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Love Is Strange

"Love Is Strange" was a 1958 Top 40 hit for Mickey and Sylvia[?]. The song features a sinuous guitar riff and provocative byplay between Mickey and Sylvia as well as a Latin American beat and a strong melodic hook. The role of the lead guitar, the bright recording technique, and the lush melody had an influence that can be clearly heard in many more modern rock songs, notably "Day Tripper" and other guitar-driven Beatles songs. If recorded today, it might be called power pop.

In addition to its musical quality, the song is remarkable as an instance of convergence. Although only a one-hit wonder, the recording was touched by, or touched, a large number of important people and musical trends, even down to a dispute over authorship.

Mickey was Mickey Baker[?], guitarist on dozens of rock and roll hits and many recordings, considered the "go to" session guitar player of the 1950s and early 1960s. Sylvia was Sylvia Vanderpool[?], formerly billed as Little Sylvia Vanderpool, who became in the 1980s the impresario behind Sugar Hill[?] records and a major force in the emergence of rap music. The song was written by Bo Diddley, but credited to his wife, allegedly to switch his royalties away from Chess records[?]. It seems likely, however, that another reason was to protect his royalties from Jody Williams[?], his former guitarist, who had developed the distinctive lead riff. Williams had recorded the riff earlier on a song called "Billie's Blues" for Billie Stewart[?]. Williams was never compensated and eventually the song, much more than just a riff, ended up being owned by Bo Diddley, Baker and Vanderpool. Buddy Holly adopted the riff and melody for his own "Words of Love".

In 1967, the duo Peaches and Herb[?] had Top 40 success with their own cover version of the song.



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