Gregg Allman and Cher

GnaSunday morning I woke up to Mr. Cher Scholar telling me there was a front page story in The New York Times about the death of Gregg Allman, which was just very sad. It had been too tempting over the last few months to believe the reports that his illness had earlier been over-exaggerated. Apparently this was not so.

And although it is true that Cher fans don’t tend to be Gregg Allman fans and Gregg Allman fans don’t tend to be Cher fans, (as I bluntly stated last week), undeniably Gregg Allman was one of the major loves of Cher’s life and looking back over his life of surreal tragedy, (including the violent deaths of family and band members, suicides of ex-girlfriends--at least two--drug and alcohol dramas, all the way to a freak accident fatality on his biopic a few years ago), Allman was undeniably an emotional and physical survivor.

TwoAnd beyond the disparaging remarks he must have endured as Cher's second husband, (from the press and Cher fans alike), their one professional project,  Allman and Woman, continues to get a bad rap. A picture of Cher was placed prominently in The New York Times obit which stated, “the project was poorly received by critics and the record-buying public alike.” Technically true but the assessment could use a re-evaluation. Rolling Stone said the album “resembled an Ashford & Simpson-style effort.” Is that a criticism? I can't tell.

Is it a perfect album, no. Is it one of Gregg Allman's finest. Hardly. But it's full of sexual attraction, emotion and great musicians. And for the same reason Cher’s voice compliments Sonny’s, that same scratchy to syrup contrast works well on this record with Allman.

When I was eleven I found a library copy, (I can still remember the library’s thick plastic protective cover), and spent two weeks dancing to “I Love Making Love to You,” blissfully clueless to the song's meaning. I also felt their version of “You Really Got a Hold on Me” was comparable to Sonny & Cher’s and Cher’s performance of "Island" was duly heartbreaking. To invoke the ghost of George Michael, (ack! we’re losing so many!), listen without prejudice.

The Allman Brothers were groundbreaking in their lengthy improvisational performances but I liked the proverbial "radio edits" like "Jessica," a record I remember my brother playing quite often. I also liked both of Gregg and Cher's versions of "I’m No Angel" and Jackson Browne's "These Days" and The Allman Brother’s "Ramblin’ Man."

Cher-e-greggI have a friend who jokes that her life is so unlucky because she must have kicked puppies in a prior one. I hope Gregg Allman has paid off his karmic debts in this very challenging life and will be free for an easier one soon. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Cher over the last 40 years is that you can always find room in your heart to be friends with your ex-lovers, no matter what their travails or trespasses. Despite some disgruntled moments disparaging Gregg for his lack of parenting instincts, Cher and Gregg Allman eventually spoke well of each other and seemed to have stayed in friendly touch.

It's a very sad day when you lose someone who has rattled your heart so much.

The obituaries:

Some live performances from the Two the Hard Way Tour


Cher History: Marriages, Music, Hair, Movies and TV

ChergreggGossip

Cher's marriage to Gregg Allman was revisited by Inquisitir: “inside their whirlwind marriage.”

 

 

Music

And on the site AV Club, death-fuled songs from the 70s place "Dark Lady" in the same league with Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" and “I Don’t Like Monday’s” by The Boomtown Rats.

Death-songs

Speaking of their "Copacabana" video, watch some bad, unenthusiastic lip-synching and awkward dancing from a dapper and youthful Barry Manilow in that video. He even does a Cher-like costume change!

I love that guy. “Don’t fall in love. Don’t fall in love.”

They also list "Indian Reservation" by Paul Revere and the Raiders (see the stats article).

CherhairFashion

Is Cher hair still a trend? The article references Kim Kardashian but she just cut her hair.

Thanks to Cher scholar Tyler for this article on the Five decades of Cher outfits from CBS News.

 

 

 

 

 

R.I.P.

Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour producer Chris Bearde has died. Mr. Cher Scholar always snickers these days when the credits roll and his name appears as chrisbearde.

Cher-chris

Cher’s late-1970s manager, (before 80s-era Bill Sammeth), Sandy Gallin, (whom for years I thought was a woman) has also died.  (Thanks Cher scholar Michael for that link.) Another story from the gruesomely named Deadline.com.

Cher-sandy

This TV site mistakenly attributes Cher’s tweet about Bearde to be about Gallin.

But on the brighter side, Cher says her mom is doing better.

