Friday, August 14, 2015

50 years ago: Sonny & Cher hit #1 with “I Got You Babe”

8/14/1965:
First posted 3/15/2021.

I Got You Babe

Sonny & Cher

Writer(s): Sonny Bono (see lyrics here)


First Charted: July 10, 1965


Peak: 13 US, 12 CB, 14 HR, 19 RB, 12 UK, 11 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.37 US, 0.77 UK, 2.14 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 32.5 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

When Sonny Bono met Cher, he was working as the West Coast promotion man for Phil Spector hiring musicians and backup singers. He brought the 16-year-old Cher in as a backup singer to work on classics like the Crystals’ “Da Doo Ron Ron,” the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” and the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” BR1

Spector produced one obscure single for Cher, but wasn’t interested beyond that so Bono borrowed some money and produced a session for her. She was nervous so she asked him to sing with her on “Baby Don’t Go.” Legendary label mogul Ahmet Ertegun was interested in the duo and they were signed to Atco Records. Their first single was the ballad “Just for You,” which failed to chart. However, the follow-up, “I Got You Babe,” turned the pair into stars. BR1

Bono wrote the song late at night in the basement of the couple’s Laurel Canyon home WK on a piece of cardboard. SF Cher told Billboard magazine “Sonny woke me up in the middle of the night to…sing it. And I didn’t like it and just said, ‘OK, I’ll sing it and then I’m going back to bed.’” SF After Bono changed to key to the bridge to better suit her voice, she loved it. SF

However, when they sent it to Ertegun, he wasn’t sold on it either, instead wanting to release “It’s Gonna Rain” as the single. Convinced that it was “Babe” that was the hit, Bono took it to Hollywood radio station KHJ. He made a deal with program director Ron Jacobs that he could have exclusive rights if he played the song once an hour. BR1 The reaction to the song convinced Ertegun to release “I Got You Babe” as the single. SF

It became their signature song and “a defining record of the early hippie countercultural movement.” WK Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines both named it one of the greatest duets of all time in 2011. WK


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Sonny & Cher
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 181.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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