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Mickey Baker: 5 Funky Facts About ‘Love Is Strange’
Posted By Patrick Kiger On December 3, 2012 @ 1:42 pm In Legacy | No Comments
The famed rock critic Dave Marsh once called Mickey Baker “the first great rock and roll guitarist.” While that might offend fans of such better-known stars as Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry, there’s a certain amount of truth to the hype. In the 1950s, Baker was a sought-after studio musician, playing on R&B records such as the Drifters’ “Money Honey,” Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” and Big Maybelle’s “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On,” and his aggressive, riveting solos influenced generations of rock bands.
But for Baker, who died on Nov. 27 at age 87 at his home near Toulouse in Southern France, is known mostly for 1956’s “Love Is Strange.” The jangly, hypnotic single, which he recorded with Sylvia Vanderpool Robinson under the moniker Mickey & Sylvia, became a million-seller and reached number one on Billboard’s R&B chart. But Baker’s lone big hit went on to have an extended afterlife, in which it was covered by artists ranging from the Everly Brothers and Paul McCartney to Kenny Rogers. It appears on the soundtrack of the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, and most recently, the guitar and chorus was sampled by Pitbull for his song “Back in Time,” from the 2012 movie Men in Black 3.
Here are some facts about one of the most influential singles of all time, and the man behind it.
Photo: Roland Godefroy
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