With Just A Hint Of Amelia

Princess Amelia reads a Strawberry Letter

Posted on: February 13, 2012

Dearest Princess Amelia there is a day every year that celebrates love. It is known as St Valentine’s Day and it happens on February 14th. In honour of that day, which is celebrated in most kingdoms across the world, including Godderwil I thought that you might like me to use your February blog post to bring you a different love song each year. I have chosen one of my favourite love songs to start with.

It’s a story about a letter, but not just any old letter. This one is a stawberry letter, but not just any old strawberry letter. This one is Strawberry Letter 23. The title doesn’t really sound like a love song though does it? But it is very much a love song. It was written in 1972 by Shuggie Otis about his girlfriend at the time. She used to write him letters on strawberry scented paper. By the time you can read this for yourself you may not know what a letter is, well it’s like an e mail where the keyboard is actually your hand and a pen and the screen is a piece of paper. The song is about how much Shuggie is looking forward to receiving the 23rd strawberry scented letter from his girlfriend.

Shuggie plays guitar

It appeared on Shuggie’s album ‘Freedom Flight‘ which was released in 1972. That was way back in the olden days when I was a new teenager, your Daddy was still in short trousers, your Mummy was just starting school and Aunty Catherine was learning to speak Welsh. Sadly Shuggie’s version of the song was never a big hit. The Brothers Johnson recorded a cover version of the song in 1977 and they did have a hit with it. Their version reached number 35 in the UK (including Godderwil) and number 5 in the US charts. It was also a chart topper in the US R & B charts. They found the song when George ‘Lighnting Licks’ Johnson (one of the brothers along with Louis) was going out with one of Shuggie Otis’ cousins. He loved the song and persuaded his brother to record it with him. They even had Shuggie play the guitar solo on their first recording of the song, although sadly on their hit version Shuggie’s solo was replaced by one from Lee Ritenour.

The Brothers Johnson

Shuggies name is actually Johnny Alexander Veliotes, Jr. he was named after his Daddy Johnny Otis who was a very famous musician who sadly passed away at the grand old age of 90 earlier this year. So we can see where the Otis part of his name comes from, but what about Shuggie? Well according to his Mummy Phyllis Shuggie was short for sugar, because he was a sweet baby I presume.

The Brothers Johnson Again

The song has been sampled by many artists including Beyonce on her song “Be With You” from her 2003 album ‘Dangerously In Love‘. But my favourite use of a sample of the song is in Outkast’s fabulous song “Ms. Jackson” another one of my all time favourites. I will leave you for now to continue living happily ever after in Godderwil and until next time I hope you enjoy Shuggie Otis’ version of the song followed by the Brothers Johnson’s version. I reckon you might just do a little dance to that one. As a special Oncle Bill bonus you can also hear Outkast performing “Ms Jackson” along with the Brothers Johnson’s other two US R & B number ones; “I’ll Be Good To You” from 1976 and “Stomp” from 1980.

Remember to always dance like nobody’s watching and even if e mail is easier always write some things down 🙂

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1 Response to "Princess Amelia reads a Strawberry Letter"

[…] “Strawberry Letter 23″ composer Shuggie Otis wrote the tune about his girlfriend at the time (1972), who used to write him letters on strawberry-scented paper[With Just A Hint Of Amelia] […]

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