Friday, August 14, 2015

Today in Music (1965): Sonny & Cher hit #1 with “I Got You Babe”

I Got You Babe

Sonny & Cher

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

First Charted: July 10, 1965

Peak: 13 US, 12 CB, 13 GR, 14 HR, 19 RB, 12 UK, 11 CN, 3 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 44.74 video, 185.84 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In 1963, Salvatore “Sonny” Bono was working as the West Coast promotion man for Phil Spector hiring musicians and backup singers. He met a 16-year-old Cherilyn Sarkisian at a coffee shop in Hollywood RC and brought her 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’.” FB

Spector produced one obscure single for Cher (as Bonnie Jo Mason on “Ringo I Love You”) 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, a division of Atlantic 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. FB

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. FB The reaction to the song convinced Ertegun to release “I Got You Babe” as the single. SF

It became Sonny & Cher’s signature song and “a defining record of the early hippie countercultural movement.” WK The “hippie-lovers duet” TB veers “into protest song territory [as the] two mid-sixties long-hairs shrug away the world’s antipathy by reminding one another it doesn’t matter what anyone else says about the length of their hair or the cut of their clothes. They have each other and that’s all that matters.” DT

Sure, those proclamations of love from the “doltish Sonny and cloddish Cher” DM are “noisy and misshapen…[but] they’re also and essence of what rock and roll brought to pop music that hadn’t been there before: a sense of…fun and possibility, a willingness to reach for effects and worry about decorum later, an understanding of where to find the sublime amidst the trivial.” DM In 2011, Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines both named it one of the greatest duets of all time. WK


First posted 3/15/2021; last updated 4/26/2024.

No comments:

Post a Comment