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I Think a Song from Cherished Changed My Life

Cherished1Cherished was the last album Cher did with producer Snuff Garrett in 1977. She was also working with Gregg Allman on a duet album that year and this was the kind of confused personna mash-up that probably occured years later when Cher tried to work on her Vegas shows and her new band Black Rose at the same time. One album personna was gritty, another one was pop.

But if you were 7 or 8 years old when you laid your little hands on this album, you may have loved it as much as I did. I bought my copy, along with Bittersweet White Light and Cher's Greatest Hits (MCA), from a three-dollar bin at our local department store, Styx, Bear & Fuller. I listened to its dramatic story-songs in a constant looping rotation. My best friend at the time would come over and we'd re-enact them all out in our living room where the furniture-sized record player lived. We played the pregnant girlfriend of the pirate, the failed actress, and the groupie.

Flash forward 35 years and the Peter Allen song, "She Loves To Hear the Music" came up on my iPod shuffle. I had a weird epiphany about the song.

I've always felt there are different kinds of celebrity obsession. I'm the kind of Cher fan who collects the stuff. I'm a fan of the product. I never really looked to Cher to model my life after, admire as a hero, or fall in love with. But as a teen I had my share of those kinds of celebrity obsessions. I fixated on a given rock star here and there. With my friends, we'd plot backstage meetings and fantasize about hookups. But I could never carry it through (as if I could carry it through). But even if we ever came close to dumb-lucking ourselves into a situation, something always held me back. Some fact of pride actually. And listening to this Cher song again after all these years, it occurred to me that internalizing this song's story did in fact influence my behavior during these times.

Let's review the lyrics: Cherishedalt

She's just a secretary
at a small recording firm
and when it comes to music
there ain't nothing she can't learn.

Everything she lives and breathes
Is written on an album sleeve.
She can tell you who's hot,
who will make it and who will not.

She loves to hear the music.
She's got every lyric down.
She loves to hear them say
she's got the greatest ears in town.

Hangs around the studios,
ain't a rock star she don't know.
Sometimes they take her home
but she always wakes up alone.

Men that want to marry her
never satisfy.
In the rhythms that she hears

are all that keeps her high.

So they turn around and go
and leave her by her radio.
She didn't love 'em anyway,
not like she loves the men who play.

She loves to hear the music.
She's got every lyric down.
She loves to hear them say
she's got the greatest ears in town.

She's there at every studio,
the first to come, the last to go.
Sometimes they take her home
but she always wakes up alone.

Years will not be kind to her.
Her world is for the young.
Bands that played so tightly and knit
will soon become unstrung.

She'll be just another face,
out of time and out of place.
When the songs revive again,
she'll come to life and tell them when:

She loves to hear the music.
She's got every lyric down.
She loves to hear them say
she had the greatest ears in town.

She could of been somebody's wife.
Music men destroyed her life.
Each night she took one home
but she always woke up alone.

What a crazy lady, I thought when I was eight years old. I knew then this girl was ultimately a loser, in many ways. And she scared me. Who could throw themselves at a rock star if that legacy was looming over you? Not me.

I was conflicted about this for many years. I remember the day I decided to give up lusting after rock stars. I was in my shower feeling more tired than sad. I said to myself, today is the end of it. I started really looking at the men I was dating as real (and interesting) people after that. I met a string of quite amazing and facinating people before finding Mr. Cher Scholar.

I've seen, since then, how "bands that played so tightly knit" have in fact "become unstrung." Rock stars have come and gone with such unbelievable regularity that it makes the Cher phenomenon seem a bit bizarre.

Peter Allen was a great storyteller and the sentence structure of his lyrics: very bright. But I like Cher's version of this song better. Her voice brings the kind of authority the story needs.

Is it at all ironic that one of my childhood celebrity obsessions subconsciously cured me of my later heartthrob celebrity obsessions?

