Mickey & Sylvia

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The duo in 1956.

Mickey & Sylvia was an American R&B duo,[1] composed of Mickey Baker and Sylvia Vanterpool, who later became Sylvia Robinson. They were the first big seller for Groove Records.[2]

Mickey was a music instructor and Sylvia one of his pupils. Baker was inspired to form the group by the success of Les Paul & Mary Ford. They had a Top 20 hit with "Love Is Strange" in 1956, which sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.[3] The duo eventually bought their own nightclub, established a publishing company, and formed their own record label. Although Mickey & Sylvia disbanded by the end of the 1950s, they continued to record together on an infrequent basis until 1965, when Mickey quit the music industry in the United States. A second studio recording of "Love Is Strange" in 1962 featured now-legendary drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, who was 18, on his first paid session gig.[4][5] "Love Is Strange" would be featured (in its 1956 version) in movies like Dirty Dancing, Badlands and Casino, and would be covered many times.

After the duo split, Baker recorded a successful instrumental solo album, The Wildest Guitar. He moved to France in the 1960s, where he worked with various French musicians. Baker died at his home in Montastruc-la-Conseillère, France on November 27, 2012, at the age of 87.[6]

Sylvia Robinson had a hit record in 1973 with "Pillow Talk," and was subsequently a driving force in the creation of the Sugar Hill rap label. Robinson died in 2011, at the age of 76.[7]


Year Title Chart positions
1957 "Love Is Strange" 11 1
"There Ought To Be a Law" 47 8
"Dearest" 85
1958 "Bewildered" 57
1960 "This Is My Baby 100
"What Would I Do" 46
1961 "Lovedrops" 97
"Baby You're So Fine" 52 27


  1. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
  2. ^ Shaw, Arnold (1978). Honkers and Shouters. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. pp. 460–466. ISBN 0-02-061740-2.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 84. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. ^ "Jazz Articles: Mickey Baker: A Tough Customer Who Never Lost His Edge - By Tom Reney — Jazz Articles". Jazztimes.com. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  5. ^ Gershuny, Diane. "Bernard Purdie: The Session Legend - DRUM! Magazine - Play Better Faster". DRUM! Magazine. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  6. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Mickey Baker biography". allmusic.com. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  7. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Sylvia Robinson biography". allmusic.com. Retrieved January 16, 2014.

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