September 23

This Day in History

Music

Sep 23, 1972:

Mac Davis earns one of the 1970s' most head-scratching #1 hits with "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me"

On this day in 1972, "Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me" by singer-songwriter Mac Davis reached the top of the American pop charts. In a year that not only saw Congress pass the Equal Rights Amendment, but also saw Helen Reddy score a #1 hit with her feminist anthem "I Am Woman," "Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me" stands in rather stark contrast as one of the more blithely chauvinistic pop hits of all time.

Early in his career, Scott "Mac" Davis was best known within the music industry as a professional songwriter who scored a quartet of late-career hits for Elvis Presley—"A Little Less Conversation" (1968), "Memories" (1969), "In The Ghetto" (1969) and "Don’t Cry Daddy" (1969)—and another for Bobby Goldsboro—"Watching Scotty Grow" (1971). With "Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me," Davis would score his first hit as a performer.

"Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me" was sung from the perspective of a young man reluctant to allow a romantic fling to turn into a committed relationship, despite a certain undeniable fondness for his paramour. "You’re a hot-blooded woman-child," he sings, "and it’s warm where you’re touchin’ me." But after dispensing with such pleasantries, the protagonist proceeds to explain, "Baby, baby, don’t get hooked on me/’Cause I’ll just use you and I’ll set you free."

Despite lyrics likely to be deemed chauvinistic by 21st-century standards, "Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me" found ready acceptance in 1972 and launched Mac Davis on a decade-long run in the pop-cultural spotlight. And in contrast to the apparent callousness of "Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me," Mac Davis proved during that run to be one of the most charming and likable characters in the pop-cultural landscape, not only hosting his own short-lived TV variety show, but also making numerous appearances as an actor on television and in movies. And if the song that made him a star hasn’t aged all that well, his signature tune, "I Believe In Music" and his humorously self-deprecating country hit "It’s Hard To Be Humble" certainly have.

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