Cry Like a Baby

Album: Cry Like a Baby (1968)
Charted: 15 2


  • This was written by Dewey "Spooner" Oldham and Dan Penn, whose other credits together include the hits "I'm Your Puppet" (a hit for James and Bobby Purify), "It Tears Me Up" (a hit for Percy Sledge) and "A Woman Left Lonely." In our interview with Spooner Oldham, he told the story: "Dan Penn was producing The Box Tops, he had produced a #1 record called 'The Letter.' He recorded that in Memphis when he and I were both living there. So he calls me one day and says, 'Spooner, will you help me try to write a song for Alex (Chilton) and the Box Tops?' He says, 'People have sent me some songs, but I don't think any of them really fit. This record company's been after me about three weeks for a follow-up single.' And I said, 'Sure, I'll try to help write a song for you.' We got together in the studio one evening with our little notes of our five or ten best ideas or titles. We each pulled one out and they eventually ended up in the garbage.

    The next morning, we were getting tired and decided to call it quits. So we locked the doors, turned out the lights in the studio, turned off the instruments. Went across the street to the little café - name was Porky's or something like that - and ordered breakfast. I remember I was putting my head on the table. There was nobody in there, I don't think, but us and the cook. And I tiredly put my head on the table, my arms under my head, just for a few seconds. Then I lifted my head up and looked at Dan, and because I felt sorry that he needed another record and we were no help to each other that evening, I said, 'Dan, I could just cry like a baby.' And he says, 'What did you say?' And I said it again. He says, 'I like that.' So unbeknownst to me, we had a song started. By the time we walked across the street back to the studio, we had the first verse written. When we got in, he turned on the lights and the recorder, and I turned on the Hammond organ. He got his guitar out, and we put on a quarter-inch 90-minute tape, and we finished the song, just recorded a demo.

    The next day or two in the morning Alex Chilton came in. I was so tired and weary I didn't know what we had, if anything. I played the little tape demo to him and he smiled and reached out his hand, shook my hand, so I knew he liked it, anyway. And then we got in the studio and recorded it shortly, I think that day."
  • In the tale of this song, a man previously took for granted the love of his caring, faithful girlfriend. He regrets how terribly he had treated her now that she's left him. He now cries every time he sees her or even thinks of her.
  • This song is notable for its electric sitar, which was provided by guitarist Reggie Young. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for above 2
  • It wasn't worth crying over, but this song stayed at US #2 for two weeks, kept out of the top spot by Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey," which held the top spot for five weeks.
  • This song was recorded at American Studios in Memphis, which was run by Chips Moman, who produced the album. Spooner Oldham played keyboards on the track in addition to co-writing it.

Comments: 5

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1968 {April 21st} "Cry Like A Baby" by The Box Tops peaked at #2 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Top 100 chart, for the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for those two weeks was "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro...
    "Cry Like A Baby" reached #3 {for 1 week} on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart, the two records that kept it out of the top spot were, at #1. "A Beautiful Morning" by the Rascals and at #2 was "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro...
    Between 1967 and 1970 the Memphis, Tennessee quintet had ten records on the Top 100 chart, two made the Top 10, the above "Cry Like A Baby" and "The Letter", #1 for four weeks in September of 1967...
    The group had one Top 20 record, "Soul Deep", which peaked at #18 in 1969...
    Sadly, two members of the band have passed away, lead singer Alex Chilton {1950 - 2010} and drummer Danny Smythe {1948 - 2016}..
    May both R.I.P.
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of Billboard's Top 10 on April 21st, 1968:
    At #3. 'Young Girl" by The Union Gap Featuring Gary Puckett (Columbia)
    #4. "Lady Madonna" by The Beatles
    #5. "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone" by Aretha Franklin
    #6. "I Got The Feelin'" by James Brown and the Famous Flames
    #7. "(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay" by Otis Redding
    #8. "Dance To The Music" by Sly and the Family Stone
    #9. "Tighten Up" by Archie Bell and the Drells
    #10. "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" by Georgie Fame
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 28th 1980, Kim Carnes covered version of "Cry Like A Baby" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #72; on October 26th, 1980 it peaked at #44 {for 2 weeks} and spent 8 weeks on the Top 100...
    She fared a little bit better with her next release, "Bette Davis Eyes", it peaked at #1 {for 9 weeks}...
    Ms. Carnes celebrated her 69th birthday two months ago on July 20th {2014}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 24th 1968, "Cry Like A Baby" by the Box Tops entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #60; and on April 21st it peaked at #2 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 6 of those 15 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    It reached #3 in Canada...
    Between 1967 and 1970 the quintet had ten records on the Top 100; with two making the Top 10 and one reaching #1 ("The Letter" for 4 weeks in 1967).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyKim Carnes; of 'Betty Davis Eyes' fame, covered this song is 1980, it peaked at No. 44... Our local rock AM station, WTLB {Utica, NY}, had this song as the No. One record of 1968...
  • Kenny from Los Angeles, Cathis song is the follow up to the Letter, where singer Chilton was 16 years old. what a voice. in this song he's maybe 17. (Alex Chilton was born at the end of 1950)
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