It’s really easy to think of any blue-eyed soul song from the ‘70s and ‘80s as a Hall & Oates rip. They were the standard-bearers for that sound, after all. I don’t know if that’s fair to all of the other songs and artists in that subgenre that I’m gonna end up discussing, though. Billy Vera, for example, is a contemporary of H2O and has a strong string of credits as a writer and performer, so merely framing him as a Hall & Oates acolyte is short-sighted.
That said, I’m pretty sure the writers of “Baby Come Back” listened to “Sara Smile”, thought a second, then were, like, “oh yeah, we can write a song just as good.”
And they (almost) did.
There are a handful of songs that frame my earliest musical memories. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Foxy’s “Get Off”, Heatwave’s “Always & Forever”. “Baby Come Back” is on that list. Its omnipresence was well-deserved. Song is so smooth, and so soulful. It’s also on the shortlist of songs I have not yet sung at karaoke, but I want to. I’ll be skipping that super high note at the end of the bridge, though. FYI.
“Baby Come Back” disappeared from the radio in the early ‘80s, making the occasional appearance on Lite-FM. I pretty much forgot about the song for a while, until one evening after dinner. My folks and I were watching “Hollywood Squares” (the version with John Davidson and JM J. Bullock), and one of the squares was an actor from the soap opera The Bold & The Beautiful named Ronn Moss. Didn’t know the dude from a can of paint, however he looked like a soap star. Square jaw, full head of hair, winning smile. Davidson mentioned that prior to Moss becoming a soap star, he’d had a pop hit in the ‘70s. I can’t remember if a snippet of the actual recording of “Baby Got Back” played, or if Ronn had a little baby keyboard at his square and played it himself. I am pretty sure I damn near fell out of my chair.
“Baby Come Back” is the best song made by anyone who’d go on to have a regular role on a daytime soap opera. Sorry, Rick Springfield.