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 written by Sonny Bono. It was the first single taken from the debut studio album Look at Us, of the American pop music duo Sonny & Cher. In August 1965, their single spent three weeks at number 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 number 1 in the United Kingdom and Canada. In 1985, a cover version of "I Got You Babe" by British reggae/pop band UB40 featuring American singer Chrissie Hynde, peaked at number one in the UK Singles Chart and reached number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. A 1993 version by Cher with Beavis and Butt-head bubbled under the Hot 100 chart.

Sonny & Cher version[edit]

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 played drums for the song with other members of The Wrecking Crew supplying instrumental support.[2] "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. These effects are purposely part of the instrumental arrangement by African-American musician Harold Battiste.[3][4] The alternating vocals alternate between the two singers and if neither were interesting singers, their plodding, matter-of-fact performances gave the song a common-man appeal.'[5] Bruce Eder highlighted the song on their 1965 Look at Us album.[6]

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 2011, Billboard reported the digital sales of "I Got You Babe" to be 372,000 in the US.[7]

In 2011, the song was named as one of the greatest duets of all times by both Billboard and Rolling Stone magazine.[8][9] It was also listed at #444 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004.

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.[10][11][12] Cher performed the song with R.E.M. on February 14, 2002, at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.[13] It was her first performance of the song without Sonny.[14] 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 (dead) for the first time since 1987.

In popular culture[edit]

"I Got You Babe" has been frequently featured in film and television, including Sonny and Cher's own The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. The song made a bit of a comeback when it was used repeatedly as Phil Connors' alarm clock wake-up music in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day. On re-release, the single re-charted in the UK, reaching number 66.

Chart performance[edit]

Cher with Beavis and Butt-head version[edit]

"I Got You Babe"
Single by Cher with Beavis and Butt-head
from the album The Beavis and Butt-head Experience
Released December 1993
Format CD, Maxi single
Genre Pop, rock, heavy metal
Length 4:00
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Sonny & Cher Bono
Cher singles chronology
Many Rivers to Cross
(1993)
"I Got You Babe"
(1993)
It Ain't Necessarily So"
(1994)

Background[edit]

In 1993, Cher recorded a cover version of "I Got You Babe" with the American animated characters Beavis and Butt-head. The song was the first single from The Beavis and Butt-head Experience, a compilation comedy album released in 1993 by the Geffen Records, which is one of the fastest selling comedy albums and has officially sold 1,610,000 units and was certified 2x Platinum by the RIAA in the United States.[46][47] AllMusic reviewed this song by calling it "most interesting" track on the album.[48] The single reached the top 40 in the UK, Belgium and Sweden, as well as the top ten in the Netherlands.

Music video[edit]

A funny and psychedelic video was produced which got a lot of MTV airplay. It featured Cher and Beavis and Butt-head in a virtual animated world. In the video, the animated pair refer to her former husband Bono as a dork and a wuss, to which Cher agrees. It was placed at number 5 on the "50 Greatest Funny Moments in Music" list made by VH1 channel in 2004.

Track listings[edit]

  1. Cher With Beavis And Butt-Head – I Got You Babe (4:00)
  2. Sonny & Cher – I Got You Babe (3:12)

Chart performance[edit]

Other versions[edit]

The song has been frequently covered, including versions by:

Movies and television[edit]

