Monday, September 06, 2010

"I Got You Babe" (1965)

73. Sonny & Cher, "I Got You Babe" (July 31, 1965, #1, 3 wks.)

YES, I say, Sonny & Cher's goopy first hit retains its charms, in spite of the sure knowledge we have now of the ultimate fate of these fur-vested standard-bearers of one version of the '60s, the one that worshiped at the feet of Phil Spector immediately before the tidal wave of the Beatles and Stones and all the other Brits washed them deep into the hinterlands of inconsequence. I suppose my favoring it has something to do with its being one of the very first singles I ever actually purchased (along with "Help!" and "Save Your Heart for Me"). "I Got You Babe" enters and departs with the tempo of a gassy ape, or maybe that's the oboe that makes me think of it, but it gets where it's going, and where it's going is a simple, plaintive, and dare I say innocent declaration of love, which arrives even as summer closes down and it's time to go back to school. Just two nutty kids alone and left to fend for themselves in a desperate world, never mind that one (Sonny) is 11 years older than the other, which makes him a bit less convincing as a nutty kid. But forget about that, and dig the message (even now there is something irresistible about Sonny Bono that invites potshots; it was the hallmark of Cher's stand-up on the TV show and, for his part, Sonny addressed it in his solo follow-up to this, "Laugh at Me"). Erm, where was I? Oh yes, dig the message: "They say we're young and we don't know, won't find out until we grow" (sung very sweetly). "Well I don't know if all that's true, 'cos you got me, and baby I got you" (sung very poorly). And all together now: "I got you babe, I got you babe," etc. "Don't let them say your hair's too long." Cut. Freeze. Fade. Indelible.

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