Throwback Thursday

InterviewLiving in New York in 1982

Cher fans recently came across an old Cher interview with Andy Warhol from March of 1982 in Interview Magazine.

Remember back then Cher's career was in Nowheresville. This was on the heels of Black Rose and Las Vegas showrooms and Cher was part of the cast of Robert Altman Broadway play. In the interview, she had just offered a role in Silkwood. No one expected much of anything from her and it was amazing that she made the cover of Interview at that time. I loved the cover so much I had it hanging on my wall all through high school.

The piece is filled with a few glaring typos. (talking about the record "I’m Paralyzed" and mentioning Cher’s sister Jeannie). When asked about New York City's Mayor Koch, Cher says “I don’t know anything about politics…I don’t watch the news. I’m pretty unenlightened.” So in 30 years, we’ve seen lots of changes on that front. She’s now described as a news junky and Trump foil.

Cher-heardThe article also talks about her recently ended relationship with professional hockey player Ron Duguy and her current relationship with two men, young actor John Heard and music producer John Leoffler.

John Heard just died a few weeks ago of a heart attack at age 72. Cher’s tweeted her thoughts and picture presumably from the time she dated him.

The Witches of Eastwick

Cher scholar Tyler recently shared this interesting article on Witches of Eastwick in Racked.

It's a good article to see how millennials see this movie today. Be warned, it’s nothing they would recommend. They like the visuals and the fashion, but find the gender politics weird, (and outdated probably). They consider it something their parents likely saw on date night. Ouch! But you can’t argue with the plot flaws of the thing and the weak characters, such as Daryl who “doesn’t seem all that powerful, all things considered.”

The author proposes the idea that Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon flying might be about orgasms. Huh. Interesting.

Orgasmic

I sent the article to my Jack Nicholson-obsessed friend, (she of the Cher Zine 2 Cher vs. Jack Cookbook Cook Off) and she remembered having to see the movie with her Dad when she was underage and they were both terrified of the orgy scene from the movie trailer that never made it to the final cut.

Orgy2

Here are some retro interviews around that time:

Remember the weird floral couch interviews? In this one, Cher talks about working with Sudie Bond in two previous movies.

Another floral couch interview.

An interview in Germany.  Sonny & Cher here are called the first hippies in the world.


Tweets & Cruises

Chertweet2Cher made the top page of Yahoo! for one of her Trump tweets.

She's also involved in a new lawsuit over her investments.

Cher gave comments on the new trend of Cher hair in In Style:

"It's a good look! I saw Kim [Kardashian West] do it, and thought it was so great," Cher said. "I've worn my hair like that ever since I was a girl. For now, it's back, but then girls will start doing something else when they get bored." 

In Closer Weekly, she talks about relationships with past loves.

CrewzAnd hey! There’s a Cher Crewz in November 2018. You can hang out with other Cher fans and two top notch Cher impersonators, Chad Michaels and Candi Stratton.

Check out the website: https://www.chercrewcruise.com/

And Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CherCrewCruise/ 

I can't go but you should!


Fabulous Fun Fan Fall: Memoirs

CherStage

In the New York Times article about Cher’s musical, I learned these productions are called “jukebox bio-musicals” and the September 10, 2017 NYT reported that there has been a written but aborted Bruce Springsteen musical, (his one man show sold out in October but he nixed a musical based on his songs), and a list of artists with juxebox bio-musicals:

  • Jersey Boys (The Four Seasons)
  • Beautiful (Carol King)
  • Mama Mia! (ABBA)
  • Movin’ Out (Billy Joel)

Upcoming:

  • Escape to Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffet)
  • Donna Summer
  • The Temptations
  • Cher
  • Tina Turner

The Rolling Stone article about Cher's jukebox bio-musical.

Book Memoir

CherbookYes! A new Cher memoir is now officially a thing. Publisher HarperCollins has just won the rights to the book. We don’t know if a book actually exists yet or if it will take a few years to exist, but what great news. I was worried the Broadway show would be the only self-interpretation of Cher’s life we might get. Not that I’m complaining about that. But as a book nerd…yippee!

