Born Cherilyn Sarkisian, the star we all know as Cher, is an award winning actress, humanitarian and 4-decade, chart-topping singer whose music has been among my favorites four at four decades. Currently at work on a new album, Cher will attempt what few have been able to do before, top the charts for a fifth decade. For a more in depth look at the star’s life and upcoming projects, I recommend “Pop Icon Cher Working on All New Album” by Associated Content contributor John Myers. For now, I’d like to share some of Cher’s all-time greatest hits and my personal favorites.
I Got You Babe– Written by Sonny Bono in 1965 for him and his wife, the song became their signature tune. It is arguably the most well-recognized tune of the duo’s joint career. It spent 3 weeks at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1965.
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)– Bang Bang was written by Sonny Bono and released off the album “The Sonny Side of Cher” in 1966. As many of Cher’s songs did, this one told a story of childhood sweethearts who played “Bang Bang” as children and later when the man leaves her unexpectedly, the woman feels he has shot her down. The song only made it to number two on Billboard’s Hot 100 but it helped cement Cher’s status in the music world.
The Beat Goes On – another number written by Sonny Bono, this song was recorded as a duet by the husband and wife team. It was featured on the album “In Case You’re in Love”. It only made it to the number six spot on pop charts but incidentally was played at Sonny Bono’s funeral and the phrase appears on his tombstone.
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves– This song, written by Bob Stone, was crafted for her and became Cher’s first number one single as a solo artist from the album “Cher” in 1971. It remained a number one for only 2 weeks but left its mark as one of her most memorable songs. The story tells of a family of gypsies, travelling in wagons and doing what they need to in order to survive.
Half Breed – This song from the album with the same name became Cher’s second number one hit as a solo artist in 1973. Lyricist Mary Dean wrote the song about a woman who was half-white and half-Cherokee specifically for Cher. Cher herself is part Cherokee. When the song was brought to record producer Snuff Garrett, he was between contracts with Cher and had to wait 4 months or so until she was resigned to the newly formed MCA records before he could do anything with the song.
Dark Lady – Another story-telling song, this song form the album of the same name was released in 1974. Written by Johnny Durrill of The Ventures, the song became Cher’s third number one single. The story of love, betrayal and revenge tinged with Cher’s deep voice and passionate style is one of my favorites.
If I Could Turn Back Time – The Diane Warren song was released in 1987 from the “Heart of Stone” album and rekindled Cher’s career again. The song reached number three on US charts. Cher’s costume, racy as ever caused her music video to be banned on many television stations. Even MTV would only show it after 9 PM.
The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss) – The Rudy Clark song was originally recorded in 1964 by Betty Everett nut it is the 1990 version Cher did for the soundtrack of the movie “Mermaids”. It appeared in the film during the closing credits and only reached 33 on pop charts but it is still one of the most fun Cher songs out there.
Believe – The title song from the 1998 album became one of the best-selling singles of all time. It remained a number one hit in the US for 4 weeks and is known for the special effects which alter Cher’s vocals in some passages of the song.
Strong Enough– The second release from the “Believe” album is my personal favorite of all the Cher songs. It speaks of overcoming heartbreak and learning when it is time to move on in the same vein as songs like Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and Elton John’s “I’m Still Standin'”.
Sources: Personal Experience