I Got You Babe

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"I Got You Babe"
French 7-inch single cover
Single by Sonny & Cher
from the album Look at Us
Released July 9, 1965
Format 7" single
Recorded 1965
Genre Baroque pop
Length 3:11
Label Atco
Writer(s) Sonny Bono
Producer(s) Sonny Bono
Certification Gold (US)
Sonny & Cher singles chronology
"Love Is Strange"
(1964)
"I Got You Babe"
(1965)
"The Letter"
(1965)
Alternative covers

"I Got You Babe" is a song by the American pop music duo Sonny & Cher and the first single from their first album Look at Us. In August 1965, the single spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States[1] where it sold more than 1 million copies and was certified Gold. It also reached #1 in the United Kingdom and Canada. The song was placed at #444 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of all time.

Background and composition[edit]

Sonny Bono, a songwriter and record producer for Phil Spector, wrote the lyrics to and composed the music of the song for himself and his then-wife, Cher, late at night in their basement.[citation needed] Session drummer Hal Blaine performed the drums for the song. "I Got You Babe" became the duo's biggest single, their signature song, and a defining recording of the early hippie countercultural movement.

Allmusic critic William Ruhmann praised the song: 'Recalling Dylan's bitter 1964 song "It Ain't Me Babe" (soon to be a folk-rock hit for the Turtles), Bono wrote his own opposite sentiment: "I Got You Babe." Where Dylan was lyrically complex, Bono was simple: His lyric began with the ominous youth-versus-grownups theme of "they" who set up barriers to romance, but soon gave way to a dialogue of teenage romantic platitudes. Where Dylan was musically simple, however, Bono, without fully rebuilding Spector's Wall of Sound, was more structurally ambitious, following the song's standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus form with an ascending coda that built to a climax, then started building again before the fadeout, all in only a little over three minutes. Set to waltz time, the tune retained a light feel despite the sometimes busy instrumentation, led by a prominent oboe, and the alternating vocals of the two singers. If neither Bono nor Cher were interesting singers, their plodding, matter-of-fact performances gave the song a common-man appeal.'[2] Bruce Eder highlighted the song on the "Look at Us" album.[3]

In the United States, the song has sold more than 1 million copies in 1965 and was certified Gold by the RIAA. As of November of 2011, Billboard reported the digital sales of "I Got You Babe" to be 372,000 in the US.[4]

Live performances[edit]

Sonny and Cher last performed the song together during an impromptu reunion on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman on November 13, 1987.[5][6][7] Cher performed the song with R.E.M. on February 14, 2002, at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.[8] It was her first performance of the song without Sonny.[9] During Cher's 2014 Dressed to Kill Tour using left behind vocals and a projection of videos of Sonny, Cher performed the song live with Sonny for the first time since 1987.

Charts and certifications[edit]