Friday, January 19, 2018


    Many think of Cher as something of a joke…a harmless half of a silly duo singing "I Got You Babe," who morphed into a disco queen with gays chortling over every new outrageous outfit and plastic surgery. In between the extremes, she had a chance to use her unique voice for some memorable songs, and succeeded.

    At first, Sonny and Cher were in the same bowl as the Lovin’ Spoonful, The Byrds, and The Beatles. The joke was that with their shaggy hairstyles and odd faces, you couldn't always tell which was the girl. Their nasal voices harmonized on what was dismissed as pop fluff that revolved around novelty production values. Like The Beatles, Sonny and Cher moved from pop songs to weightier material, but critics didn't take them seriously. "Laugh At Me," was a grumble song from Sonny. They became almost parodies of themselves with a TV variety show, and there was the eventual split. 

     Cher's solo career included an album loaded with heavy covers, and “I Threw It All Away" was among them. It wasn't a big seller. She went for more commercial material, and it brought her back into the Top 20. A catchy pop song IS an achievement, and “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” produced by the very commercial Snuff Garrett was one of those. 

    And so she went…wending her way through a Carol Burnett-type TV show, and her marriage to Allman, and her re-making of her image and her face and her costuming, and her disco tunes and her discovery of the vocoder. 

    It's a bit sad that few take late 60's and early 70's Cher rock-pop seriously, but ultimately she made the wise moves to extend her career with dance hits and Vegas dates. It's doubtful she looks back at her serious attempts at rivaling Baez or Ronstadt and really thinks..."I threw it all away." She's still out there. 



Brian Prebble said...

It is indeed most unfortunate that the surgery and gay adoration has made Cher more of a freakshow type joke since as you highlight she possessed a unique voice (and look) which given the right production and material she used to good effect. She's instantly recognizable - you always know when it's her singing. She's much loved here in the UK and I think she views the UK as a second home as whenever she's over here, she is treated as the legend that she unquestionably is. So, I do have a soft spot for her and some of her work holds up reasonably well... just a pity what's gone on over the last 30 years or so has neutered her musical talents so reminders like this of what she was capable of are always very welcome.

Ill Folks said...

Thanks for your acumen! Yes, a charitable Cher share can remind us of why she IS a star.

Timmy said...

I have always thought & felt, that Cher's 60's cover versions were all excellently sung & produced. That includes all of her Dylan stuff, as well as her duets w/ Sonny. She sold out to the overproduced/disco-unconnected garbage that so many coke vomiting artists did in the mid 70's. She is one of the best female vocalists of all time, despite the career geared crud.