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Cher and Muhammad Ali

Sonny Bono Genius Search

OvSome friends of ours sent Mr. Cher Scholar some clips of Sonny as Deacon Dark on The Love Boat, completely unawares that I was in the process of searching for Sonny's Aaron Spelling episodes and also forgetting that I was Cher Scholar in the flesh. We asked our friend how he came upon the clips and he said he watched an interview with Terry Reid who mentioned Sonny as a genius. So I dutifully went online to search "Sonny Bono genius" and did not find the interview...but have you seen these?

Open Vault does a four part, almost hour long, interview with Sonny from 1993 about his music history. He talks about the first use of "Pinz-a" in the song "Needles and Pins" (which Cher thankfully dropped in her version). He talks about Sonny & Cher in The Blossoms, their part of the 60s revolution in style (specifically their clothes), his real feelings about Rolling Stone magazine (and maybe a hint into Cher's true feelings about them), his work for Phil Spector, (often described as a go-fer but he also was a record promoter for Spector and was working a student of production). Most interestingly he talks about he conceived of the song "I Got You Babe" as a mashup of the Spector Wall of Sound, Dylan-style folk and bubblebum pop. He also places the origins of Rock and Role solely in the black church.

Mr. Cher Scholar believes there's a natural antipathy between Rolling Stone and Sonny & Cher, not just because the magazine treated them as unhip (which they did in their 1973 long, harsh, but beautifully written, expose) but for the reason they treated them that way, because Rolling Stone has always been trying so hard to sell to the drug scene. That was their entire identity.

Anyway, then I found this! The 1969 promotion record for the movie Chastity.  Is Sonny smoking helium for this?

Chastity: "it had to be said," Sonny says. Who knew? Okay, so this interview isn't as flattering as the one above, especially in terms of how Sonny maintains that homosexuality and "free sex" creates psychic scars (one of his movie's themes) but I do believe/hope Sonny would have evolved on issues of feminism and gay rights as many fiscal conservatives have. That said, this is a juicy piece of Sonny & Cher history.

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