#142 – I Got You Babe

I’m sure “I Got You Babe” is important to a ton of people in the baby boomer generation. But, it’s not important to me. “I Got You Babe” is interesting for it’s combination of swelling strings and chimes alongside some folk-rock motifs and optimistic love themes, but it is schmaltzy, and I bet it was pretty corny even more than 50 years ago. I wouldn’t even classify it as a show-stopper, though the interplay between the two at the end of the song gives it a little bit of a lift. Perhaps its fusion of genres and general accessibility made it such a hit back in the day, hitting #1 on August 14th, 1965, and staying on top for 3 weeks until the Beatles “Help!” displaced it.

This was the song that broke Sonny and Cher to the world, and boy, did they get a long run out of this one song. They had a number of top ten hits in the few years between this and 1967, selling a whopping 40 million records by the end of that year, but their fortunes took a tumble in the late 60s (being a light-hearted monogomous couple who didn’t take drugs at that time = limited chart success). They did have a comedy hour during the 70s (for some reason). Cher has always had a cult-following – I’m pretty sure she’s had 1 or 2 farewell tours in the past decade alone, and she is now considered one of only a few truly feminine icons of that time.

Fine, you know what, Cher is important to music, sure, I’ll give her that. She’s had a long, storied career, had a lot of success as a solo artist too, and she’s certainly a very important icon. But, Sonny? Surprisingly, Sonny got his hands into a lot of different pies – besides the comedy hour, and producing Cher’s solo career for a while, he became a member of the House of Representatives, had a critical say in copyright law/the Mickey Mouse law, and, at the very beginning of his career, worked directly with Phil Spector. So, maybe I’m not giving Sonny and Cher enough credit for this song, which does still stand as one of the biggest hits in a year full of undeniably classic songs. But, I still think it’s schmaltzy.


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