To Know Him Is To Love Him

Album: Presenting The Teddy Bears (1958)
Charted: 2 1
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  • This is the song that launched Phil Spector's career. He was a 17-year-old senior in high school when he recorded this, and he quickly became a top producer after working with prominent songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. By the time he was 23, he had produced hits like "Be My Baby" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and was already a millionaire. He became famous for obsessive attention to detail and a heavily layered sound, but was also mentally unstable. After producing the Beatles album Let It Be and working on solo albums for George Harrison and John Lennon, he went into seclusion and worked only sporadically.
  • Phil Spector was inspired to write this in early 1958 by a photograph of his father Ben's tombstone that said "To have known him was to have loved him." Phil changed the tense of the epitaph on the tombstone and matched it to the music of "When the Red, Red Robin Goes Bob-Bob-Bobbin' Along." Benjamin Spector was a steelworker who killed himself 9 years earlier, when Phil was 9 years old. After he died, Phil's mother moved the family from New York to Los Angeles.
  • Along with some high school friends, Phil put together The Teddy Bears (named after the Elvis Presley song), and wrote this so their new vocalist, Annette Kleinbard, would have something new to sing at a recording session. They had an audition with Era Records head Lew Bidell, who thought they were "okay" but needed better material. Kleinbard didn't like the song, but agreed to sing it anyway. The group consisted of high school seniors Spector and Marshall Lieb, sophomore Kleinbard, and alumnus Sandy Nelson (who later had #4 hit "Teen Beat" and #7 "Let There Be Drums") on the drum kit. Although Lieb played piano at the recording session, Spector had asked another friend to do it: future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston. Johnston turned Spector down because he had a date.
  • This was released on Dore Records as the B-side of "Don't You Worry My Little Pet" and released in August 1958. After a month, very little happened with the record on the local level. Dore tried again with the record - this time pushing "To Know Him Is To Love Him" as the A-side. Still nothing - it looked like doom for the single. Meanwhile, a radio station in Fargo, North Dakota, began playing "To Know Him Is To Love Him" regularly, and orders began coming in for the record. Then the record started getting airplay in Minneapolis. The record had sold nearly 20,000 copies when it entered Billboard at #88 on September 22. Lew Bedell called Dick Clark in Philadelphia to help him promote the record, which was only a Midwest hit, and Clark played it on American Bandstand on October 3, 1958. The following week, it entered the Top 40, and on October 29, The Teddy Bears appeared live on Bandstand. By December 1, "To Know Him Is To Love Him" was #1 in the nation. It ended up selling nearly one-and-a-half million copies. Spector finished the Dore contract by providing them with a second single, "Wonderful Loveable You" backed with "Till You're Mine."
  • The Teddy Bears left Dore for Imperial Records and released the album The Teddy Bears Sing. It went nowhere and the group soon disbanded, with Spector joining Lester Sill and Lee Hazlewood's Gregmark Publishing and forming a new group called The Spectors Three. Annette Kleinbard had a serious car accident requiring months of recovery time. She did recover and issued a single, "Alibi"/"What Difference Does It Make," on Imperial under the name Annette Bard. After that single failed, Kleinbard changed her name to Carol Connors (she hated her name because of Annette Funicello's presence in The Mickey Mouse Club) and later gained fame as a songwriter ("Hey Little Cobra" and "Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)").
  • The recording session was produced by Spector and took only 20 minutes and two takes, quite a contrast to Spector's later production efforts.
  • In 1964, a British singer named Cleo Sylvestre recorded a version of this song backed by The Rolling Stones. Released as a single, it was credited to "Cleo" and also included on the Stones compilation album Connection. This version was produced by The Rolling Stones' manager, Andrew Loog Oldham.
  • Peter & Gordon (#24 in 1965) and Bobby Vinton (#34 in 1969) returned the song, as "To Know You Is to Love You," to the Top 40. BB King also had a #38 hit with "To Know You Is to Love You" in 1973, but it's not the same song - King's hit was co-written by Stevie Wonder.
  • Spector claimed that he learned a great deal from writing, recording and promoting this song. He learned that he didn't want to be a singer, and he also got a lesson in the brutal nature of the record business when he received only $3,000 out of the $20,000 he thought he had earned from the record. "I learnt about payola and distributors and manufacturing," Spector said. "I learnt about the Mafia."
  • Amy Winehouse recorded an acoustic version of this for the B-side of "You Know I'm No Good," from her posthumously released Back to Black album.
  • This went to #1 on the Country chart when it was recorded by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt for their 1987 Trio album. The accompanying music video was directed by George Lucas - yes, that George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars - who was dating Ronstadt at the time. The clip features the women gathered in Ronstadt's living room, making Valentines for their sweethearts, whose photos are on display. The only man actually present is David Lindley, who plays mandolin and Kona Hawaiian guitar on the track.