And I’m sure the book has the potential to have lots of salacious stories about Hollywood. And that’s always fun. But I really think the existing books (including her own The First Time) are mostly lacking evidence of her childhood and ancestry, both which have much more bearing on a person than backstage run-ins with Raquel Welch and Red Foxx. Although that is interesting too. There’s the cake and there’s the icing.


Fabulous Fun Fan Fall: Music

CherwallsWalls

This is like my favorite time to be a Cher fan. There’s another new Cher song out! She “performed” a song called “Walls” solo last weekend at the One Young World Festival in Bogota. Here’s an audio clip.

It’s very "Sirens" sounding. Allegedly a single will go on sale to benefit Cher's animal welfare foundation, Free to Wild. Keep a look out for the official recording to purchase. Cher is putting her vocals behind some really great projects this year: Syrian refuges, character-building children’s shows, animal welfare. Hopefully we can all contribute to these causes officially.

This is Cher’s fourth new song this year. Three of the new songs were released as a surprise without PR fanfare and none have been officially released as singles. According to reports, “Walls is expected to be released in the near future with proceeds from sales to be donated to Free The Wild, Cher’s foundation which was created to protect wild animals in captivity.”

Cher was recently trying to free the elephant Kavaan.

According to Newnownext, "It’s always a cause for celebration when Cher releases new music. But when it’s a soulful ballad that subtly knocks President Trump, it’s doubly amazing. The Dark Lady premiered “Walls” over the weekend at the One Young World Festival in Bogota. While it’s ostensibly about emotional barriers, it’s also a dig at Trump’s favorite pet project—a wall along the U.S./Mexican border.”

It’s actually primarily about animals in cages. But I really do love the fact that the song can be read on three layers. They lyrics are vague enough to be read as tearing down Trump’s Mexico wall, tearing down political, emotional or interpersonal barriers, and about cages keeping in wild animals.

In college I made a mix tape of animal welfare songs. And yes, "Bless the Beasts and the Children" was in the mix, completely un-ironically. However," Tame Yourself" by Raw Youth has always been my favorite animal welfare song. Although I see now that the finger crossing in the video is a little over the top. The song was recorded to benefit PETA and was released as a compilation with other animal welfare songs.

Cher’s song is not maudlin or accusatory. And it does seem elastically vague enough to be readable with multiple interpretations. We don’t know who wrote it yet but it could be another Diane Warren song. The vague language kind of reminds me of her style.

Which reminds me that Paloma Faith, who has a new album coming out soon and a new single posted on YouTube, now has a Diane Warren connection.

LovecanhurtSo Paloma is an artist that I love so much I’ve accidentally purchased one of her albums twice. And I did this recently. After buying her third album twice, I became enraptured with the video and the song "Only Love Can Hurt Like This" and for about a week I listened to it nonstop before I realized it was written by none other than Diane Warren. I love this song. And I know I’ve been pretty vocal about my feelings about Ms. Warren. Like most people, I’m too opinionated about music. And way less opinionated in poetry where I'll return to writers I don’t like to see if I might become more open to them.

Most Cher fans love her Diane Warren songs. My friends, all 80s kids, love her songs, too. I’m pretty much a minority of one in my distaste for them. In fact, my friends and Cher-fan friends might say I have a bonafide prejudice. And in this world of over-opinionization, opinions have become pretty meaningless. I’ll argue strenuously any day of the week that music preferences are completely subjective any way you look at it.

But it’s my blog so I can complain if I want to. However, I’m now faced with the issue of there being Diane Warren songs I like.

To recap what I haven’t liked: 1) simplistic melodies (Cher’s “Turn Back Time” being particularly grating), 2) easy rhymes and platitudes (Cher’s “Love and Understanding” maybe the worst offender), 3) ubiquitously found on everybody’s albums, including now the incomparable Paloma Faith!, 4) if you write a song about smiles, it has to live up to the smile of the person singing it. (The whole sub-genre of smiling songs we can leave to another day.)

HosAnd this reminds me that John Waite has also released a new album with a good version of Donovan's “Catch the Wind” which Cher covered too in 1966. Which yet again reminds me of that day in 1989 when the first Bad English album and Cher’s Heart of Stone were released on the same day.

