(You’re) Having My Baby by Paul Anka (United Artists, 1974)

Let me begin by saying Paul Anka has 5 daughters. And he’s from Canada, a country that produces some of the most cordial and polite people in the world. Because I can hear the groans and jeers coming from the crowd. That song sucks! Paul Anka hates women! You try having a baby Stanka! I’m hear to defend Paul from all of the people who vote this the worst song of the 70s. Sometimes it’s just commonplace to hate or rail against something just because others do.

Paul Anka had a big career as a teenager in the late 50s/early 60s, but his career waned as the 60s. Then after another label change to United Artists he wrote a song which was an ode to his wife and four (at the time) daughters. The song seemed perfect for Anka to sing. But it was suggested that he might want to sing it as a duet and Paul happened to know a lady named Odia Coates who he thought had a wonderfully voice. I wouldn’t say their 2 voices blended well, but it was interesting hearing them together. Nevertheless Paul & Odia were the first interracial duet ever to hit number one. And even in 1974, that was still a progressive thing. Be it far from me though to think anything but Odia’s voice was the reason for her selection.

So Paul is finally back at number 1, 15 years after his last one. He should have been enjoying it, but many folks including the National Organization of Women decried the song, saying it was misogynistic and Paul was a chauvinist. So let’s break down the lyrics and see if Paul made some bad word choices:

You’re having my baby,
What a lovely way of saying how much you love me,
You’re having my baby,
What a lovely way of saying what you’re thinking of me

Gripe #1 with NOW was the use of my in having my baby part. Is our more inclusive? Absolutely. But it doesn’t work. It would sound like having a baby, which is really dumb. I understand the sensitivity was high back then. Nowadays I’m sure there our many pregnant women would love for the guy to say that’s MY baby. (I’m looking at you, John Edwards.) The part about saying ho much you love & are thinking of me is dorky, but not offensive. In fact I think (and hope for most people’s sake) it’s love that started the child’s life out to begin with. And if you have not had a child, you may not fully get that one til it happens.

I can see it, your face is glowing,
I can see it in your eyes. I’m happy you know it

Here Paul unselfishly recognizes the beauty in his pregnant wife. What a jerk!

You’re having my baby,
Your the woman I love & I love what it’s doing to you,
You’re having my baby,
You’re a woman in love and I love what’s going through you.

Again, not offensive and it shows the wondermenrt of life through the father’s eyes. Maybe it’s a little too much and should be shared in private, but Paul doesn’t care about showing his feelings Alda-style.

The need inside you, I see it showing,
Oh the seed inside you,
Baby do you feel it growing,
Are you happy you know it.

OK, maybe this made people squirm a bit, but guess what? That’s how we all got here, as a seed with needs. Is Paul treating her like a second class citizen? Where is he saying, ‘I know you’re pregnant.but I have company coming over, so start sweeping and bake us a cake’? And now he turns it over to the woman who admits she’s in love, loves what it doing to her and what’s going through her. Did NOW think that Paul was shortchaning the experience and that he should have assumed that women hate being pregnant and it feels awful? He’s still at this point glorifying it.

Didn’t have to keep it, wouldn’t put you through it,
You could have swept it from your life,
but you wouldn’t do it, no you wouldn’t do it.

So hear is where Paul left himself open to scorn. NOW and others said that he was advocating aborting the child. I agree that it could be interpreted that way. I look at it like this. Paul is saying she had the choice to keep or not keep it and that he wouldn’t get in her way whichever she chose. And with the Roe V. Wade decision only a year old, the freedom to choose was big right given to women. Paul is acknowledging this. Plus he knows that his wife even with the choice, would still choose to have the child. I fail to see where Paul at any time condemns pregancy, women, abortion or anyone or anything.

You can say whatever you want about the music: too schmaltzy, too Vegas-y (paul was a frequesnt performer there. Oh and so was Elvis). But for God’s sake, cut Paul some slack.

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2 Comments

  1. porky

     /  August 17, 2011

    what’s most surprising is the label credit, a FAME production, produced by Rick Hall whose studio caught on tape some of the most soulful records of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

    Reply
  2. Johnny OBrien

     /  October 29, 2014

    “So hear is where Paul left himself open to scorn.” Oh, I get it. Because this site is about records, you used the word, ‘hear.’ You are so cool and so smart! IMHO, you’re as cool as Paul Anka! You’re brave, too, because you left yourself open to scorn with your clever pun on the words, here/hear. Someone who’s not as cool as you or Paul Anka might mistake you for a douche-bag who doesn’t proofread what he or she puts up on the web for all the world to see, or worse, always spells ‘here’ h-e-a-r out of plain ignorance. BTW, isn’t Tony Orlando cool too? I think so. “Knock 3 Times,” in particular, was an important, and (dare I say it?) pivotal ’70’s song. Brilliant! I always love to ‘here’ that song (get it?).

    Reply

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