She Called Me Baby

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"He Called Me Baby"
Single by Patsy Cline
from the album That's How a Heartache Begins
B-side Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey
Released 19 September 1964
Format 7"
Recorded 7 February 1963
Genre Country
Length 2:41
Label Decca 10062
Writer(s) Harlan Howard
Producer(s) Owen Bradley
Patsy Cline singles chronology
"That's How a Heartache Begins"
(1974)
"He Called Me Baby"
(1964)
"Just a Closer Walk With Thee"
(1965)
"She Called Me Baby"
Single by Charlie Rich
from the album She Called Me Baby
B-side Ten Dollars and a Clean White Shirt
Released September 1974
Format 7"
Recorded 1964 or 1965
Genre Country
Length 2:27
Label RCA Records 10062
Writer(s) Harlan Howard
Producer(s) Chet Atkins
Charlie Rich singles chronology
"I Love My Friend"
(1974)
"She Called Me Baby"
(1974)
"Something Just Came Over Me"
(1975)

"She Called Me Baby" is a country song written in 1961 by Harlan Howard which despite a number of recorded versions did not appear in the Top 20 of the C&W chart in Billboard until 1974 when a mid-60s recording by Charlie Rich was belatedly released to reach #1 C&W.[1] In its female version, "He Called Me Baby", the song was a Top Ten R&B hit for Candi Staton in 1971.

C&W versions[edit]

"She Called Me Baby" was first recorded by the song's composer Harlan Howard for his September 1961 album release Harlan Howard Sings Harlan Howard. The track was released as a single in January 1962 and became a breakout hit in Texas where, according to his widow Melanie Howard, Harlan Howard spent two weeks doing promo before returning home to Nashville and refusing to do further promotion re his singing career as it interfered with his primary musical focus: songwriting.[1] Jan Howard - then married to Harlan Howard - recorded the first female version of the song: "He Called Me Baby" in a 30 April 1962 session at Columbia Recording Studio (Nashville);1 the track was featured on Jan Howard's Sweet and Sentimental album released that October.

Patsy Cline recorded the song as "He Called Me Baby" in a February 1963 session at Columbia Recording Studio (Nashville). Cline had begun recording tracks for an album to be entitled Faded Love on 4 February 1963; "He Called Me Baby" was one of four tracks cut on 7 February 19631 in what would prove to be Cline's final recording session. After Cline's death on 5 March 1963 Decca Records elected not to release the Faded Love album instead including Cline's final tracks on two 1964 album releases, the second of which: the 2 November 1964 release That's How a Heartache Begins, featured "He Called Me Baby" which track had been given single release that 19 September to reach #23 on the C&W charts in December 1964, becoming Cline's final C&W Top 40 hit until 1980.

Three months after Cline's "He Called Me Baby" ended its run in the C&W Top 50 Carl Smith brought "She Called Me Baby" onto that chart for the first time; Smith's version - cut 14 December 1964 at Columbia Recording Studio (Nashville)1 - rose as high as #32. "She Called Me Baby" next charted in November and December 1972 when Dick Curless took his version to #54 C&W.

The song has also been recorded - as "She Called Me Baby" - by Eddy Arnold, Bobby Bare, Glen Campbell, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Mickey Gilley, Ferlin Husky, Waylon Jennings, John D. Loudermilk, Ernest Tubb and Sheb Wooley; and as "He Called Me Baby" by Jessi Colter (A Country Star is Born), Skeeter Davis, Bobbi Martin, Melba Montgomery and Dinah Shore.

Charlie Rich[edit]

Charlie Rich recorded "She Called Me Baby" at one of a series of sessions produced by Chet Atkins at RCA Victor Studio in Nashville which occurred between March 1964 and February 1965.1 Like many Atkins-produced tracks of this era, "She Called Me Baby" featured choral backing and strings, a style prominent on other Rich recordings of the time.

Rich's version of "She Called Me Baby" went unreleased as an album cut or single until after Rich had his star breakout in 1973, when he scored million-sellers with "Behind Closed Doors" and "The Most Beautiful Girl." That run of success continued into 1974, when several of his older recordings made during his tenures at RCA, Mercury and Sun records — "She Called Me Baby" included — were released as singles to C&W radio.

Released in September 1974 — around the time his Epic single "I Love My Friend" was peaking in popularity — "She Called Me Baby" reached #1 on the Billboard C&W chart dated 7 December 1974. "She Called Me Baby" was Rich's fifth #1 C&W hit in 1974 alone and his seventh #1 C&W hit overall.[1]

R&B versions[edit]

"He Called Me Baby" entered the R&B charts for the first time in December 1968 via a recording by Ella Washington made for Nashville-based R&B label Sound Stage 7. Recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Washington's "He Called Me Baby" was only a moderate R&B hit (#38) but crossed-over to the Billboard Hot 100 (#77) and earned Washington a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance - Female.

Candi Staton's Stand By Your Man album - cut at FAME Studios with studio owner Rick Hall producing - included a version of "He Called Me Baby" issued as a single concurrently with the album's release in December 1970. Staton's version of "He Called Me Baby" - which Harlan Howard's widow says the composer "loved"[2] - reached #9 R&B in February 1971. Indie band One Eskimo sampled this version for their 2009 song "Kandi".

Nancy Wilson remade "He Called Me Baby" for her 1975 album Come Get to This; released as a single the track reached #74 R&B.

Chart performance[edit]

Patsy Cline[edit]

Chart (1964) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 23

Carl Smith[edit]

Chart (1965) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 32

Dick Curless[edit]

Chart (1972) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 55

Charlie Rich[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 47
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 41
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 88
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary 35
Preceded by
"Back Home Again"
by John Denver
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

December 7, 1974
Succeeded by
"I Can Help"
by Billy Swan
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

December 28, 1974
Succeeded by
"We're Over"
by Johnny Rodriguez

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 289.