And in full disclosure, of all the many, many Diane Warren hits I have liked the following: "Unbreak My Heart," "If You Asked Me To" (Patti LaBelle’s version), and as a preteen I really did love the build-up and synthesizers in Laura Branigan’s "Solitaire." Oh, and Michael Bolton’s "Time, Love and Tenderness" was one of the few cassette singles I ever bought  because it felt like an updated, edgier version of the Barry Manilow’s cheer-up song "I Made it Through the Rain."

But I can live happily never having heard these songs again: "Because You Loved Me," "Look Away," "Blame it on the Rain," "Don’t Turn Around," "Rhythm of the Night," "Don’t Want to Miss a Thing" (ugh, really hate that one), "I Get Weak," "How Can We Be Lovers," "Just Like Jesse James," and Heart’s "Who Will You Run To."

I can’t argue with the powerhouse that is Diane Warren. All I can say is that I love "Only Love Can Hurt Like This" and have to throw some of the credit for that to Paloma Faith who has really taken the song and made it part of her retro-ouvre.

It will be interesting to find out who wrote “Walls” and if I’ll have to eat my hat again over liking it for the very same reason I don’t like Warren’s other vague lyrical material.

CherfutureEveryday People

More material from Cher’s commercial with Future (that news feels like old news now, huh?).


The Broadway Show's Opening Dates

Broadwayshow
The Cher Show on Broadway has a website and social sites and is scheduled to open in Chicago and New York.

http://www.gaytimes.co.uk/culture/88221/omg-chers-musical-is-officially-opening-in-2018-weve-all-the-details/

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/THE-CHER-SHOW-to-Premiere-in-Chicago-Next-June-Heading-to-Broadway-Fall-2018-20170928-facebook

There's a new website with social media links and an email alert signup: https://thechershowbroadway.com/

Chicago

Limited pre-Broadway previews

Dates: June 12, 2018 through July 15, 2018
Location: The Oriental Theatre

Subscription Series, which will go on sale to the public on October 18, 2017.

New York

Broadway debut

Date: Fall 2018
Location: The Neil Simon Theatre in Fall 2018

Credits

The new bio-musical will feature a book by Rick Elice (Tony Award-winning best musical Jersey Boys), direction by Jason Moore (Tony Award-winning best musical Avenue Q),choreography by Tony Award-winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies), and orchestrations, arrangements and musical supervision by Tony Award-winner Daryl Waters (Memphis). The new musical is produced by Flody Suarez (What's New Pussycat) and four-time Tony Award-winner Jeffrey Seller (Hamilton).


History of the Cher Look

KimcherDiscussion about the Cher look has been all over the news over the last few months. It’s cray-cray.

Kim Kardashian did a photographic Cher tribute of Cher that made a big splash:

- Billboard
- Harpers Bazaar
- Daily Mail
- People
- The Today Show

And Cher approves of her “little Armenian sister"

 - People
 - US Magazine
 - Page Six

It’s odd to me the kind of sites that do Cher outfit reviews. It’s becoming the new click-bait.

JumpNow here is an outfit review with a point of view: the best jumpsuits of all time.

I even updated my own page of Cher in cowboy hats!

And various other articles posted giddy news about Cher’s health and beauty routines:

And in celebrity homes news...is the Sonny & Cher house haunted? It was back on the market with a new look (Architectural Digest)


Cher in Movie History

GoodtimesThanks to Tyler (again! He's a Dr. of Cher scholarship) for sharing this great blog post on Good Times.

"Good Times" is not necessarily a good movie by normal cinematic standards. In fact, let's come right out and say it -- it's a bad movie by most cinematic standards. But it's still fun to watch, especially if you think of it as a series of music videos instead of a movie. Or maybe just think of it as a preview of their TV variety show from a few years later.

ChermaskAnother great article about Cher music on TV and in the movies.

The article singles out the recent covers of “Believe” on singing competition shows and also super rarities in the movies, like the song “Human,” the never-released gem from the soundtrack of Stuck On You. It's one of my favorite later-day Cher songs although the production sounds a little back bedroom. Another interesting mention is Cher's performance of “Little Egypt,” the infamous, badly-lit scene cut from the final release of Mask. You can see the outtake here (and in  Peter Bogdanovich’s Directors Cut DVD). It's the part of the movie where she runs into Gar at a picnic that turns into a party and she's trying to lure him back into her life.

