Righteous Brothers (My Babe) Lyrics - A Question Finally Answered!
Doc: The Righteous Brothers are one of my favorite groups of all time and I have a question about the lyrics in one of their songs. The song is their 1963 song, "My Babe," and in the middle of the song, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield sing this:
Nothin' could be better
Than to see her in a sweater
And a real tight skirt
That won't quit
Nothin' could be better
Than to see her in a sweater
And a tight skirt
That won't quit
The question marks identify the line I can't figure out. It sounds like, "I walk to the phone" or "I walk for her phone," or something like that. I have come up with about 50 different possibilities, but none of them make any sense. I also searched the Internet for the line, and dozens of websites show the line as, "She wants to have fun," but that doesn't sound correct to me.
Do you have any idea what the line is? I have listened to it hundreds of times and can't figure out what they sing. Help me, please. Thanks in advance. - Anonymous
Anon: I don't know who you are, but as you know, I received your question on February 11, 2008. It is now October 20, 2008. Therefore, it has taken me 252 days to finally write the answer to your question. As the saying goes … "Better late than never."
If I may, I'd like to explain what I went through to find the answer to your question. However, before I get to that, many readers may not know the song. I checked the Internet, and there aren't many videos available. There is one with the Righteous Brothers alone, but they don't sing the line in that version. Many videos change frequently on YouTube, and the best version I found now is the original album version. Listen and see if you can figure out the lyrics in question, which appear at 1:33 of the song—click here. Do you understand what they sing? My guess is, "No." (If that video is no longer available, do a search on YouTube for "My Babe.")
OK, here is what I did …
I first found that the song was written by Medley and Hatfield, but I couldn't find the sheet music.
I searched the Internet dozens of times for the lyrics and found the same thing you did—the line is shown as, "She wants to have fun." That's wrong and it highlights the fact that most song lyrics on the Internet are incorrect.
Next, I thought the original version of the song would help, so I bought the MP3. I listened to the song hundreds of times, but like you, couldn't understand the line.
I found a few cover versions of the song on YouTube, but none are correct. Not one.
I sent your question to hundreds of people (literally) and no one knew the answer, not even people in the radio industry who know everything about music. No one. Nada. Zilch. Even Oldies music PDs didn't know the answer.
I was at a loss. Nothing I did provided the answer. I spent an untold number of hours trying to find the answer, but always ran into a dead end. But there was light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak
My wife, Darnell, and I had to go
to Las Vegas last week so she could attend a dermatology convention. When I
checked the Internet, I found that Bill Medley was going to be performing at the
Casino during the time when we would be there. OK. That's the light at
the tunnel—we would see him perform and I would try to talk to Bill Medley
after the show to see if I could get your answer.
Here is what happened in Las Vegas
Bill Medley's performance started at 7:30 p.m., so we decided to arrive early to pick up the tickets and have dinner there.
I need to mention that Paul Revere & The Raiders also appears frequently with Bill Medley. The lead singer for Paul Revere at that time was Darrin Medley, Bill Medley's son. I have seen Darrin Medley before, so I knew what he looked like.
We arrived early at South Point, picked up the tickets, and make our way to the buffet.
As we were having dinner, I looked across the room and saw Darrin Medley sitting at a table eating dinner with another guy (a band member). I told my wife that I was going to go over and talk to him to see if he knew the line in his dad's song. Darnell said something like, "Don't do it. I'm sure he doesn't want to be bothered." Uh, yea, sure … I did it.
I walked up to Darrin Medley's table, introduced myself, and explained that I needed to know the line in the song, My Babe. He thought it was interesting, and invited me to join him at the table. I sat down, and after talking about a variety of things for about 15 minutes, I had the answer to your question. (No, I won't tell you yet.)
I explained to Darrin that I would like to get some sort of documentation for the answer and asked him if he would write the lyrics on a piece of paper and sign it so I could prove I had the right answer. Darrin said, "Why don't you come up after the show and I'll get my dad to do that for you since he and Bobby Hatfield wrote the song." Bingo. An appointment with Bill Medley.
I was concerned about being able to talk to Bill after the concert because of all the people around him and mentioned that to Darrin. He said, "Don't worry. I'll tell him about this and he'll be happy to help. If I introduce you to him, he'll talk to you."
