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"
Released January 1974
Recorded 1973
Genre Bubblegum pop,[1] glam rock[2]
Length 3:31
Label Polydor
Songwriter(s) Wayne Bickerton, Tony Waddington
Producer(s) Wayne Bickerton
The Rubettes singles chronology
"Sugar Baby Love"

"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]