Guitarist and Educator Mickey Baker Dead at Age 87
Posted by Michael Mueller on November 28, 2012 at 9:23 AM
Guitarist Mickey Baker, famous for his 1956 hit "Love Is Strange," died today (11/28) at his home in Toulouse, France. He was 87.
Baker, a largely self-taught guitarist, was instrumental in pop music's shift in the 1950s, from R&B to rock 'n' roll. As a session player of that era, Baker played on such timeless tracks as "Shake, Rattle and Roll" (Joe Lynn Turner), "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" (Big Maybelle), and "Caldonia" (Louis Jordan). In 1956, inspired by the success of Les Paul and Mary Ford, Baker teamed up with one of his guitar students, Sylvia Robinson, under the moniker of Mickey & Sylvia. Their 1956 hit, "Love Is Strange," hit #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and #11 on the Hot 100. The song received new life 31 years later when it was prominently featured in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing.
In addition to his work as a recording artist and studio guitarist, Baker also wrote the Complete Course in Jazz Guitar, an early guitar instruction method that has over the years taught countless guitarists their first jazz chords and is still in print today.