Sonny & Cher

I Got You Babe

Composed by Sonny Bono

Song Review by

In the summer of 1965, when "I Got You Babe" became a number one hit, its author, Sonny Bono, was 30 years old and had been kicking around the music business in various capacities for eight years, his biggest previous success being the co-writing of "Needles and Pins," a Top 20 hit for the Searchers in 1964. A protégé of Phil Spector, Bono knew a lot about elaborate record production, but in his search for a hit that would make him and his 19-year-old wife, Cher, a success, he had been listening to the suddenly popular music of Bob Dylan, especially as done in Dylan's new folk-rock style introduced in January on his Bringing It All Back Home album, and the work of the Byrds, who scored a number one hit with "Mr. Tambourine Man," a Dylan song from that LP. Recalling Dylan's bitter 1964 song "It Ain't Me Babe" (soon to be a folk-rock hit for the Turtles), Bono wrote his own opposite sentiment: "I Got You Babe." Where Dylan was lyrically complex, Bono was simple: His lyric began with the ominous youth-versus-grownups theme of "they" who set up barriers to romance, but soon gave way to a dialogue of teenage romantic platitudes. Where Dylan was musically simple, however, Bono, without fully rebuilding Spector's Wall of Sound, was more structurally ambitious, following the song's standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus form with an ascending coda that built to a climax, then started building again before the fadeout, all in only a little over three minutes. Set to waltz time, the tune retained a light feel despite the sometimes busy instrumentation, led by a prominent ocarina, and the alternating vocals of the two singers. If neither Bono nor Cher were interesting singers, their plodding, matter-of-fact performances gave the song a common-man appeal. "I Got You Babe" was released as the duo's second single under their own name and shot to the top of the charts, selling over a million copies in the U.S. (and reportedly millions more overseas) and becoming the biggest hit they scored together. It was their signature song: They sang it in their 1967 movie Good Times and as the theme of their early '70s television series. The song's camp appeal made it something of a guilty pleasure among rock bands over the years, but UB40's 1985 cover version, which found singer Ali Campbell dueting with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, sounded perfectly sincere, and the song worked well set to a reggae beat; the record topped the charts in the U.K. and made the American Top 40.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Look at Us 1965 Atlantic / Elektra / Rhino 3:12
No Image 1966 Rhino 3:09
The Best of Sonny & Cher 1967 Friday Music
No Image 1971 MCA 3:25
All I Ever Need Is You 1972 Geffen / Universal Special Products 3:18
Greatest Hits [1974] 1974 Interscope / MCA 4:35
Classic Rock: 1965 1987
Various Artists
3:12
Buster [Original Soundtrack] 1988
Original Soundtrack
Virgin
Flower Power [Sony] 1989
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:05
AM Gold: 1965 1990
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:12
Summers of Love [Disc 2] 1991
Various Artists
Original Analog 3:09
The Beat Goes On: The Best of Sonny & Cher 1993 Rhino 3:14
I Got You Babe [Rhino Collection] 1993 Rhino 3:15
Best Sixties Album in the World Ever 1995
Various Artists
Alex 3:10
'60s Rock Classics 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 3:12
Don't Worry, Be Happy 1996
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:06
All I Ever Need: The Kapp/MCA Anthology 1996 MCA 3:53
Flashbacks: Easy Lovin' 1996
Various Artists
View Video
Only Rock 'N Roll 1965-1969: 20 Pop Hits 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / Essex 3:12
It Takes Two [Columbia] 1996
Various Artists
Columbia/Global/Sony TV
I Got You Babe [Collectables] 1997 Collectables 3:13
I Got You Babe & Other Hits 1997 Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 3:13
Who's Your Fave Rave: Teen Idols 1959-1981 1997
Various Artists
Rhino
Whole Lotta Rock: 1964-1965 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 3:06
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1960-1969 1997
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 3:10
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Alex 3:05
The Ultimate Rock Collection Gold and Platinum, Vol. 1: 1964-1970 1997
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:12
Heart Beats [3 Pack] 1998
Various Artists
Rhino
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Love and Inspiration 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:15
Oldies Radio: K-Earth 101FM Greatest Hits 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:13
Best of the Best: 60's Pop & Rock, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Primary Colors 3:11
Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Christmas Gift to You 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:15
The Power of Love [BMG UK Boxset] 1999
Various Artists
BMG 3:13
The Beat Goes On 2000 Rhino Atlantic 3:10
Casey Kasem: America's Top 10 Through the Years 2000
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 3:12
The Singles+ 2000 Empire 3:08
Absolute Sixties 2000
Various Artists
Eva 3:12
Casey Kasem: America's Top 10 Through Years - The 60's 2001
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 3:12
Dick Clark's #1's: 50's to 70's "When AM Radio Was King" 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:12
Riding in Cars with Boys 2001
Original Soundtrack
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 3:10
Sounds of the Sixties: Superhits 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Me Without You [Original Soundtrack] 2002
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music Distribution / Epic/Sony/Legacy 3:10
The Essentials 2002 Rhino / Warner Strategic Marketing 3:12
Pure 60's: The #1 Hits 2002
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:11
Red, White & Rock 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 3:14
