Singer, songwriter, producer and recording executive Sylvia Robinson passed away this morning of congestive heart failure. She was 75.
Robinson, then known as Sylvia Vanterpool, first came to public attention in 1956 as one half of Mickey & Sylvia. That year, they recorded a Bo Diddley song called “Love is Strange” which would earn the duo a Gold Record.
She would eventually marry record mogul Joe Robinson and spend most of her musical career working behind the scenes. Robinson co-wrote “Love is a Two-Way Street” which became a hit for The Moments in 1970. Three years later, Robinson scored a solo hit with “Pillow Talk” complete with sensual vocals. She had written the song with Al Green in mind but the soul singer had recently undergone a religious conversion and declined to record it.
Robinson is perhaps best known for co-founding Sugar Hill Records with her husband Joe in the late 1970s. She was responsible for producing The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rappers Delight” and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “The Message” which were two of the earliest rap songs to hit the Billboard charts.