♫ To Know Him Is To Love Him ♫

Determined to play something I hadn’t already played here before, I had to dig all the way back to 1958, the year of my 7th birthday.  Still, I well remember this one and most of my readers likely will too … except you young whipper snappers!

This is the song that launched Phil Spector’s career. He was a 17-year-old senior in high school when he recorded this, and he quickly became a top producer after working with prominent songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. By the time he was 23, he had produced hits like Be My Baby and You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ and was already a millionaire.  Wow!!!  He became famous for obsessive attention to detail and a heavily layered sound, but he also had mental health issues. After producing the Beatles album Let It Be and working on solo albums for George Harrison and John Lennon in the 1970s, he went into seclusion and worked only sporadically.

Phil Spector was inspired to write this in early 1958 by a photograph of his father Ben’s tombstone that said “To have known him was to have loved him.” Phil changed the tense of the epitaph on the tombstone and matched it to the music of When the Red, Red Robin Goes Bob-Bob-Bobbin’ Along.  Phil’s father, Benjamin Spector, was a steelworker who had killed himself 9 years earlier.

According to SongFacts …

Along with some high school friends, Phil put together The Teddy Bears (named after the Elvis Presley song), and wrote this so their new vocalist, Annette Kleinbard, would have something new to sing at a recording session. They had an audition with Era Records head Lew Bidell, who thought they were “okay” but needed better material. Kleinbard didn’t like the song, but agreed to sing it anyway. The group consisted of high school seniors Spector and Marshall Lieb, sophomore Kleinbard, and alumnus Sandy Nelson (who later had #4 hit “Teen Beat” and #7 “Let There Be Drums”) on the drum kit. Although Lieb played piano at the recording session, Spector had asked another friend to do it: future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston. Johnston turned Spector down because he had a date.

This was released on Dore Records as the B-side of “Don’t You Worry My Little Pet” and released in August 1958. After a month, very little happened with the record on the local level. Dore tried again with the record – this time pushing “To Know Him Is To Love Him” as the A-side. Still nothing – it looked like doom for the single. Meanwhile, a radio station in Fargo, North Dakota, began playing “To Know Him Is To Love Him” regularly, and orders began coming in for the record. Then the record started getting airplay in Minneapolis. The record had sold nearly 20,000 copies when it entered Billboard at #88 on September 22. Lew Bedell called Dick Clark in Philadelphia to help him promote the record, which was only a Midwest hit, and Clark played it on American Bandstand on October 3, 1958. The following week, it entered the Top 40, and on October 29, The Teddy Bears appeared live on Bandstand. By December 1, “To Know Him Is To Love Him” was #1 in the nation. It ended up selling nearly one-and-a-half million copies. Spector finished the Dore contract by providing them with a second single, “Wonderful Loveable You” backed with “Till You’re Mine.”

The Teddy Bears left Dore for Imperial Records and released the album The Teddy Bears Sing. It went nowhere and the group soon disbanded, with Spector joining Lester Sill and Lee Hazlewood’s Gregmark Publishing and forming a new group called The Spectors Three. Annette Kleinbard had a serious car accident requiring months of recovery time. She did recover and issued a single, “Alibi”/”What Difference Does It Make,” on Imperial under the name Annette Bard. After that single failed, Kleinbard changed her name to Carol Connors (she hated her name because of Annette Funicello’s presence in The Mickey Mouse Club) and later gained fame as a songwriter (“Hey Little Cobra” and “Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)”).

Spector claimed that he learned a great deal from writing, recording and promoting this song. He learned that he didn’t want to be a singer, and he also got a lesson in the brutal nature of the record business when he received only $3,000 out of the $20,000 he thought he had earned from the record. “I learnt about payola and distributors and manufacturing,” Spector said. “I learnt about the Mafia.”

On February 3, 2003, Spector shot actress Lana Clarkson in the mouth while in his mansion (the Pyrenees Castle) in Alhambra, California. Her body was found slumped in a chair with a single gunshot wound to her mouth.  On May 29, 2009, Spector was sentenced to 19-years-to-life in the California state prison system where he remained until he died earlier this year at age 81.  Whoa … how did I manage to turn a fun music post into such a depressing one.  Okay, never mind me and just listen to the song, okay?  Oh, by the way, this song peaked at #1 in the U.S. and #2 in the UK.

To Know Him Is to Love Him
The Teddy Bears

To know, know, know him
Is to love, love, love him
Just to see him smile
Makes my life worthwhile

To know, know, know him
Is to love, love, love him
And I do

I’ll be good to him, I’ll bring love to him
Everyone says there’ll come a day
When I’ll walk alongside of him

Yes, just to know him
Is to love, love, love him
And I do

Why can’t he see?
How blind can he be?
Someday he’ll see
That he was meant for me

To know, know, know him
Is to love, love, love him
Just to see him smile
Makes my life worthwhile

To know, know, know him
Is to love, love, love him
And I do

Why can’t he see?
How blind can he be?
Someday he’ll see
That he was meant for me

To know, know, know him
Is to love, love, love him
Just to see him smile
Makes my life worthwhile

To know, know, know him
Is to love, love, love him
And I do

To know, know, know him
Is to love, love, love him
Just to see him smile
Makes my life worthwhile

To know, know, know him
Is to love, love, love him
And I do

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Phil Spector

22 thoughts on “♫ To Know Him Is To Love Him ♫

    • There is a replica of one in a shopping mall near here, and the place is always packed! The food isn’t that good, but I think people just go there for the atmosphere. It has the old-fashioned jukebox and the old red vinyl-topped tables, and the outside is black-and-white checkered. Glad you liked the song, my friend! xx

      Like

  1. I knew the Teddy Bears version, but my favourite was Peter and Gordon. It was an okay song, but I only grew to really appreciate it when I used it in my unpublished novel of teenage angst about the band my friends and I never did get around to forming in the mid 60s. What a fantasy that novel was!
    But had it been made into a movie (I actally did a film script for a director at one point, but pissed him off when I added my own directorial ideas to the script, and he was a bigger egomaniac than I was! The only copy got tossed in the trash in a fit of rage!) it would have given the song a huge revival in the 90s.
    But, that”s life. I never wrote another film script, but if I had, I had learned to only put words in the actors mouths, and leave “everything else” up to my “betters.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t realize that Peter & Gordon had also covered it! I also didn’t realize you ever considered turning your novel into a movie … that would have been tres interesting! Too bad you gave the idea up!

      Like

  2. I hate this song. I would bet the house that Phil Spector wrote it about himself. When Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris & Dolly Parton did a cover of it, I was like — REALLY? Even their fabulous vocals couldn’t save its lame-ass lyrics & the sad-bastard melody. It’s a LOUSY song. It’s the kind of song that when it comes on the juke box, you go outside for a smoke … me, I don’t smoke cigarettes … but I’ll be smoking something.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.