Singers & Songwriters: 1964-1969 [2002] 2002
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
The Very Best of 60's Gold 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:11
Chartbusters USA, Vol. 3 2003
Various Artists
Ace 3:08
All the 60's 2003
Various Artists
Warner Strategic Marketing 3:12
Billboard #1 Hits of the '60s 2003
Various Artists
Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 3:12
Simply the Best 60's 2003
Various Artists
Warner Music
Time 100: Music of Our Lives 1960-1980 2004
Various Artists
WEA International 3:12
Sixties Soft Rock 2004
Various Artists
Passport Audio
Rock & Roll: The First 50 Years - The Mid-'60s 2004
Various Artists
Varèse Vintage / Varese 3:15
Legends: Pluggin' In 2004
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:12
Rhino Hi-Five: Sonny & Cher 2005 Atlantic 3:12
The '60s Rock Experience 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:08
I Got You Babe [Delta] 2005 Delta / Delta Distribution 3:02
Love Songs: Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:06
Best of the 60s Rock and Roll [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:14
Ultimate 16: Rock N Roll of the 60s 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:13
Ultimate Summer Hits: Summer Fun 2006
Various Artists
Collectables 3:08
The Definitive Pop Collection 2006 Rhino
Absolute Love 2006
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Very Best of Heartbeat 2006
Various Artists
EMI/Virgin TV
The Greatest Groovy 60's Hits of All Time 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 3:11
It Takes Two: Classic Duets 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:09
Heartbeat Summer 2007
Various Artists
Virgin 3:08
Legends Informercial Set 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:12
Forever Sonny and Cher 2007 Madacy 3:13
100 Hits: Love 2007
Various Artists
100 Hits
#1 Classic Hits of the 60s 1960-1964 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 3:08
Flower Power [Time Life Box] 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:14
Karaoke: The Sixties Hits, Vol. 4 2007
Karaoke
Chartbuster Karaoke 3:43
Flower Power: Groovin' [Time Life #1] 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:14
No Image 2008
Various Artists
WEA 3:16
100 Essential Tracks: No. 1 Hits 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:09
The Best Sixties Album in the World...Ever! [2009] 2009
Various Artists
EMI 3:06
Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs: From Me To You 2009
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:08
100 Hits: Sixties Pop 2010
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:11
100 Hits: Mum 2010
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:10
Mad Men: A Musical Companion (1960-1965) 2011
Various Artists
Hip-O / Universal 3:11
Collection RTL Georges Lang 2011
Various Artists
Rhino 3:10
3/60: Love 2011
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:11
Flashback with Sonny & Cher 2011 Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 3:13
I Got You Babe 2011
Various Artists
Starbucks
'60s Music Revolution 2012
Various Artists
Time / Time/Life Music 3:12
The Ramones: Heard Them Here First 2012
Various Artists
Ace 3:08
Romancing the '60s [Time] 2013
Various Artists
StarVista / Time/Life Music 3:11
Greatest Ever! Sixties Pop 2013
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 3:20
Love Songs: The Collection 2015
Various Artists
Rhino
100 Hits Love [2015] 2015
Various Aritsts
100 Hits
Magic Bus 2015
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:08
Beach Party RTL Georges Lang 2015
Various Artists
WEA 3:10
Love Songs: The Collection [2017] 2017
Various Artists
Rhino
'60s: The Collection
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 3:10
100 Hits: 60s [2015]
Various Artists
100 Hits
101 Sixties Party Hits
Various Artists
EMI TV 3:06
No Image
Various Artists
Telerad
3/60: The Sixties
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
60 Hits of the 60's
Various Artists
Rhino
American Classics [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 3:10
Buster Soundtrack
Original Soundtrack
Rhino 3:10
Classic '60s Pop
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
De Pre Historie: 1965, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 3:05
Dreamboats & Miniskirts: Summer in the City
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:11
Easy Listening Classics/Time Life's Movie Classics
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:10
Everlasting Love [Sessions Disc 2]
Various Artists
Warner Special Products 3:11
First Love
Various Artists
Rhino Custom Products / Somerset 3:13
First Love [Platinum Legends]
Various Artists
Platinum Legends 3:09
For My Mum [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 3:11
Greatest Ever Number Ones
Various Artists
Greatest Ever
Het  Swing Paleis, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Magic
I Got You Babe/It's Gonna Rain [Digital 45] Rhino Atlantic 3:09
It's the 60's!
Various Artists
Rhino 3:09
Latest & Greatest: Duets
Various Artists
USM Media 3:05
Love Hits [Crimson]
Various Artists
Crimson / Crimson Productions
Mum: The Collection
Various Artists
Rhino
Rhino Hi-Five: Valentine's Day Songs 1
Various Artists
Rhino 3:10
Romancing the '60s: My Special Angel
Various Artists
StarVista 3:11
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
No Image Elektra / Rhino 3:06
The Best Ever Road Trip
Various Artists
Rhino
The California Sound of the 60's
Various Artists
Scana 3:06
The Duets Album [UMTV]
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:12
The Sixties Album: The Album of the Decade
Various Artists
Rhino / WMTV 3:09
The Two of Us Rhino 3:12
The Ultimate Collection: Number 1s
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:10
Top of the Pops: 1964-1969
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:07
Ultimate '60s Pop Classics
Various Artists
Rhino
No Image
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
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