This is a song that’s grown on me over the years. Can’t say I cared for it when it first came out in ’72 (I was only 13) but it’s the kind of song that grows on you the older you get and the more life adventures you go through … if you know what I mean. Plus, until I did some research for this post, I never realized it was written by Shel Silverstein. Yes THAT Shel Silverstein, the author of some popular children’s books, among other things. At first this seems like a novelty song, especially given the way Dr. Hook approaches most of its music. But then, I don’t know, you can really hear the pain in this guys voice, especially from an era when once Sylvia is gone, he will likely never be able to find her again. And then, of course, the operator keeps butting in, asking for more money. Oh the agony.
Love it or hate it (the song did make it all the way up to #5 on the Billboard charts!), here’s “Sylvia’s Mother” by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show from 1972.