January 1

Harlan Howard’s “He Called me Baby” and the Artist Behind

Harlan Howard wrote the song “She Called Me Baby” in 1961. Despite a number of recorded versions, it did not appear in the Top 20 of the C&W chart in Billboard. But come 13 years later, they belatedly released a mid-60s recording by Charlie Rich that reached #1 on the said chart. For its female version, “He Called Me Baby”, the song became a Top Ten R&B hit for Candi Staton in 1971.

Covers of “He Called Me Baby” and “She Called Me Baby”

The very first female who made a cover of the song “He Called Me Baby” was Jan Howard. Mrs. Harlan Howard had this session at Columbia Recording Studio, Nashville on April 30, 1962. Released in October of that year, they featured the track on Jan Howard’s Sweet and Sentimental album.

In February a year after, Patsy Cline recorded the song as “He Called Me Baby”. Her cover was its second female version. On February 4, 1963, Cline had begun recording tracks for an album to be entitled, Faded Love. “He Called Me Baby” was among the four tracks cut in what would be Patsy’s final recording session. After she passed away on March 5, 1963, Decca Records elected not to release the album, Faded Love. Instead, they decided to include Cline’s final tracks on two 1964 album releases. The second of which was the November 2, 1964, release of That’s How a Heartache Begins. “He Called Me Baby” became part of this album. After its single release on September 19, it peaked at the 23rd spot on the C&W charts in December 1964. This became Cline’s final C&W Top 40 hit until 1980.

Three months after, Cline’s version ended its run in the C&W Top 50. That was the first time when Carl Smith brought “She Called Me Baby” onto that chart. Smith’s cut from his session at Columbia Recording Studio, Nashville on December 14, 1964, rose as high as #32. The next time “She Called Me Baby” charted was in November and December 1972. This was Dick Curless’s own version that occupied the number 54 spot on C&W.


he called me baby, Patsy Cline

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