B-A-B-Y – Carla Thomas | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#14) and R&B (#3); 1966

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

In 1961, eight years after her father Rufus first hit the national chart with Bear Cat, Carla Thomas notched up her first with a song she’d written when she was 16: Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes). Over the next few years Carla landed eight more sides in the R&B Top 40, mostly notably I’ll Bring It On Home To You in 1962, yet, none compared in popularity with Gee Whiz. Her fortunes changed when Isaac Hayes and David Porter brought her Let Me Be Good To You: her biggest R&B hit in three-and-a-half years. Despite her success, Carla hated the songwriters’ next offering. The two were hot with Sam & Dave, and Carla thought that this new song was sounded like an S&D throwaway. After several hours of trying to make the Hayes/Porter arrangement of B-A-B-Y work, Carla bailed out and went to bed. She returned to the next day to a significantly different arrangement, courtesy of Booker T. Jones. Dave and sister Vaneese chimed behind her, and Carla had her highest charting solo record.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Lyrics Written by:

  • Isaac Hayes
  • David Porter