(You're) Having My Baby

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"(You're) Having My Baby"
Single by Paul Anka
Released June 1974 (U.S.)
Format 7"
Recorded 1974
Genre Soft rock
Length 2:32
Label United Artists Records 454
Writer(s) Paul Anka
Producer(s) Rick Hall

"(You're) Having My Baby" is a song written and recorded by Canadian singer Paul Anka. Recorded as a duet with female vocalist Odia Coates, the song became Anka's first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 15 years, since 1959's "Lonely Boy."

Song information[edit]

Anka, whose last chart-topping hit had been 1959's "Lonely Boy", had written the song for his wife and their four daughters while appearing at Lake Tahoe.[1] The song was going to be a solo effort by Anka, but the unknown Coates, whom Anka had met while on tour, was at the studio during the recording session. Upon suggestion by United Artists recording executive Bob Skaff, the song became a duet.[1] Released in late June 1974, "(You're) Having My Baby" climbed the chart and became Anka's third No. 1 song. A follow-up single "One Man Woman/One Woman Man", reached the Top 10 in early 1975.

Controversy[edit]

Despite its commercial success, the song has been criticised for its maudlin sentimentality[2] and perceived sexist undertones,[1] and has appeared in "worst song" lists. It was voted the #1 "Worst Song of All Time" in a poll conducted by CNN.com in 2006.[3] It was ranked at #48 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever by Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio, who remarked: "Way to make 'your' woman instantly regret deciding to embark on this wonderful adventure with you, buddy!"[4]

The song was also criticized for declaring the child was the man's, rather than the couple's. Anka defended his choice in a 1974 interview, saying, "it's not meant to alienate anyone. I could have called it 'having our baby', but the other just sounded better. It's not a male ego trip—my baby."[5] Anka did sometimes sing the line as "you're having our baby" while performing in concert.[6] While reviewing a 2005 concert, Dan MacIntosh of Popmatters noted that while Anka had "covered most of his career highlights", he had "wisely neglected to include 'You're Having My Baby.'"[7]

Others criticized a line stating that while the woman could have "swept it from [her] life", she had not because it was "a wonderful way of showing how much she loves him".[8] In response, Anka said the song was "a love song".[8] He also explained in 1974, "what I'm saying in the song is that there is a choice. The libbers will get on me; I can't help that. I am into the antihuman thing, and I do understand the other side of it. There are those who can't cope, and it's not in the cards for them to have kids. I'm a libber myself, in the sense that ... if you've got to abort, you do. Some people just can't cope."[5]

The National Organization for Women gave Anka the "Keep Her in Her Place" award during "its annual putdown of male chauvinism" in the media on Women's Equality Day.[9] Ms. magazine "awarded" Anka their "Male Chauvinistic Pig of the Year" award.[10]

Covers[edit]

Around the same time "(You're) Having My Baby" was climbing the Hot 100, a female country vocalist named Sunday Sharpe recorded a cover version called "I'm Having Your Baby." With lyrics altered to the female perspective but otherwise identical[citation needed] to Anka's version, "I'm Having Your Baby" peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in October 1974.[11]

The Coolies covered "Having My Baby" in 1986 on their first album, dig..? on DB Records. While Anka's version of "Having My Baby" received criticism, Coolies lead singer Clay Harper takes it to another level during a brief spoken interlude at the end of the song in which he reveals that she is not the only woman in town having his baby. Thus, he must leave town. The song was also covered on November 18, 2009 episode of Glee.

In other media[edit]

The song appears in the pilot episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, 'spun' by Dr. Johnny Fever to publicly indicate the station's music format changeover. The version is a recording performed by a church choir, which Fever announces to be "The Mormon Tabernacle Choir".

Along with Olivia Newton John's "I Honestly Love You", this song plays on Chief Brody's radio during the second shark attack in "Jaws", when Alex Kitner and Pippet the dog disappear beneath waves.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. 5th ed. New York: Billboard Publications. ISBN 978-0-8230-7677-2.
  2. ^ Caramanica, Jon (2010-04-08). "'Glee': Attitude, Yes, but Without a Song in Its Heart". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Leopold, Todd (2006-04-27). "The worst song of all time, part II". CNN. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  4. ^ Wilkening, Matthew (2010-09-11). "100 Worst Songs Ever—Part Three of Five". AOL Radio. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  5. ^ a b Nolan, Tom (1974-10-24). "Paul Anka: The Lonely Boy Grows Up". Rolling Stone. 
  6. ^ "Interview with Paul Anka". Arlene Herson. 2005-06-25. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  7. ^ "Paul Anka". Popmatters. 2005-07-22. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  8. ^ a b Proulx, Brenda Zosky (1982-08-13). "Paul Anka has a dark side - but he won't talk about it". The Gazette (Montreal). p. E-7. 
  9. ^ "People, Sep. 9, 1974". Time. 1974-09-09. Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  10. ^ Buck, Jerry (1986-02-20). "Singer sets sights off the road". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press (Fredericksburg, VA).
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2006). Joel Whitburn's Top Country Songs, 1944–2005. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research. ISBN 978-0-89820-165-9

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
August 24, 1974 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"I Shot the Sheriff" by Eric Clapton