OK. We went to the show and it was great—the show was sold out and the audience went wild. Now it's time to talk to Bill Medley.
After the show, Bill Medley and other band members came out to meet the audience. There was a long line of people waiting to get an autograph and take pictures. Darrin Medley saw me and motioned to me to come behind the table so I could talk to his dad.
I went around the table and Darrin introduced me to his dad. I explained the lyrics question to Bill and asked him if he would write down the correct words and sign it so I would have 100% proof of the words in the song. He laughed and said, "No problem."
So … after 249 days of searching,
here is what Bill Medley wrote on a sheet of paper after I asked him what he and
Bobby Hatfield sing after the word "I'm" . . .
"Warm for her form"
"I'm warm for her form?" What's that? It's a slang term that has been around for many decades and is basically another way to say, "Hot for her body" — click here.
There is your answer. Finally. But that's not the end of the story.
I explained to Bill that it's virtually impossible to understand what he (or he and Bobby Hatfield sang. He said, "I know." He then said, "Here is something that probably no one in the world knows … " (Paraphrasing what Bill Medley said)
"When Bobby and I wrote the song, I wanted to use 'I'm warm for her form,' but Bobby wanted to use, 'I'm going for her form.' Although we settled on my line, Bobby often sang his line at the same time I sang my line and it was unintelligible. That's why you'll hear the confusion on some versions of the song." Bill Medley said that he doesn't think he ever explained that to anyone, so now you know an "inside secret" of the line.
To document the confusion of the lyrics, as Bill Medley was explaining the different lyrics, I wrote them down on the same sheet where Bill wrote the lyric and signed it. You'll see that I wrote them down incorrectly. Bill Medley said, "No, that's wrong. It's the other way, and he drew arrows on the sheet to show that his line was, "I'm warm for her form," and Bobby Hatfield's was, "I'm going for her form." Here's a picture of the paper Bill Medley signed …
One more thing …
I wanted to make sure that I had some proof of talking to Bill and Darrin Medley, so here we are standing outside the theater where they performed (Bill is on the left; Darrin is on the right.)
My wife and I enjoyed meeting Bill and Darrin Medley, and I'd like to thank them for the time they spent with us helping to answer your question. And that, my friend, is the end of the story. All that time to figure out FIVE words.
Final note: While searching for the correct lyrics, I noticed that the lyrics provided by Gracenote are copied by virtually every other site that includes song lyrics. Because of that, I sent your question and my answer to Gracenote and they corrected the "My Babe" lyrics. If you search the Internet for the lyrics now, you'll see that virtually all lyrics' websites have the correct line for the Righteous Brothers' song.
Righteous Brothers (My Babe) - A Question Finally Answered! - Follow-Up
I forgot to mention one thing Bill Medley explained to me about the lyrics of the Righteous Brothers' songs. While discussing the confusing line in their song, My Babe ("I'm warm for her form"), he said that the lyric has always been confusing, but there is a much bigger misunderstanding in one of the Righteous Brothers most popular songs, (You're My) Soul and Inspiration, written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. (The song has been played more than 3 million times on radio stations.)
I'll paraphrase what Bill Medley said . . .
"Literally everyone thinks the line from the song is 'You're my soul and my heart's inspiration,' but that's not true. The song wasn't written that way and Bobby (Hatfield) and I never sang it that way. The line is:
You're my soul and my inspiration
The second time the word "my" is sung, it's sung as a two-note, or two-syllable word — MY-I. The second note (syllable) is just a higher note than the first note (syllable).
Bobby and I were always amazed at how many people misunderstood the line from one of our most famous songs, but that's the way it is."
Being a cynical type, I said, "Oh, I can't believe that." Bill Medley looked at me and said, "I'm telling you the truth. The song goes like this (he actually sang the lyric in front of a few hundred people) — You're my soul and MY-I inspiration. We never, ever sang the word "heart's," and I don't sing it that way now. It's interesting how all cover versions of the song are wrong." I said, "OK. I believe you now."
I checked the Internet for the lyrics, and literally all of them are wrong. All of the documents show the lyrics as, "heart's inspiration" or "life's inspiration." All are wrong, and if you watch and listen carefully to the videos I included here, you'll see that the word "heart's" (or "life's") is not in the song.
For a few examples of the
Righteous Brothers signing the song,
End of story.
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