Album: Look At Us
. . .
One of the most indelible memories of my childhood was watching The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour in the early 1970s. And while it’s probably not the first place I heard “I Got You Babe,” which was a AM radio staple, it was where the song got drilled into me, as at the end of every episode, Sonny & Cher would sing it to each other.
In retrospect, they were probably protesting too much, saying “look at us!! we’re a happy couple” when as we all know, the situation on the ground was totally different, as the series ended when they got divorced in 1974 (and then revived as The Sonny & Cher Show in 1976 because $$$$$). Anyways, besides the weekly duet of their biggest song, the only other thing I remember was they debuted an animated video for Jim Croce’s “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” that now seems problematic, to say the least.
In any event, I’m not sure how much I need to describe “I Got You Babe,” outside of the utterly amazing performance from Hal Blane on the drums, who navigates the 3/4 time with thunder and aplomb. Or how, as a singer, Sonny Bono was an OK songwriter. Cher, of course, knocked it out of the park, and it was the first of the #1 hit singles she would have. The others were, of course, “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves,” “Half-Breed” & “Dark Lady,” and “Believe,” which was 33 years later.
By that time, of course, Cher was an icon, famed for being fearless and outspoken, not to mention talented enough to be a 75% EGOT winner as well. And while she probably won’t get a Tony at this late date, the list of the awards she’s been nominated for — and won — is amazing. Sonny Bono, of course, was the Mayor of Palm Springs and became a GOP Congressman as part of the Contract On America. He, of course, died in 1995 in a skiing accident.
But, all of that was in the future in 1965. What strikes me about “I Got You Babe” now is the ragged looseness of the whole thing: while it is absolutely insanely catchy, 1965 was the exact right time for a folk-rock duet to top the charts. Which, it of course, it did.
It, of course, has been covered about a zillion times, including in the punk era — Joey Ramone & Holly Beth Vincent, Chrissie Hynd & UB40, and my favorite: Handsome Dick Manitoba & Andy Shernoff. Your mileage may vary.
“I Got You Babe”
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