Sugar Baby Love

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"Sugar Baby Love"
Single by The Rubettes
from the album Wear It's 'At
B-side"You Could Have Told Me"
ReleasedJanuary 1974
GenreBubblegum pop,[1] glam rock[2]
Songwriter(s)Wayne Bickerton, Tony Waddington
Producer(s)Wayne Bickerton
The Rubettes singles chronology
"Sugar Baby Love"

"Sugar Baby Love", recorded in autumn 1973[3] and released in January 1974, is a bubblegum pop song, and the debut single of The Rubettes. Written by Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington and produced by Bickerton, engineered by John Mackswith at Lansdowne Recording Studios, and with lead vocals by Paul Da Vinci, "Sugar Baby Love" was the band's one and only number one single in the UK Singles Chart, spending four weeks at the top of the chart in May 1974.[4]

Recording details[edit]

Bickerton and Waddington had been writing songs together since they were both members of the Pete Best Four in Liverpool in the early 1960s. Their biggest success had been writing "Nothing but a Heartache", a US hit for The Flirtations in 1968.

In the early 1970s, they came up with the idea for a rock 'n' roll musical.[5] They co-wrote and produced a demonstration recording of "Sugar Baby Love", recorded October 1973 with "Tonight", "Juke Box Jive" and "Sugar Candy Kisses" (which became a hit for Mac and Katie Kissoon).[6] They originally intended to submit it for the Eurovision Song Contest but instead offered it to Showaddywaddy and Carl Wayne, who both turned it down.[7]

They then offered it to the demo musicians, provided that they would become an actual group. With the exception of the recording's lead singer, Paul Da Vinci, who had signed a solo recording contract with Penny Farthing Records. Surprisingly, only John Richardson, who played drums and spoke the "please take my advice," would sign up and later become a member of The Rubettes.[8]

"Sugar Baby Love" became a UK No. 1 hit in 1974, also reaching No. 37 and No. 30 on the US Billboard Hot 100[9] and Cashbox[10] charts, respectively. It also reached No. 1 in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium,[11] and No. 2 in Australia, South Africa and Italy.

Bickerton said:

"We had Paul DaVinci singing in that incredibly high falsetto voice and then a vocal group sings 'Bop-shu-waddy' over and over for about 3 minutes. Gerry Shury, who did the string arrangements, said, 'This is not going to work: you can't have a vocal group singing 'Bop-shu-waddy' non stop.' A lot of people said the same thing to us and the more determined I became to release it. The record was dormant for 6 or 7 weeks and then we got a break on Top of the Pops and it took off like a rocket and sold 6 million copies worldwide. Gerry said to me, 'I'm keeping my mouth shut and will concentrate on conducting the strings.'"[12]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly singles charts[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[13] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[14] 1
UK Singles Chart (The Official Charts Company)[15] 1

Later uses[edit]

  • It was covered by the Norwegian Jahn Teigen, and appeared amongst others on the album series called Treff-serien (The Meeting Series) in 1974.
  • The song was covered in Czech by Josef Laufer titled "Šumař Pépi" in 1974.
  • The song was covered in Czech by Karel Gott titled "Nic než láska tvá (Nothing but Your Love)" in 1974.
  • The song was covered in French by Dutch singer Dave, with the title "Trop beau", in 1974.
  • The song was covered in German by Mon Thys in 1974.
  • The song was covered in Japanese by Candies on their album Namida no Kisetsu (Season of Tears) in 1974.
  • The song was covered by Bulgarian vocal quartet Tonica in 1975. The cover, titled "Svetlina (Light)", was the B-side to Tonica's first single.
  • The song was covered in Japanese by Wink in 1988 and Yoko Ishida in 2001, the latter for the anime series A Little Snow Fairy Sugar; an English version by Ishida also appeared as a bonus track on the US version of her CD Sweets.
  • The song was used in the beginning of the 1994 Australian movie, Muriel's Wedding.
  • The song was covered in Portuguese by Sandy & Junior in 1995, titled as "Doce como mel". It was the 13th track on the album Você é D+!.
  • The song was covered in Cantonese by Gigi Leung, on the Cantonese version of the Japanese anime series A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, in 2003.
  • The song was also used in the beginning of the 2005 Irish film, Breakfast on Pluto.
  • In 2006, the song was used in the French-based AIDES campaign for safe sex aimed at homosexuals. The 3-minute video, directed by Wilfrid Brimo, was awarded a Silver Lion prize at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in June 2006.[16]
  • It is also used as the opening theme for the Greek satirical TV show, Radio Arvyla since 2008.
  • The song's hook was used in The Auteurs' 1999 song sharing the band's name "The Rubettes".[17]


  1. ^ Jorge Farah (28 May 2013). "Beatific Visions of Pop: "Sugar Baby Love" by The Rubettes | Every -ist and Every -ism". Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 2014-03-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Biographies | Alan Williams | John Richardson | Mick Clarke | Tony Thorpe | Bill Hurd | Peter Arneson". Rubettes. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 300–1. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "". Archived from the original on 11 November 2009.
  6. ^ Rowett, Alan (1994). The Rubettes Story (First ed.). London: Alan Williams Entertainment Ltd. p. 27. ISBN 0952377209.
  7. ^ Bruce Eder. "Wayne Bickerton | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  8. ^ Paul Da Vinci, biography by Mark Deming, Retrieved 25 August 2014
  9. ^ "Archive". Billboard. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  10. ^ "". Archived from the original on 18 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Song artist 727 - The Rubettes". Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  12. ^ John Kutner and Spencer Leigh, 1000 UK Number One Hits, Omnibus Press, 2005, ISBN 978-1-84449-283-1
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 245. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Rubettes" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  15. ^ "Official Charts > The Rubettes". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  16. ^ [1] Archived 8 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Cover versions of Sugar Baby Love by The Rubettes". Retrieved 10 October 2016.

External links[edit]