"Different strokes for different folks"

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Sun May 2 03:21:31 UTC 2004

        Below are the words that I can remember of a R&B song entitled
"Different Strokes" that was briefly popular among blacks in Los
Angeles and, perhaps, elsewhere in the late '60's, when I was living
there. It was written, as far as I can tell, in 1967. In any case, it
definitely predates the song, "Everyday People," released in 1969 by
Sly and the Family Stone, which "crossed over" and popularized this
saying throughout the English-speaking world..

Mama stroke;
Papa, too.
A stroke for me,
A stroke for you.
A stroke for a woman,
A stroke for a man.
A stroke for the hunter;
A stroke for the game.
If you wanna stroke me,
Stroke me this-a-way.
Watch me do my stroke one time!
Watch me do my stroke two times!
Unh! Unh!
Watch me do my stroke three times!
Unh! Unh! Unh!
A true, true saying:
Different strokes for different folks.

The definition below was found via Google.

people should be individualized. The proverb also means that different
people have different tastes. Nobody knows exactly where the saying
comes from. Wolfgang Mieder thinks it originated in the United States
and traces 'different strokes' to Southern blacks in the 1950's." From
"Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y.
Titelman. New York: Random House, 1996.

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