Its main title is “Hey! Baby,” however Bruce Channel’s 1961 chart-topper is probably an ext easily known in publish if you compose it choose this: “Heeeeeeeeey Baby!”

You’re to sing it in your head now, aren’t you? “Hey, baby/ i wanna know/ If you will do it be my girl.”

Before it came to be a high school and college marching band staple, “Hey! Baby” to be a fixture of man Lennon’s personal jukebox. The record’s lengthy “Hey!” and the harmonica play by a young Delbert McClinton influenced several early Beatles songs, consisting of “Love Me Do."

And prior to all that, Channel and co-writer Margaret Cobb were a couple of friend in Texas “just trying come write every little thing we can write,” unwittingly do a tune that’s still gift shouted out loud, almost 60 year later. Channel told the Story Behind the track to Bart Herbison the Nashville Songwriters association International.

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Bart Herbison: Well, ns don’t know how else to begin off this interview other than come say, “Hey, baby.”

Bruce Channel: “Hey, baby.”

BH: Well, take us back. You and a co-writer created this song — (her name was) Margaret Cobb — in 1961. Take it us back and tell us the story behind “Hey! Baby.” 

BC: my brother worked for a firm called Texas Tank, a manufacturer the butane tanks. I went over there, and also he speak to his boss and they gave me a job. I was about 17. I worked there because that a while and also I met a guy named friend Combs. Buddy to be a guitar player and also we would pick together.


He said, “I desire you to fulfill my sister. Her surname is Margaret and she"s a songwriter.” He take it me over to Margaret"s house and also I met her. I began going there and also hanging out. Buddy would come play etc sometimes and I"d do little gigs here and also there. Buddy would play guitar with me. He was great guitar player. Margaret and I were trying to create songs, so that"s how our combination started. We tried 20, 30 songs together over a few years. “Hey! Baby” was among those.


BH: but how perform they acquire from you and also her writing among 20 song … (to where) you finished up getting (“Hey! Baby")? i think very first (there is) a local record deal, climate a large record deal, and then pretty shortly in 1962, the whole people knew about the song. Exactly how did that component happen?

BC: After about a year, Barbara Montgomery states to me, “Look, I"ve been functioning in the studios with a the majority of different world — I operated with this guy in fort Worth that is a retired significant in the waiting Force who dabble(d) in the document business. He had some success through a (song) dubbed ‘Peanuts.’ "

(Bruce sings) “Peanuts, ah-ah-ah” by the teen Kings. Anyway, she said, "Take two or three songs and also go end on Saturday and play them because that him. And I’m telling you, he’ll reduced them.”

That Saturday, i took my guitar and also went to Bill"s house. … ns played him "Hey! Baby” and he liked it. I played the “Dream Girl” and other songs that I"d written. The said, “Yeah, I choose those. We’ll get some studio time and do them next week.” So, i was happy, yet I didn"t exactly know what to be going to occur going in the studio next week.

When we confirmed up at the studio the next week, i met Delbert McClinton through the directly Jackets. Castle played through all the an excellent blues players the covered fort Worth. … I proved the other guys what i was going to perform with my guitar and also then us did a take. Marvin (Montgomery, musical director) said, “Let"s shot it one much more time.” So, us did it again. Climate Marvin says, “Wait a minute. It needs a spine. It demands a piano.” He come in and played the piano with us. He play those yes, really straight components that do the remainder of the looseness really jell with each other later. The feel of it to be different due to the fact that the bass in the band and also the beat was best on. Anyone else desires to (sing) “Hey, hey,” but he"s the directly beat. 

BH: I"m so glad y"all did that last tape because then we acquire “Hey! Baby,” that we recognize as one of the greatest records ever. 

BH: ns think it to be a three- or four-week No. 1, wasn"t it? 

BC: Yes, and that"s as soon as I to be booked because that the national tour. That was about No. 47 v a “bullet," they offered to say. I obtained booked to do this tour with the band, fat Domino and all this people. Once I got earlier they said, “OK, we require you to go to England.” ns said, “OK, I"m much more than ready to go to England and also play, yet Delbert has got to go with me.” castle agreed he could, yet we couldn"t take the whole band. 

BH: Wow.

BC: the was too expensive earlier in that day. Nobody would certainly haul in a whole band anywhere.


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BH: currently when you"re in England, don"t you satisfy The Beatles? Here"s the story I always heard. I think y"all were play a display together or maybe you just met them, you tell me, yet that man Lennon learned exactly how to pat harmonica native Delbert. Then pretty soon you started hearing the on a pair of Beatles records.

BC: us played this one place and I"d been on the BBC and did one interview. These men showed up and there wasn"t sufficient time for them to be on, and also I apologized for acquisition up so lot time. Anyway, so we go on and this (Bruce mirrors a poster come the camera), it says, “Bruce Channel with Delbert McClinton straight from America.”


BH: ns love the your name"s bigger than The Beatles on that thing.

BC: lock didn"t have any records and also certainly not written any of the songs that they did. However everybody knew they to be a great band and they already had a riff through the kids, and it was packed wherein they would play anyway. Yet here (we are) in the dressing room (Bruce shows photo) the night at that show. 

BH: Wow, look in ~ you guys. I absolutely see you and also I see Delbert. 

BC: That"s (original Beatles drummer) Pete Best. 

BH: i was going come say that"s Pete before Ringo. This is amazing, man. 

BC: This is around two mainly or so before Ringo. 

BH: currently the song, Bruce, has had actually a shelf life currently of 60 years. Every time I see you play it, i don"t care if someone in the audience is 14 or they’re 80, they just know that song. It"s among those grasp of songs that everybody in the people knows. Go that surprise you back then? and also does that still surprise you today? 


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That tune was No. 1 3 times. One through me first, then by ann Murray, and also by D.J. Otzi. It was in “Dirty Dancing” and also 10 or 11 other movies. … the song had actually legs the nobody knew about. 


BH: I know you"d created a many songs. Did friend have any type of idea exactly how special this one was?

BC: No, due to the fact that we were just trying to write whatever we could write. I mean, it felt good. … my brother and I would sing it through a girlfriend of ours. We’d obtain in his car and drive about to help him throw his papers. Wednesday act favor we was one of the teams off the "Dick Clark Show" or something. (Bruce sings) “Baby, would certainly you be my girl?”

About the series

In partnership v Nashville Songwriters combination International, the "Story Behind the Song" video interview collection features Nashville-connected songwriters discussing one of their compositions. Because that full video clip interviews with every one of our subjects, visit www.wgc2010.org/music.