Gerry Goffin and Carole King are rightly recognized as being one of the best songwriting duos in pop (even the more-celebrated Lennon and McCartney covered “Chains”). But for every “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” which gave voice to the conflict and confusion of being a teenager in love, is another track that doesn’t quite scale those heights: specifically, the gloopy, toothless “Take Good Care of My Baby.” The lyrics tell the story of a guy whose girl has left him for another guy. Fair enough. But instead of trying to get her back or just bidding her farewell, we get a passive-aggressive plea – sure, you can have her, but if you get bored or whatever, he’d like her back, please. Oh, just remember – take good care of HIS baby.
Part of it may be personal prejudice – in general, I think girls are better suited to singing this kind of pop than guys are. Maybe I could appreciate the song better if it were boomed out by Shirley Owens or another girl group singer (though it still wouldn’t be a classic). Bobby Vee’s voice is a little too pinched and nasal, his delivery too earnest and vibrato-laden, to be appealing. “Don’t be stupid, don’t be limp/No girl likes to love a wimp,” The Mo-Dettes sang in “White Mice.” There’s a fine line between adorably sensitive and just pathetic. Unfortunately, this record falls into the latter category. 4
Hit #1 on September 18, 1961; total of 3 weeks at #1
58 of 969 #1’s reviewed; 5.99% through the Hot 100