Sonny Bono was an up-and-coming record producer when he got Cher a job with Phil Spector as a session singer. They started dating and moved in to their manager's house. Bono would write songs on a piano in the garage. He came up with this tune and wrote the lyrics on a piece of cardboard. Cher didn't like it at first, but Sonny changed the key in the bridge to fit her voice and she loved it.
Ahmet Ertegun was their boss at Atco Records. He didn't think much of this song, so he put it on the B-side of "It's Gonna Rain." Los Angeles radio station KHJ started playing "I Got You Babe" after Bono brought them a copy and it became a huge hit.
This wasn't an anti-war song, but it went over well with the Hippie crowd because it stuck up for guys with long hair when Cher sang, "Let them say your hair's too long, I don't care, with you I can't go wrong."
In 1985, UB40 covered this with Chrissie Hynde doing the female vocals. Their version hit #1 in the UK and #28 in the US. Sonny & Cher's original version was the first record UB40's Ali Campbell ever owned.
In 1994 Cher re-recorded this with cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead. This version hit #35 in the UK. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above)
Bob Dylan's use of the word "Babe" in his 1964 song "It Ain't Me Babe
" gave Sonny Bono the idea to use it in this song.
In the 1993 film Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray, Murray's character is awakened to this song every morning at precisely 6:00 AM on the alarm clock in his hotel room. (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, WA. U.S.A)
Sonny and Cher performed this one last time when they appeared on the The David Letterman show in 1987. They didn't expect to sing, and the host cajoled them a bit to get them to do the song. Sonny and Cher put their differences aside and did a touching performance. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Sonny Bono is the only person to perform on a #1 hit and also serve in congress. He was elected to California's 44th district in 1994, and served there until his death.