I haven’t seen this movie in years. Maybe it’s time.


Cher in Television History

SonnychercarolNostalgia TV

So much good TV history stuff this summer, but I’m a bit frustrated with the ever-repeating reruns of reruns that is Sonny & Cher on GetTV. For all of you who didn’t kill yourselves to get this channel, you can rest happily. As a consolation, GetTV has provided a quiz on their website: Are you more Sonny or Cher? I scored as Cher: a free spirited, outspoken, wise cracker.

Over at the other beloved re-run channel MeTV there is a story about Classic TV Stars Who Are Still Touring and 10 Iconic Facts about Cher.

Carol Burnett Show

Cher scholar Tyler discovered this delectable early Carol Burnett Show episode with Sonny & Cher from the mid 60s. The full episode includes everything (the solo of "You’d Better Sit Down Kids" and the duet "Living For You," plus the big finale number) but Cher’s solo is missing audio.

 For that solo, you have to visit this other link. Carol Burnett introduces Sonny & Cher as part of a “wild, way out movement [hardly]. They country jam this groove-fest.

Cher comes across as a shy, morose teenager in these numbers and at one point actually creeps off the set. Sonny tries to be so groovy, but WTF is he wearing on his leg? Cher’s correct, though, he has very nice hands.

The big number (at mark 45:10) is really something to see. Cher in very shy and unsure as Carol Burnett and Nanette Fabray exhibit the kind of duo chemistry that makes Cher look like a big third wheel. It’s exactly the same shut-out that occurred in 1975 between Cher and Tina Turner, when Kate Smith looked like the third wheel in the big Beatles tribute.

Magic on The Cher Show

Another great find (thanks to Tyler) was this Cher Show appearance by magician Mark Wilson. Cher plays his assistant. It’s pretty cheesy by today’s standards, there’s a big overhead of assistance, lame jokes and is that Gloria Steinem in the un-enthused crowd?

GroovypadLove American Style

Truer than the red, white and blu-oo-oo! The full episode of Sonny and Cher’s appearance on Love American Style from January 1971.

It’s called “Love and the Sack.” I loved this show as a kid. This time I noticed how goofy and Mary-Tyler-Moore the set looks: a wicker chair, peace sign art, 1960s plants, and the ubiquitous guitar in the corner.

Cher (as April) is waiting for a surprise marriage proposal from her boyfriend Henry. A sack arrives with Sonny in it, postage due. Sonny says, “I mailed myself to you” as if that’s not a creepy-stalker thing to say. Stranger danger!

Sonny, who’s name we never learn, tries to convince Cher/April that life with Henry would be a mundane affair of track housing, missionary sex and too many babies. Meanwhile he has a motorcycle, a loft in the village with a bathtub sofa, (I looked that up and found nothing but a slew of bathtubs converted into sofas), and promises her a Turkish-bath honeymoon (I looked that up too).

So Henry shows up and Cher says “get back in the sack!” See, in the 60s, sack was a double-entendre. Anyway, Henry comes in and offers to take Cher out for Cock-a-doodle Chicken. (This show is so randy!) And bingo, all of Sonny’s predictions come true. Henry IS a stiff who wants her to be a baby factory. Henry calls Sonny a bag of soft potatoes and calls Cher/April a kook and a weirdo for having a man in a sack in her living room. Sonny tells Henry to offer Cher/April “Italian sausage.” I kid you not.

I honestly feel this skit shows a solid preview of Cher’s future acting chops.

Glen Campbell and Jerry Lewis

We lost both Glen Campbell and Jerry Lewis this summer. Cher worked with Glen Campbell back with the Wrecking Crew in the 1960s. He also appeared on Cher Shows; Cher appeared on Glen's shows, both with and without Sonny. Cher was also a guest on Jerry Lewis’ TV show and he appeared on hers, with and without Sonny. These are my favorite clips:

Cher and Glen do one of their last medleys (of many) together.

Jerry Lewis on Cher’s show.

Glen1 Glen4

 

 

 

 

 

Cherjerry4 Cherjerry3 Cherjerry2

 

 

 

 

 

Turn Back Time

Cher made the Rolling Stone list of sexiest videos of all time.

