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Mickey 'Guitar' Baker dies at age 87



Mickey & Sylvia star Mickey 'Guitar' Baker has died at age 87.

The guitarist, real name MacHouston Baker, passed away at his home in Toulouse, France, on Tuesday.

Baker was best known for the 1956 hit "Love Is Strange," which he recorded with Sylvia Vanderpool.

Find: 'Love Is Strange' videos

The tune enjoyed a huge revival three decades later when Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey lip-synced their way through it during the famous seduction scene in "Dirty Dancing."

Baker was also renowned for his session work. He worked on thousands of songs in the 1950s, and played on seminal recordings including "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" by Ike and Tina Turner and "Shake, Rattle and Roll" by Big Joe Turner.

Born in Louisville, Ky., Baker was placed in an orphanage at the age of 11 but kept running away, and finally set up home for himself in New York, where he took guitar lessons.

He moved to France in the mid-1960s.

Baker also authored a popular instruction book, "The Complete Course in Jazz Guitar."

His former partner, Vanderpool, died last year.

Nov 30, 2012 10:44AM
When you hear the guitar riff from 'Love Is Strange', you immediate know it. That was unique! RIP Mickey.
Nov 29, 2012 7:41AM

Got his guitar book a couple of years after I started playing in the 70's.  Although I was more into rock than jazz, his book had so many cool chords and progressions that it really helped me expand my horizons a bit.

Never associated the author of the jazz guitar book with the song, very cool.

Thanks for the great book and song Mickey, you'll always be with me.

Rest in peace.

Nov 29, 2012 6:56AM
I've heard the song before but never knew it was by Mickey Baker and Sylvia Vanderpool. In fact this is the first time I've ever seen their pictures. And yes, love is STRANGE. Anyway, RIP Mickey Baker and Sylvia Vanderpool.
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