 


The Great Leak of 2013

GagacherI would have blogged about this last week but I'm in the middle of a move. My life consists of waking up, going to work, driving down to Albuquerque in search of a new house, coming home and going back to bed and then repeating it all the next day. In the middle of all this, big Cher drama! It goes like this: 

Many years ago Cher fans heard a rumor that Cher had recorded a new Lady Gaga song called "The Greatest Thing." Many years ago fans also heard a rumor that its release was eternally pending. It was a solo or it was a duet or it was a solo featuring Gaga. It was one of those mysterious Cher things.

Months ago we found out the song had been shucked of the new Cher album due to reasons from Gaga herself.

Suddenly last week, the song was leaked onto the Internets amid other Gaga song leaks. (Cher's single "Woman's World" was also leaked last year.) A new rumor has it the leak of "The Greatest Thing" came from someone on Gaga's team.

The truth of these many rumors may never be known. But Cher fans suddenly found themselves able to finally hear the song. (Check Cher World for more details.) Meanwhile, Cher posted angry tweets about the leak:

 "Just heard TGT ! F--K ! IT'S NOT EVEN THE RIGHT F---ING VERSION!!! WHY DO PPL THINK THIS KINDA LEAKING S--T IS OK ! I'm so Fg DISSAPOINTED," she tweeted to her fans.

"Disappointed ( Ive Sat on fkng song 4 over a yr ) NOW SOME A--HOLE LEAKS WRONG VERSION ! GaGa's SINGLE IS GREAT, & THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS."

News reports said Cher was referring to Lady Gaga's new ballad, "Applause."

Looking at a leak from "two sides now" (as Joni Mitchell might), you can see the artist's side of it. In these days of hackers with nothing else to do but break into other people's stuff, you probably need to have your hot songs under a kind of Mission Impossible lock and key, reachable only when Cher and Gaga are together in the same room with some fingerprinting device. Artists should have some kind of control as to what product enters the ear-o-sphere.

Also, they do not get paid. What if they've already paid their musicians, engineers and whutnots. Here is where "this leaking shit" is not OK. There's something to be said to having all the same employees working one album and where they can all benefit from the profits of the whole album. Then a leak of one song wouldn't be so financially detrimental. It would be a preview.

But there are four small positives to a leak of this nature:

1. It's press coverage: more build-up for her album release in late September. July is a long way from September and her press for "Woman's World" has died down. This is better than a sneak peak. It's drama.

2. It's mind-boggling: In search of an answer to a submitted question to Cher Scholar, I'm re-watching all the Sonny & Cher TV shows, (yes, that's how dedicated I am to Cher scholarin), and this gives me pause to consider that Cher was huge in 1973 and now 40 FREAKIN YEARS LATER we are talking about a leak to a new Cher song! At this point, its beyond phenomenal. And on the flip side, would anyone have cared about a leak of a song from Cherished or I'd Rather Believe in You? Nobody's writing about leaks from new Jackie DeShannon albums (God love her).

3. It shuts down crabby fans like me who will eternally complain about their cravings to hear it. Which is mind-boggling that we even feel this way being Cher fans. When you consider all her 32+ studio and soundtrack albums, six seasons of TV show songs, (at an average of four songs per episode...if you break the Sonny & Cher medley into two), and all the material from other special TV appearances, our catalogue of Cher songs is really an embarrassment of riches. But we seem to be the insatiable zombies I have always thought we were.

3. It's a good song, even this version, and it's given me a new Cher fantasy. If only you knew how I hate it when artists ask their crowds to sing parts of their songs for them. They turn the microphone out to the audience and the masses sing the chorus of some hit. Manipulated love and what a rip off. Like I don't need to pay to hear myself sing, you know. However, this song has made me reconsider my grouchiness on this point. What a moment that would be to hear all Cher fans in a big crowd singing the lyrics of "The Greatest Thing" back to her. I get verklempt!

4. My life was in the shithole last week and for three minutes it wasn't. If I can send money somehow to Cher or Lady Gaga I would be happy to.

