This song was
written on a piece of cardboard in 1964/5 in Sonny Bono’s
basement one night for him to perform as a duet with the singer Cher who was his wife at the time. They had both been working for Phil Spector as backing singers before they had decided to
branch out as a duo and this followed their “Baby Don’t Go”
which had only achieved minor success on its initial release but later became
No.1 when it was re-released. William Ruhmann
of Allmusic magazine later wrote about it being Bono’s “opposite sentiment” of “It
Ain’t Me Babe” written by Bob Dylan in
1964 and later a hit for The Turtles.
was made with Hal Blaine on drums and was released on the Atco label in 1965 with “It’s Gonna Rain” on the other side. It rocketed to the Top 10s of many of
the world’s charts including reaching No. 1 in the USA, the UK and Canada and became their biggest hit. Later that year it was included on their
debut album Look At Us.
take long before it was being used by others and one of the first was when it
was the original version but being lip-synched by The Rolling Stones who were
wearing costumes for a performance on the TV programme Ready Steady Go! The
cover versions of the song started to come in thick and fast for inclusion
on albums by other artists and some of these are Merrill Bainbridge &
Shaggy, David Bowie & Marianne Faithfull, The
Cynics, The Dictators, Etta James, Manfred Mann, The Ramones
and Tiny Tim along with several others including Cher
who re-recorded it with the animated characters Beavis & Butthead.
In 1985 it was
covered by the group UB40 who duetted with
Chrissie Hynde and released it on their album Baggriddim
and The Pretenders’ The Singles.
It was issued as a single with
their “Theme from Labour of Love” on the B-Side of the 7”
and “Red Red Wine” on the 12”. This saw the second time that the
song had major chart success when it made it to the No. 1 spot in the UK along with Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.
Another 19 years
down the line and it was used for a Christmas single by Leigh Francis, aka Avid Merrion from the comedy
series Bo’Selecta. He was joined by the female
celebrities Davina MCall
and Patsy Kensit and together they watched it go
up the UK singles chart and reach No. 5.
It has featured
in countless television programmes and movies including its memorable use in
the alarm clock scenes in Groundhog Day.
an episode of The David Letterman Show in 1987 being the last time it was performed
by Sonny & Cher themselves. The Rolling Stone magazine has listed it
as No. 444 in their 500 Greatest Songs.