Tbt


Cher in Music History

Ms3614 Jackson Highway

There’s a 2014 book, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: How the Swampers Changed American Music, by Carla Jean Whitley that includes some additional information about Cher's experience there in 1969.

I also saw an episode of Merv Griffin with Tom Jones from back in January of 1980. He was promoting a 1979 album called Rescue Me and performing a song called “Flashback.” Merv thought it was an old song but Tom insisted it was brand new, “never before performed.” I wondered if this was the song Cher recorded for her 1976 album I’d Rather Believe in You and it was. Compare the two versions.

Flashback

Tom Jones in 1979 (much more disco, without the piano)

Cher in 1976 (love TJ songs but this version has more texture, IMHO)

These Days

Here’s a good site about everyone who's covered Jackson Browne’s song “These Days” including Gregg Allman and Cher.

"Cher recorded and released a Jimmy Webb-produced covers album, Stars, that attempted to steer her in a more classic-rock direction, but to complete commercial apathy. Cher’s relationship with Allman might have had something to do with her choice of including “These Days” to join the likes of Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul” and Derek & the Dominos’ “Bell Bottom Blues” on the track listing — she didn’t just pick a recent hit of his, rather, she gravitated straight towards one of the more mournful ones. The subtle pop-country-rock arrangement on her version of “These Days,” which leans heavy on syrupy strings, still steps back just far enough to let Cher’s voice stand out as something genuinely longing above the haze of schmaltz."

Cher's "These Days"

Gold Star Studio

An extensive blog post about that clip of Sonny & Cher at Phil Spector's Gold Star Studio in 1966.

Mashable also posted a series of pictures of Cher looking like a sullen teen while hanging out at the studio.

Sirens

And where have I been but I just discovered the original version of "Sirens” by Nell Bryden.


Media History With Cher

GtI’m like a kid in a candy story with all this Cher scholarship out right now. Two more articles last week:

Cher Is Still Changing The Conversation In 2017 (BuzzFeed)

“Cher is still making headlines, after more than five decades in the spotlight, because she’s never stopped finding and mastering new outlets for her creative expression.”

The article talks about her “fierce tweets,” her “Cher-style viral disruption,” her ability to project an expression of a 'real' person, her outspokenness, her flamboyance, the way she “tends to downplay her hard work,” her history as a fashion trend-setter, a comedian, an actor, a “cross-genre, cross-generational pop artist,” her ability for “generating memes and moments for decades” and “meme-generating outfits.

Um, meme wasn’t even a word back when Cher was doing it.

The article credits her for a style that “that would eventually almost become commonplace on red carpets.” There’s a funny quote from her 1970s manicurist, Minnie Smith, who said, “What the hell different can you do with fingernails?” They found something.

According to BuzzFeed’s culture writer, Pier Dominguez, Cher has a “reliable self-awareness” and is able to maintain “a kind of “authentic down-home appeal” unfiltered and has become a “larger-than-life movie star” engaged in a “defiance of aging.”

He links to that crazy 1975 television duet with David Bowie. This clip has become a popular reference point since David Bowie died. For years I’ve never been able to decide whether these song mashups were brave or ridiculous. Probably bravely ridiculous.

And this NPR story by Desire Moses, Shocking Omissions: The Resilient Reinvention Of Cher's 'Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves' (NPR).

This piece talks specifically about the song “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” as a vehicle for Cher’s “signature contralto” and androgynous vocals and that was a step away from Sonny’s “straightforward, cheerful music.”

We are reminded here that Cher lost a Grammy for this to Carole King’s Tapestry (not too shabby). Moses explicates the song  as ”a story of classism, sexism and racism,” and Cher's performance “whose strength lies in her embodiment of the character.” It’s the story of a woman who has been “shafted into the same life as the generations of women who came before her.”

I feel like a whole new generation has discovered this song.

“Cher’s emboldened drawls [a perfect way to describe her singing style] transformed the song into an urgent, beguiling pop smash” and “established a pattern of storytelling reliant on exoticism,” Moses says, in reference to “Half Breed” and “Dark Lady.” Moses calls Cher a “red-carpet trailblazer” and the “poster child of 70s glam,” an innovator one step ahead of the times.

This year's statements, my Cherfriends, are not things that have been typically said about Cher by the press. This feels like a pretty big shift toward sainthood.