Cher80sMovies

I've been finding a lot of interviews on YouTube that were obscure since the 1980s. I will try to blog about them as I can. This is one of the best, a great German interview for Witches of Eastwick and Cher's Geffen Records era debut.  In it, Cher says she and Sonny were the first hippies in the world.

 

GlencTelevision

Cher scholar Tyler found this amazing bit of scholarship on YouTube, a fascinating medley between Sonny, Cher and Glen Campbell, a medley proving that when art is concerned, conservatives and liberals can get along.

 
You can also watch the full 1976 episode of Sonny & Cher on Donny & Marie

Dandm


On the Periphery of Cher

CherworldcovercloserAnd there was a slew of Cher crew news recently as well...

The TCM auction was held Monday March 27, 2017.

The show Making History made a Cher reference (Thanks Cher scholar Tyler).

Cher-rock-crewTwo related celebrity deaths occurred: and who would have imagined Chuck Berry and Chuck Barris would die in the same week? (Thanks to Cher scholar Janet for this pic of Chuck Berry on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.) It's my theory that Chuck Barris, besides connecting to S&C show alum Murry Langston, a.k.a The Unknown Comic, is the voice of the M.C. on Sonny & Cher Live.

Bob Mackie celebrated a birthday.

Diane Warren won a major award.

Fans were busy meeting Cher:

What It's Really Like to Design a Home for Cher (Architectural Digest)

And finally, there was a lawsuit over Cher's Closer to the Truth album logo design. Two stories:

I asked two local designers in my office to weigh in:

One said: “Clearly similar but hard to prove imo... that elaborately calligraphic style, and bodoni-like typefaces have been having a moment. That R though is exactly the same."

Another one said: “Yea, that’s a tricky fight when it’s a font. Mosaic Nadav's Paris is very specific beyond the average font and Cher’s design looks like they just let the font basically be the design but with slight changes. This being a mass distributed album that’s pretty lazy design… and yet designers do that all the time so I’m glad the Cher designer got called out on it.”

Called out but not successfully sued as it turns out: "Cher wins dismissal of lawsuit over album cover font" (Reuters)


Bang Bang, Anderson Cooper, Lily Tomlin and Cher Scarves

Petula CLIFF_RICHARD_BANG+BANG-200822

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bang Bang

I recently found some more "Bang Bang" covers:

Petula Clark (1966)

Cliff Richard (1970) He does a gender switch that doesn't quite work but there are some interesting string arrangements.

Did I ever post Lady Gaga's version? (2014) Meh.

Peripherals

Anderson Cooper talks about how Cher was his mother's (Gloria Vanderbilt) fantasy daughter and how Cher now calls him little bro and how charitable Cher's been since Cooper reported on Hurricane Katrina. (The Huffington Post)

Lily Tomlin talks about working with Cher (Parade)

How Cher Succeeds (Fast Company)

Cher Scarves

Cher called into Home Shopping Network earlier this year:

Visit the main scarf page: https://shopvida.com/collections/cher (and don’t miss the video shot at Cher's house.)


Bob Dylan Wins the Nobel Lit Prize (Cher Blog Version)

Chebob3It was announced on Oct 13, 2016, that Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

A few years ago I took a class on Nobel Prize Winning Poets at Santa Fe Community College and our teacher told us that no American poet had previously won the prize. This isn’t entirely true. Reports also stated he was the first songwriter to win. This wasn’t entirely true either. It turns out poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote a tune or two in his day.

If you decide not to include T.S. Eliot as an American poet because he had emigrated to the U.K., then you have to accept Joseph Brodsky as American who emigrated from Russia. You could split hairs and say Bob Dylan is the first native American winning while living in America.

In any case, there are a slate of full-time poets and novelists who are pissed off. Which seems to happen every year the prize is announced for one reason or another. http://time.com/4529524/bob-dylan-nobel-prize-literature-reaction/.

Fictionistas usually feel like they should take precedent over poetry for reasons of cultural popularity and poets are always every-ready to be jealous of any competition from inside or outside their circles. I can easily see how a whole new subcategory could riffle their feathers. "What’s next? Bruce Springsteen?" I do think Bob Dylan deserved the Nobel Prize for taking songwriting in folk and rock to a higher level (Both Scorsese's No Direction Home documentary and the book Jingle Jangle Morning touch on his elevation of the lyric) and for being a writing influence to so many writers and musicians worldwide. I also appreciate that he strongly problematizes the line between poets and songwriters. Poet’s fully intend to die before this crepe-paper tent, the idea that poetry is somehow fundamentally different than song lyrics.