 


Album Pre-Reviews, Appearances, Gossip

Closer to the Truth Reviews:

Cher's PR team hosted a listening party for critics. Reviews have been encouraging:

Bradley Stern from Muumuse:

For about two hours, me and about two dozen other journalists and industry types schmoozed, danced and swayed (and indulged in one too many sweet treats) to the sound of Cher’s first studio album since 2001′s Living Proof. Sadly, I still have to keep mum on a majority of the record (as per Liz Rosenberg‘s direct orders — and I’m not about to cross Liz), but there are some things I’m allowed to discuss. And so, some initial thoughts. For one thing, Closer is a healthy between punchy uptempo dance tracks (including “Woman’s World”) and big emotional balladry — a half-breed, one might say. The dance tracks are all fierce, stomping club-pop anthems with equally fierce names: The most instant highlight, though, is “Take It Like A Man,” which — as I breathlessly tweeted during the party — is clearly a new gay anthem from the get-go. (Then again, you probably could have assumed as much from the title alone.) It’s a very big, anthemic call-to-arms for the dance floor, a la “Song For The Lonely” — except rather than being a dedication to the lonely, it’s about those who, err… take it.

There’s plenty of variety to get truly excited about, including not one, but two songs penned by P!nk (who assists with background vocals on one). One of the two is called “I Walk Alone,” which has a defiant chorus that sort of reminded me ofGeri Halliwell‘s “Bag It Up.” Lots o’ sass.
The ballads, though, are where Cher’s diehards will likely be beside themselves. (The term “classic Cher” came up quite frequently throughout the night.) There’s big, bold chops on this record — especially on the slower numbers, including a heartfelt dedication to 9/11 and “I Hope You Find It,” a devastating post-break up coming-to-terms that underscores why Cher’s the original #GrownWoman.

While classics like “Believe” obviously remains immaculate, Closer To The Truth is also closer to the natural vocals — no real Auto-Tune play to be found here. A little more organic, one might say! ... Though it’s obviously hard to make a solid assessment from only one spin or two in the middle of a party (and a few glasses of Prosecco), the impression I got from the smiling faces and tapping toes (my own included!) was that Closer To The Truth is going to be a genuine fan pleaser. The uptempos will serve nicely at the gym and getting ready for a big night out, and the ballads will serve nicely for a good ol’ 4 AM sob session. It’s danceable, it’s heartfelt — and most of all, it is very, very Cher.

Daily Front Row (Sergio):

..“Closer To The Truth”, her first full album of new material in 11 years, and it’s a helluva drug! The world isn’t ready. First single, “Woman’s World” reached #1 on the dance charts this week and the rest of the album is MAJOR! There are two chills-down-your-spine ballads written by P!nk (“Lie To Me” and “I Walk Alone”, latter of which P!nk sings background vocals on). A pop tune produced by Timbaland and co-written by pop-music’s wizard Bonnie McKee (who’s worked with Katy Perry and Britney Spears) called “I Don’t Have To Sleep To Dream”. Future dance floor classics “Take It Like A Man”, “Dressed To Kill” and “I Hope You Find It” produced by Mark Taylor, the man behind Cher game changer “Believe” and finally my fave by far, “Sirens”, a tear-jerker which made every hair on my arms (and only god knows where else) stand up, also produced by Taylor. This is a drill and you have been warned! Cherilyn Sarkisian is ready for war and she’s not afraid to take down every biatch that came after her, one by one..

ABC News Radio:

The first part of the album is stacked with dance-floor anthems, in the vein of “Believe” and “Song for the Lonely.” The latter half features mid-tempo songs and slower numbers, where the lyrics and melodies are highlighted, and where Cher’s distinctive voice can be heard at full force, imbuing every word with an emotional heft that can only come from having truly lived, loved and lost.

Boy Culture:

I’m sworn to secrecy on the tracklisting, but everyone knows there’s a tune called “Take It Like a Man.” It’s fantastic, a much worthier club #1 than Cher’s current club #1, “Woman’s World.” The album has particularly strong ballads (especially toward the end), Pink contributes two winners and there is even a track that—due to its title—I suggested should have a music video featuring Cher masturbating in the shower.

And there is a song whose title is a color. And also, one of the songs sounds like something Cher would have sung to the Bagel Boy when their relationship ended.

More on this album as we get closer to September 24, but I think its 11 ditties will supply Cher ecstasy for her millions of minions.

