed in 1960 and continued to record together infrequently until 1965, when Baker went to France.
Mickey Baker, a music instructor, was inspired by the success of husband-and-wife musical combo Les Paul & Mary Ford to form a duo with one of his students, Sylvia Robinson, in the mid-1950s. In 1954, they released “Fine Love” as “Little” Sylvia Vanterpool with Mickey Baker and His Band on Cat Records as “Little” Sylvia Vanterpool with Mickey Baker and His Band.
In 1955, Baker and Vanterpool issued their first single, “I’m So Glad,” as Mickey & Sylvia on Rainbow Records. In 1956, they recorded for RCA label subsidiary Groove Records. Vanterpool was inspired by his song “Love Is Strange” while performing with Bo Diddley at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. Mickey and Sylvia recorded their own version with his permission. In November 1956, their single was released. In January 1957, it became their biggest hit, topping the US R&B chart and peaking at No. 11 on the US pop chart. The RIAA gave the record a gold disc after it sold over one million copies.
Mickey and Sylvia recorded for Vik Records in 1957. In 1957, they charted two more singles, “There Oughta Be A Law” and “Dearest.” Mickey and Sylvia split up in 1958 because Vanterpool decided to pursue a solo career. Vanterpool married Joseph Robinson in 1959 and used the name Sylvia Robinson after that. Kitty Noble, a singer, took her position. Mickey & Kitty recorded three records on Atlantic Records in 1959. In 1959, Baker released his debut solo album, The Wildest Guitar.
Hugo and Luigi reunited Mickey and Sylvia after a two-year sabbatical at RCA Victor in 1960. They also founded a publishing company. Willow Records, distributed by King Records, was created in 1961, and produced the hits “Lovedrops” and “Baby You’re So Fine.” They contributed to Ike and Tina Turner‘s hit single “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” that year. Robinson produced and played guitar on the single, while Baker portrayed Ike Turner. Ike and Tina Turner received their first Grammy Award nomination for the song. Ike Turner wrote the song “He Gave Me Everything,” which was released in 1962 as a B-side single to “Since I Fell For You.”
In 1962, in his first paid session performance, now-legendary drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie played on a second studio version of “Love Is Strange.”
Baker released a successful solo instrumental album, The Wildest Guitar, after the group separated. He relocated to France in the 1960s and collaborated with a number of French musicians. Baker died on November 27, 2012, at the age of 87, at his house in Montastruc-la-Conseillère, France. Sylvia Robinson scored a hit record with “Pillow Talk” in 1973 and was a leading role behind the formation of the Sugar Hill rap label. Robinson passed away in 2011 at the age of 76.
“Love Is Strange” (in its 1956 version) was later included in films such as Dirty Dancing, Badlands, and Casino, and was frequently reproduced (for example, on Paul McCartney‘s third post-Beatles album Wild Life). The Everly Brothers made the song a UK smash in 1965. In 1967, Peaches and Herb scored a success with their interpretation. In 2004, “Love Is Strange” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Genre Is Mickey & Sylvia?
Mickey & Sylvia were an American R&B duo, best known for their song “Love Is Strange”. The group consisted of Mickey Baker on guitar and Sylvia Robinson on vocals.
When Was The Five Keys Most Popular?
The Five Keys were most popular in the early to mid-1950s. The group’s biggest hit was “The Glory of Love”, which reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart in 1952. The group continued to have success with other singles, such as “My Prayer” and “Close Your Eyes”, but by the late 1950s their popularity had begun to decline. The group disbanded in the early 1960s, but reunited briefly in the 1970s.
Is Mickey & Sylvia In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
No, Mickey & Sylvia are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
What Is Mickey & Sylvia’S Best Album?
The answer may surprise you, but it is actually their self-titled debut album, Mickey & Sylvia. This record includes the song “Love Is Strange”, which is often cited as one of the greatest R&B songs of all time. It is a timeless record that still sounds fresh and relevant today. If you are looking for an album that will make you feel good and get your groove on, then this is the one for you.