"Songs are not poems!" they say. But they kind of are. I would put up a few Sting, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen lyrics as poems; Bernie Taupin admits to having written poems that Elton John set to music. And many poets will concede that Dylan's lyrics are poetry. Plus, he has the best book of celebrity poetry I've read so far.  Many poetry verses have turned into songs and song verses have been just as inspiring and meaningful to people as poem stanzas, arguably more so in modern times. If you were presented with four lines of poetry and four lines of Bob Dylan lyrics, I’ll bet you would be hard pressed to find a difference. You can’t say, on the one hand, that form is essentially the power of rhythm but yet it doesn’t quite reach the level of melody. That's just a game of intellectual Twister. The hard cold facts of life, (thank you Porter Wagoner), are that the American Songbook is a canon of literature and Dylan has made enormous worldwide contributions to it.

Plus, Nobel judges have always followed their own drum. As I learned in my class, Nobel prizes are political and subjective. See the full list. Sometimes writers win for a single work, sometimes for a body of work, sometimes in recognition of leadership qualities or other nebulous reasons. Many of their choices look obscure to us today.

Cherbob4Cher has recorded over 10 Dylan songs.

  1. "All I Really Want to Do" (1965) from All I Really Want to Do
  2. "Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright" (1965) from All I Really Want to Do
  3. "Blowin In the Wind" (1965) from All I Really Want to Do
  4. "Like a Rolling Stone" (1966) from The Sonny Side of Cher
  5. "I Want You" (1966) from Cher
  6. "The Times They Are a Changing" (1967) from With Love
  7. "Masters of War" (1968) from Backstage
  8. "Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You" (1969) from 3614 Jackson Highway
  9. "I Threw It All Away" (1969) from 3614 Jackson Highway
  10. "Lay Baby Lay (Lay Lady Lay)" (1969) from 3614 Jackson Highway
  11. "Mr. Tambourine Man" on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (I love this kooky version.)

The fan blog, All Dylan, also gave a very lovely review of Cher’s history of recording Dylan songs on her 70th birthday this year: http://alldylan.com/cher-covers-bob-dylan/.

Dylan has gone all Woody Allen on us and has ignored the award. Good for him. The award comes with no requirements. By the way, I just saw Dylan's show this week at his Albuquerque visit to The Kiva Auditorium (see the set list). It was a great show. I loved the new revamps of old songs and particularly loved "Desolation Row."

I've also posted a similar blog on Big Bang Poetry but with more information on American Nobel Prize winners.

Cherbob5


Cyndi Lauper Tour

ClA few weeks ago Mr. Cher Scholar and I went to see Cyndi Lauper on her Detour tour. She did a barn-burning version of "Money Changes Everything." She pretty much sang everything I love with the exception of "Shine," which I grew to love when she opened for Cher's Farewell Tour.

In fact, I became a Cyndi Lauper fan on Cher tours, first watching her perform Sisters of Avalon songs on the Believe Tour (Jones Beach when I was at Sarah Lawrence), songs I liked so much I bought the album. Then I saw her a few times on the Farewell Tour in Los Angeles when she was promoting the Shine EP which I loved so much I bought the album. I didn’t see her on the Dressed to Kill Tour but was looking forward to going to one of her Cher shows to show Mr. Cher Scholar how awesome she was, just as I dragged him to the first concert to show how awesome Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo were (and not just a chick band!).

One this solo tour, Lauper was promoting a new country album, which was all got free with our ticket purchase. I really liked her Queens-area spin on some older country fare.

Her setlist

Funnel of Love (Wanda Jackson cover)
She Bop
Heartaches by the Number (Ray Price cover)
I Drove All Night
The End of the World (Skeeter Davis cover)
Walking After Midnight (Patsy Cline cover)
I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart (Patsy Montana cover)
You Don't Know
When You Were Mine (Prince cover)
Who Let in the Rain (Acoustic)
Money Changes Everything (The Brains cover)

Encore:
Misty Blue (Eddy Arnold cover)
Kindred Spirit/Time After Time
Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Robert Hazard cover)

Encore 2:
True Colors (acapella)


Chaz Bono on American Horror Story and The Sonny & Cher House

ChazChaz as Scary Redneck

Chaz Bono is on American Horror Story this season as a recurring character. I know, I know. Two episodes have already aired! But isn't everyone just waiting to binge-watch the show on Netflix anyway? Besides, it was a big secret and nobody knew until after the first episode and then my carpel tunnel flared up and I wasn't blogging so you'll just have to deal with the reruns and the recaps if you haven't been DVRing the show already. Life is heartbreaking that way.