    The Trio album won the Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1988.

Comments: 21

  • Ls from VaI don't know why this song is attributed to Phil Spector. The music for "To Know You (Is to Love You)" was written by Robert Allen and the lyrics written by Allan Roberts and published in 1952.
  • Declan O Connell from Co.kildare Ireland Just listening to the beautiful song To know him is to love him is to love him. : by the Teddy Bears. Brings me back.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyTeddy Bears' lead singer Annette Kleinbard received an ' Best Original Song" Academy Award nomination for co-composing "Gonna Fly Now" from the film 'Rocky'; the Oscar went to "Evergreen" from 'A Star Is Born'.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 3rd 1959, the Teddy Bears performed "To Know Him Is To Love Him" on the NBC-TV program 'The Perry Como Kraft Music Hall Show'...
    At the time the song was in its second of three weeks at #3 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; a little over five weeks earlier On November 26th, 1958 it had peaked at #1 {for 3 weeks} and it spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 {23 weeks}...
    The trio's next release had both sides make the Top 100; "I Don't Need You Anymore" stayed on the chart for 1 week at #98, while the flip-side, "Oh Why", managed 2 weeks on the chart, its first week at #100 and the 2nd week at #91...
    They didn’t have any other Top 100 records.
  • Jim Castro from Rowland Heights. CaI have just listened to - When the Red, Red Robin Goes Bob-Bob-Bobbin' Along." - Phil did not match the music with his words - To Know Him Is To Love Him - is an original song - Such a lovely song - Was just thinking about it a few days ago - Really- a classic -
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 28th 1965, Peter & Gordon performed "To Know you Is To Love You" on the ABC-TV program 'Where The Action Is'...Twenty-four days earlier on July 4th, 1965 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #69; and on August 1st, 1965 it peaked at #24 {for 2 weeks} and spent 7 weeks on the Top 100... It reached #5 on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...Between 1964 and 1967 the duo had fourteen Top 100 records; three made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, their debut record, "A World Without Love", for 1 week in 1964. R.I.P. Gordon Waller {1945-2009} and Peter Asher celebrated his 70th birthday one month ago on June 22nd, 2014...
  • Matilda from Paradise, PaLoved the fifties, great music!
  • Gary A. Stansbury from Wall Twp., Njseventh grade, 1958. i used to play basketball during our lunch break, then, this song came out, and i was dancing during lunch every day. no more basketball! fell in love a few times to this song.
  • John from Wirral, United KingdomThe first 45rpm record i bought at the tender age of thirten priceless!! John Wirral UK
  • Harold from San Bernadino, Cathe Beatles did a great cover of this on the BBC Sessions.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumHello Marcia! Next time I'll hear this very beautiful song I'll think at you, knowing that you also like it very much. I know Phil Spector lost his father when he was a child; I lost mine when I was 32. "Just to see him smile makes my life worthwhile", "I'll be good to him and I'll bring love to him" ... if only my father was still there ... it would make me so happy.
  • Marcia from St Louis, MoHello Teresa!

    Thank you for liking To Know Him is To Love Him so much! I am really happy that people like you would enjoy this song as much as I do. I have a very personal connection with this song and always will have.
  • Marcia from St Louis, MoWell, the Teddy Bears will outshine all the others forever!
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumI understand Marcia, it's a very beautiful song; when I think Phil Spector was only 17 then, I can only say one thing : he's really talented.
  • Marcia from St. Louis, MoThis song will always hold very special memories for me. I especially like the words, "Just to see him smile, makes my life worth while."
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumIn the meantime I have Phil Spector's CD called
    "Flips and Rarities". I played it on December 26 (Phil Spector's birthday) and I love it very much. It's always a joy for me listening to the beautiful songs of Phil Spector. He's simply the BEST.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumToday it's my birthday and my family bought for me the cd "Greatest Hits" from the Teddy Bears.
    I'm gonna to listen this cd this evening and I know I'm gonna like it; never heard something from Phil Spector I didn't like. Now I'm waiting a message from the FNAC-record shop to announce they got Phil Spector's "Flips and Rarities" for me. Love you Phil Spector 4 ever and ever.
  • Laurie from Methuen, MaI like all songs from the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's. I love the song by The Teddy Bears, To Know Him Is To Love Him We have a lot of oldies but goodies music we listen to every day. Thank you kindly.
  • Mark from Boston, MaEmmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt had a recorded a version of this song on their TRIO album in 1987.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, Belgium"To know him is to love him"; after all these years, it's still a joy to listen to this lovely song of Phil Spector.
  • Jakob from Berlin, GermanyFurther Cover-Version on The Album
    TRIO (Parton, Ronstadt, Harris) 1989
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