Music Friday: Cher Is Wearing Sonny's Ring in 1965's #1 Hit, 'I Got You Babe'

Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we zoom back to the summer of 1965 — a time of hippies, bell bottoms, flower power and a chart-topping duo named Sonny & Cher singing "I Got You Babe."

In this love song about a young couple willing to challenge societal norms, Cher famously tells Sonny, "So let them say your hair’s too long / ‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong." In the jewelry reference, Sonny sings, “I got flowers in the spring. I got you to wear my ring.”

Written by Sonny Bono, "I Got You Babe" was the duo's biggest single and signature song. It ascended to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and charted in 18 countries, including Singapore, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.

Sonny revealed in a 1966 interview that the song was inspired by first-hand experiences.

"I know what it is like to be kicked around because you dress differently," Sonny told Musical Express. "I know what it is like to see the girl you love hurt because a hotel refuses you admission because of your dress. I know what it is like to have that one person stand by you. There are a lot of other people who have experienced these things and I'm trying to put our feelings into words for everyone."

Despite being named one of the greatest duets of all times by both Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines, "I Got You Babe" was nearly thrown on the scrap heap.

Apparently, Ahmet Ertegun, the head of Atco Records, didn't really care for the song, and was planning to relegate it to the "B" side of Sonny & Cher's single, "It's Gonna Rain."

Even Cher admitted that she was hardly enthusiastic when she sang it for the first time. Sonny agreed to change the key in the bridge to suit Cher's range and then she loved it.

Sonny was sure they had a hit, but Ertegun was still not convinced. Sonny pitched the song to the program director of Los Angeles radio station KHJ. He made a deal that allowed the station to have the song exclusively if they played it once an hour.

The station's listeners couldn't get enough of "I Got You Babe" and Ertegun finally agreed to publish it as the "A" side.

“I Got You Babe” had a key role in the 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, as Bill Murray, playing an arrogant TV weatherman, finds himself reliving February 2 in a perpetual time loop. Every morning at exactly six o’clock Murray wakes to the clock-radio playing the Sonny & Cher ditty.

Check out the video of Sonny & Cher performing “I Got You Babe.” The lyrics are below, but you probably already know the words. "They say we're young and we don't know…"

“I Got You Babe”
Written by Sonny Bono. Performed by Sonny & Cher.

[HER:] They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow
[HIM:] Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HER:] They say our love won’t pay the rent
Before it’s earned, our money’s all been spent
[HIM:] I guess that’s so, we don’t have a pot
But at least I’m sure of all the things we got

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HIM:] I got flowers in the spring I got you to wear my ring
[HER:] And when I’m sad, you’re a clown
And if I get scared, you’re always around
[HER:] So let them say your hair’s too long
‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong
[HIM:] Then put your little hand in mine
There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HIM:] I got you to hold my hand
[HER:] I got you to understand
[HIM:] I got you to walk with me
[HER:] I got you to talk with me
[HIM:] I got you to kiss goodnight
[HER:] I got you to hold me tight
[HIM:] I got you, I won’t let go
[HER:] I got you to love me so

[BOTH:] I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Howard Cohen