  • In a fifth season episode of the CBS sitcom Good Times, Michael Evans (Ralph Carter) and Penny Gordon (Janet Jackson) perform the song, mimicking a performance from The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.[60]
  • In The Golden Girls fifth-season episode "An Illegitimate Concern", Sophia (Estelle Getty) and Dorothy (Bea Arthur) dress up as Sonny and Cher, respectively, to rehearse for a mother-daughter talent show, singing "I Got You Babe" while Rose (Betty White) accompanies them on the piano. The episode aired February 12, 1990. Bea Arthur often said later in interviews that this was her favorite moment from the series run.
  • In a Full House episode, Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) has Michelle (one or both of the Olsen Twins) sing "I Got You Babe" as they strum on their respective guitars.
  • In the Sabrina The Teenage Witch episode "What's News", Sabrina and cat Salem Saberhagen dress as Sonny and Cher to sing "I Got You Babe" in an effort to get her boss and his wife to stop fighting.
  • In Harold Ramis's film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, it is this song to which the main character awakes each repetitive morning on the clock radio.[61]
  • Britney Spears appeared on the British comedian Frank Skinner's show and performed the duet with the host.
  • In Quest for Camelot, Devon and Cornwall sang the last part of "If I Didn't Have You" and Cornwall sang "I Got You Babe".
  • Another episode of The Frank Skinner Show featured the incongruous pairing of Ron Jeremy and Mo Mowlam.
  • Then-married Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson close The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour special, already very much in the style of Sonny and Cher, singing the duet.[62]
  • The Rolling Stones donned costumes and lip synched to the original version of the song in a 1965 special taped for Ready Steady Go! .[62]
  • New York City-based television show Duets with Deni (also carried on the internet) which regularly features local songwriters and musicians, Deni Bonet and Robyn Hitchcock sing the song from Deni's apartment.[62][63]
  • In the Eli Stone episode "I Want Your Sex", in a vision of the title character, Taylor Wethersby (Natasha Henstridge) and Matt Dowd (Sam Jaeger) sing it. It is later revealed that Matt's cat was named Sonny Bono.
  • In Delta Farce (2008), Sgt. Kilgore (Keith David) is forced to sing "I Got You Babe" with the villain Carlos Santana's gay nephew, Ruben (Joe Nunez).
  • In the Boy Meets World (1999) episode "Cutting The Cord", Shawn (Rider Strong) sings the song with his new girlfriend in a karaoke contest.
  • In an episode of Blossom, Blossom dreams that she and Anthony are homeless on the street and playing the song for passers-by when Sonny Bono, in a cameo appearance, angry that they stole his song, takes away the money people tossed into their cup.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily", after Ned Flanders and wife Maude adopt the Simpson children, they sing a lyrically altered version to Maggie: "They say your folks can't pay the rent/ So we're watching you by act of government/ Well, I don't know if the allegations are true/ But you got us and baby we got you/ Babe, we got you babe."
  • In the Histeria! episode "Tribute to Tyrants", a cartoon version of Cher sings a similar song with Atilla the Hun, called "Me Got You Hun".
  • In the Ugly Betty episode "In or Out", Betty Suarez and Daniel Meade sing a karaoke version.
  • In Better Off Ted episode "Change We Can't Believe In", Ted and Veronica sing the song over the newly installed PA system.
  • In the Mad Men season 4 finale, set in October 1965, the original recording played over the final scene of Don Draper lying awake in bed in his Greenwich Village apartment with his new fiancee Megan asleep at his side and continued to play during the closing credits.
  • In series 2, episode 4, of American Dad!, Roger wakes up via his alarm clock to "I Got You Babe". He proceeds to get drunk and destroy his television.
  • Appears in the film Me Without You (2001).
  • In the Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Hot Number Affair", the song plays under the scene where Sonny and Cher appear on screen together for the first time.
  • In the episode "Chicago Hope" of Home Improvement, Tim and Jill sing "I Got You Babe" on a karaoke machine in Chicago.
  • In the Misfits episode seven of season three, Seth's alarm clock plays "I Got You Babe".
  • In the episode of House "We Need the Eggs," Park and her friend are singing the song together at the end.
  • In the episode of Step by Step, "Locket Man," Rich sings "I Got You Babe" to reclaim Dana's affections in a restaurant. As the credits roll, the two are shown dressed as Sonny and Cher singing the duet.
  • In the 2011 movie Jack & Jill, a shortened version plays over the opening credits.
  • In the American remake of Les Visiteurs, Just Visiting; Andre and Angelique drive towards Las Vegas while the song ends and cuts to black, ending the movie.
  • In the episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Love Car Displacement," Bernadette and Howard begin to sing "I Got You Babe" as a duet.[64]

Games[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]