For full texts, visit Cher World 

Cher At the Rasputin Club in West Hollywood

Cherrasput1   Cherrasput2 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YouTube video

See Cher with Chad Michaels (everyone is throwing him shade for looking too much like Cher; but last night I saw old Petula Clark footage on PBS and he looks more like her than Cher IMHO. He does do a solid Cher act though.) Cher thanks her fans for making her song #1. I just watched The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour episode #7 last night. (Due to an Ask Cher Scholar question that just came in, I'm tackling all the episodes.) Sonny and Cher thank their fans for liking their summer replacement show enough to get it on the air full time. Very gracious. That Cher's a good kid!

More photos and video on Cher News and Cher World.

Cher on Extra

ExtraCher did Extra last week with Jerry Penacoli. See Cher World for video. Another great interview.

 

 

 

Other News/Gossip

 


Another Day of Breaking Records and Defying Time

Cherdance2Cher must be doing a jig these days. She's breaking hearts and breaking records. Here's a long note from my Billboard-watcher friend Christopher. Happily, it came on my birthday, July 31:

"She did indeed do it. "Woman's World" strides onto the throne of the Billboard Dance (Club Play) Chart this week. What it means for chart-lovers and Cher-lovers:

- Her 12th Top Ten song on the Dance Chart.
- Her 8th Number #1 on that chart (her first was "Believe").
- With "I Got You Babe" hitting #1 in 1965, it gives her a span of 48 years between first and most recent #1's on various Billboard charts, an achievement all the more remarkable insofar as the recent #1 represents a new recording and not a greatest hits collection. I haven't done the research to ironclad confirm that this is THE record for #1 longevity, but I would bet your Cher make-up head on it.    The only active recording artist who has a realistic chance of catching/matching her is Barbra Streisand: her first #1 is the People album from 1964, her most recent, "Love is the Answer" (also an album) in 2009, a span of 45 years. Cher's last #1 hit (also from the Dance Chart), "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," is from 2010, which, at the time, matched Babs' 45 year span. With Woman's World, Cher now has the record all to herself.

Some may argue that Barbra's achievement is more substantial, given that the #1's forty-five years apart represent albums on the mother of all charts, the Billboard Top 200 Albums, while Cher's #1's forty-eight years apart are for singles (and the most recent on a niche chart, at that). I in no way wish to minimize Streisand's amazing feat (no other artist--male, female or group--has ever had such a span between #1 albums), but let's keep in mind too that the singles charts reflect a certain degree of au courant hipness that is impressive in its own right. Whereas album sales might more accurately reflect support from a single demographic that has aged along with the artist, I think it's pretty safe to say that the people who purchased "I Got You Babe" in record stores in 1965 (on vinyl only, of course) are not the same folk dancing to and requesting "Woman's World" in the dance clubs of 2013. As has become her signature, Cher has thoroughly defied time once again.

Lastly, it bears repeating that Cher has had #1 songs on Billboard singles charts in SIX (!) different decades:  the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and the 2010s. She had already extended the run into a sixth decade with "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" three years ago, but it is such an astonishing achievement that it should be mentioned again. Moreover, these #1 hits come from the fields of Pop, Adult Contemporary, and Dance, further demonstrating not only her cross-generational appeal, but also her cross-genre prowess. For this six decade "#1 singles streak" record, she truly stands alone. To match it, Madonna, who is in second place (with #1 songs in four different decades), would have to notch a #1 song between 2020 and 2029, and yet another in 2030 (at which time she would be 72 years old) or later. Even though Madonna remains, arguably, the most successful singles artist in the history of popular music, I have my doubts she can catch Cher on this one."

 


And Then There Was One (RIP Karen Black)

FirstToday Cher is the sole surviving member of the Disciples of James Dean.

Karen Black passed away August 8 from cancer. As a horror movie fan, I of course loved Karen Black in both Trilogy of Terror and Burnt Offerings with Bette Davis and Oliver Reed.

Sandy Dennis also died of cancer (ovarian) in 1992.

Here are some publicity shots of Robert Altman (who died in 2006 from complication of leukemia), Black, Dennis and Cher from their work in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean on Broadway in 1982:

 

Obit Karen Black_Treo 3gals 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3gals3 3gals4