Sylvia’s Mother – Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show

Australian Charts:
Sylvia’s Mother hit no 1 on the Go-Set National Top 40 on 22 July 1972.

‘Sylvia’s Mother’ is autobiographical, with songwriter Shel Silverstein drawing upon his unsuccessful attempt to revive a failed relationship. Silverstein had been in love with a woman named Sylvia Pandolfi, but she would later become engaged to another man and end up as a museum curator at the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City. Desperate to continue the relationship, Silverstein called Pandolfi’s mother, Louisa, but she told him that the love had ended.’s_Mother

The band had two lead singers: Ray Sawyer (with the eye patch) and Dennis Locorriere. It was Locorriere, then 20 years old, who sang on this one, delivering the vocal with sincere sorrow. Many of Shel Silverstein’s songs for the band were works of comedy (“Roland the Roadie and Gertrude the Groupie,” “The Cover Of Rolling Stone), and Dr. Hook had a bawdy stage show that wasn’t to be taken seriously, so not everyone picked up that this was a serious song about heartbreak.


This song is also on our Spotify playlist.

Bang a Gong song list

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