Left to right: John Lennon, Bruce Channel & Delbert McClinton.
The song "Hey! Baby" in just iconic in so many ways. For many people, it is one of the American pop songs from the early 60s they remember. And for another generation, it was brought to their attention in the movie 'Dirty Dancing'. For others, it is a song that perfectly captures the transition music was making at the time. For another, it is a perfect example of one-hit-wonder, as the song hangs on in the psyche of pop culture, yet still few would be able to name the singer/songwriter responsible. But they would be singing along!
Bruce Channel was a working singer/songwriter from Texas, often working along side Delbert McClinton performing country music. In 1959, Channel worked with Margaret Cobb and together they wrote the song "Hey! Baby", which Channel performed at live shows over the next few years. Finally, in 1952, Channel recorded the song in the studio, and once released, it became a major hit.
With the success of the song, Channel and McClinton toured across the globe in support of the song. In interviews, Channel has often credited McClinton for the success of the song, saying it was the sound of the harmonica that did it. It seems McClinton's harmonica was grabbing a great bit of attention back in those days. Here is an interview Channel and McClinton did, referencing a tour date when the Beatles opened for them.
Channel was on the road for many years, until he decided to settle in Nashville, Tennessee, the home of Country music. There, he established a career as a respected songwriter, and was eventually inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.