5 Things You May Not Have Known About Cher
Today we celebrate an artist who started out as part of a duo before becoming a musical icon in her own right. Yes, itâs Cherâs birthday, and to celebrate, weâve put together a list of five things you may or may not have known about this living â and still lovely â legend.
1. Her first single was a novelty tune designed to cash in on the popularity of the Beatles.
Given that she recorded it under the pseudonym Bonnie Jo Mason, the song âRingo, I Love Youâ wouldnât have done anything for Cher in terms of raising her profile, so perhaps itâs best that failed to chart. Still, itâs noteworthy for at least one other reason beyond Bonnie Jo Masonâs true identity: it was produced by Phil Spector.
2. She wouldâve been happy with Sonny & Cher rocking out, but Sonny wasnât having it.
In Connie Bermanâs biography of Cher, thereâs a quote where Cher discusses her feelings on the music of the late â60s. âI loved the new sound of Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, the electric-guitar oriented bands. Left to myself, I would have changed with the times because the music really turned me on. But [Sonny] didn't like itâand that was that."
3. She fronted a rock band in the early â80s.
With Les Dudek, her significant other at the time, Cher formed the band Black Rose, which released its lone album in 1980. The band appeared on The Tonight Show and lip-synched two songs, but it wasnât enough to turn the album into a success: it completely failed to chart.
4. She unfailingly attributes her film career as being by the grace of Robert Altman.
When her sales figures as a recording artist began to wane in the early â80s, Cher made the decision to move to New York and pursue her acting career in earnest. Although sheâd originally planned to take acting lessons from Actors Studio founder Lee Strasberg, she ended up being signed by Altman as one of the stars of the Broadway version of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, after which Altman cast her in the film version as well. âWithout Bob, I never wouldâve had a film career,â Cher said. âEveryone told him not to cast me. I am convinced that Bob was the only one who was brave enough to do it.â
5. She wrote an album in 1994 that was turned down by her label, but after the success of âBelieve,â she decided to release it independently.
As hard as it is to believe that Cher literally couldnât get an album released in the â90s, the fact that she ultimately issued it for sale online in 2000 under the title NOT.COM.MERCIAL might give you some idea as to why. Actually, thatâs what the head of her label said at the time, saying that it was ânice, but not commercialâ enough. In an interview with Rolling Stone at the time, Cher explained her reasons for selling it over the internet, saying, âI donât know that it belongs anyplace else. I think that the internet is a place that at least it doesnât infringe on anyone elseâs life, and if you want to go there, you can go there and check it out, and if you donât want to be bothered by it, you donât even have to know it in the universe.â (She also added in an L.A. Times interview that the album was âpersonalâ and âvery un-Cher like,â then clarified that âif people really knew me it is very Cher. But itâs so ****ing dark.â While sheâs not entirely wrong, as you can hear for yourself, itâs actually an amazing album that warrants a listen if you can hunt up a copy.