This song has been going around and around for the better part of a month. I almost posted it before, but let it sit instead. In the time that it’s been on hold, I found out some more cool things about the song.
First, it was written by Shel Silverstein, he of The Giving Tree, Where The Sidewalk Ends and so many other cartoons, books, albums, you name it.
It’s based on a true story. From the article on Songfacts;
In the song, Sylvia’s mother is Mrs. Avery, and while that wasn’t her real last name, the rest of the story – exaggerated a bit – was true. Silversteen told Rolling Stone in 1972: “I just changed the last name, not to protect the innocent, but because it didn’t fit. It happened about eight years ago and was pretty much the way it was in the song. I called Sylvia and her mother said, ‘She can’t talk to you.’ I said, ‘Why not?’ Her mother said she was packing and she was leaving to get married, which was a big surprise to me. The guy was in Mexico and he was a bullfighter and a painter. At the time I thought that was like being a combination brain surgeon and encyclopedia salesman. Her mother finally let me talk to her, but her last words were, ‘Shel, don’t spoil it.’ For about ten seconds I had this ego charge, as if I could have spoiled it. I couldn’t have spoiled it with a sledge hammer.”
It’s interesting to know that it was based on a true story because I always thought it could happen to me!
Dr. Hook is one of my favorite musicians. His style (and by that I mean the Medicine Show since there is no real Dr. Hook) has always intrigued me. And of course, the crazy hit (also penned by Shel Silverstein) The Cover Of ‘Rolling Stone is absolutely hysterical! And it did land them on the cover. Although only in caricature.
But back to our song, Silvia’s Mother. I found two very humorous articles about the song. The first is from UnNews.
4 October 2008
Sylvia’s mother, Mrs. Avery, who famously prevented her daughter from continuing her relationship with eyepatch-wearing boyfriend Dr Hook, admitted yesterday to lying during the famous telephoneconversation.
For the first time in over 35 years, she came clean about the call that ended forever hopes of a reunion between Hook and Sylvia.
Yes, Sylvia’s mother lied. What a surprise.
The second is from Ultimate Classic Rock. The article linked is an excerpt from Dear Mr. Pop Star, by English father-and-son team Derek and Dave Philpott. This is a collection of Monty Python-like letters to artists and witty responses from a large number of targets. The book follows the project’s online success over the past 10 years. It’s a “letter” written to Dr. Hook advising him what he should have done during the infamous phone call. The reply is written by Dr. Hook frontman Dennis Locorriere. It’s quite entertaining. (Hint: Click the link above to read it…).
So that’s all I have for this entry. Please enjoy the video, I have a feeling some folks may have never heard this track before.
Oh yeah, please leave your comments here if you can. Thanks!