#987: Love Me by Bobby Hebb

Peak Month: January 1967
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #8
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #84

Robert Von Hebb was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1938. His parents, William and Olivia Hebb, were both blind musicians. When “Bobby” was just three years old he performed on stage in The Jerry Jackson Revue of 1942, which took place in 1941. Hebb’s older brother Harold “Hal” introduced him to the audience at the Bijou Theatre. Over the next three years before he entered elementary school, and through his school years, Bobby Hebb and his brother “Hal” appeared at various Nashville nightclubs. These included The Hollywood Palm, Eva Thompson Jones Dance Studio and The Paradise Club. Their appearances were backed by William Hebb on trombone and guitar, and Olivia Hebb on both piano and guitar. The brothers sang “Lady B. Good,” “Let’s Do the Boogie Woogie” and other songs spanning the R&B and jazz genre in the 40s.

In the early 50s Bobby Hebb appeared on the roster of special guests on Owen Bradley’s TV. This led to Bobby Hebb playing the spoons in country music star Roy Acuff’s band. In 1955 Bobby Hebb sang backup on Bo Diddley’s “Diddley Daddy,” a Top 20 R&B single that was the follow up to Bo Diddley’s debut #1 smash R&B hit “Bo Diddley.” Hebb was drafted into the U.S. Army and played trumpet in the United States Navy jazz band. A while after he returned to civilian life, Hebb took over from Mickey Baker in Mickey and Sylvia at the end of the 50s when Baker moved to France.

In 1963, the day after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Bobby’s brother, Harold, was killed outside a Nashville nightclub. Harold Hebb had gotten into a knife fight. Bobby Hebb, overcome by the two events, turned to songwriting as a path forward. Bobby Hebb is best known for hit smash hit in 1966 called “Sunny,” a #2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 in Vancouver. The song also climbed to #3 on the R&B charts and into the Top 40 on the US Country charts. “Sunny” has been recorded by many pop music artists including Cher, Manfred Mann, Del Shannon, Shirley Bassey, Wilson Pickett, Booker T. & The MG’s, Dusty Springfield, The Ventures, Paul Mauriat, Andy Williams, Johnny Rivers, Frank Sinatra, Jose Feliciano, Michel Pagliaro, George Benson, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Stan Kenton, Percy Faith and Oscar Peterson. Hebb later recorded a disco version of the song in 1976 that was a minor hit that year.

After the success of “Sunny” Bobby Hebb had several single releases that did very well in Vancouver, both making the Top Ten. The first was “A Satisfied Mind” in the fall of 1966, followed by “Love Me” in early 1967. While the song didn’t catch on in America, only climbing to #84 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song peaked at #8 in Vancouver.
Love Me by Bobby Hebb

Love me,
that’s all I want you to do,
just as long as your love for me is true.

Want me, baby,
just like a baby boy wants a toy.
I’ll be your pride and joy,
come on, baby, and love me.

Need me, oh, just like I need you.
It ain’t hard to do as long as you
really, really love me.

Come on, love me
no matter if I’m up or down,
no greater love can be found,
come on, darling, shucks,
and love me.

Just want me, want me
with all your heart and soul.
Our love will never grow old
baby, not if you really want me.

Birds will sing,
the sun is gonna shine.
Don’t you know
happiness, we’ll find, oh
when you say you are mine.

Love me, oh
that’s all I want you to do.
Just as long as your love
for me is true, ooh, baby.

Well, I’m gonna…
(come on and love me, love me)
Wrap your arms around me.
(around me)

Come on, baby, squeeze me,
tease me, please me, baby,
squeeze me, yeah, baby.

“Love Me” is a straight forward plea for someone to offer their love, truly, madly and deeply. The co-writers for “Love Me” were Jerry Ross and Kenneth Gamble. Jerry Ross was an accomplished songwriter who penned many tunes including “Hey There” for Rosemary Clooney, “Rags To Riches” for Tony Bennett, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” for Diana Ross & The Supremes with The Temptations, the latter with Kenneth Gamble. For his part Kenneth Gamble would go on to write “Only the Strong Survive” for Jerry Butler, “Expressway to Your Heart” for the Soul Survivors, “Me And Mrs. Jones” for Billy Paul, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” for Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, “Love Train” for the O’Jays, “When Will I See You Again” for the Three Degrees and “Do It Anyway You Wanna” for disco group People’s Choice. Most of these song Gamble co-wrote with Leon Huff.

Hebb releases an album in 1970 called Love Games. After that he stopped releasing his own recordings. But Hebb kept on writing, including a Top 20 hit for Lou Rawls in 1971 called “A Natural Man.” In 2005 Bobby Hebb returned to the recording studio and released an album called That’s All I Wanna Know. Hebb had final tour in October 2008 that included concerts in Osaka and Tokyo in Japan. Bobby Hebb died in 2010 of lung cancer.

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