Read about the surprise or read through the recaps.

Did you know there's a "Cher for American Horror Story" Facebook page? Neither did I. I can't really picture this happening.

Owlwood

In other news, the most famous Sonny & Cher house, Owlwood, just resold again. Is that thing haunted?

Here are the stories. The fact that Sonny & Cher once lived in it seems like the lead point, because they're such hasbeens and all. Notice the buried mentions of Tony Curtis and other owners.

Sonnycherhouse

I freaking love this house! Take the drone tour. Can't you just see Sonny chasing Chastity around the pool? Another thing you might notice about this house, it has such a personality of its own, it looks pretty similar now to how it did when Sonny & Cher were in there and decorating it with Ron Wilson. Notice the bedroom mouldings, the print curtains. See for yourself in this nostalgic tour of Cher's past homes.


Election Tweets, the Tabloids, I Paralyze and the Importance of a Good Wig

Trainofth2It seems I've developed an inability to blog in the month of July. And a lot seems to happen in Julys. Here's the recap:

Political Tweets: The Train of Cher's Thoughts

Cher attacks Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson in epic Twitter rant (Metro UK)

Cher: Trump a ‘f---ing traitor’ (The Hill)

Cher Just Shared a Hilarious Photoshopped Snap Of Donald Trump (Billboard)

Conclusive proof Cher is the greatest political commentator of our time (Metro UK)

I’m with Cher is the Anti-Trump Swag You Need (Paper Mag)  Get "I'm with Cher buttons because this fan wants to "Make America Cher again!"

Cher Fan Creates 'I'm With Cher' Campaign to Celebrate Singer's Political Punditry (Billboard)

The I'm With Cher page: http://imwithcher.com/

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Has Had Such a Bad Week Even Cher Is Ripping Her a New One (The Independent Journal Review)

I communicated like Cher for the day and people didn't know what to make of it (Mashable) - this was hilarious.

Music

IpIn this news sent to me by both Dishy and Robrt Pela, the album I Paralyze is sort of getting a new re-release: Back On The Street Again: Vibe On Records Reissues, Expands Cher’s “I Paralyze

Céline Dion impersonates Cher, Rihanna on Jimmy Fallon's late night how.

Tabloids and Peripherals

Jennifer Aniston published a personal essay about the tabloids I thought was particularly good. Of particular note:

“In this last boring news cycle about my personal life there have been mass shootings, wildfires, major decisions by the Supreme Court, an upcoming election, and any number of more newsworthy issues that “journalists” could dedicate their resources towards.”

I couldn't find a picture of Cher and Jennifer but, as they knew each other in high school, there is a picture out there of Chaz and Jennifer.

Chaz-and-jennifer

Speaking of Chaz, there's an article out there on AOL where he "opens about his mom Cher's support and why he's finally ready for his big break in acting" and it lists his recent guest appearances.

WigStyle

In reading through all my old issues of Entertainment Weekly, I came across a Melissa McCarthy interview from the summer 2015 issue where she says:

“I always start with the wig. It keys everything for me. You look so different in a wig that it changes your posture, how you carry yourself.”

I feel like Cher has said that before, too.


The Best of Vacation Times, The Worst of Twitter Times

Icecream"Everyone’s a critic today."
--  Sonny, Good Times

Vacation

It's an ice cream vacation and Daily Mail is stalking Cher through every spoonful.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3649725/Cher-cuts-laid-figure-white-leather-vest-black-yoga-pants-eats-ice-cream-Saint-Tropez.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3654774/Cher-showcases-quirky-fashion-sense-monochrome-ensemble-enjoys-realxing-day-Portofino-pals.html

However, there have been some funny titles about Cher's vacation in light of recent rumors and events:

Cher shows off her fit physique at 70 years old

Cher vacations in Italy amid reports that she’s dying, broke and alone

Cher Broke and Near Death Reports Refuted by Italy Vacation Photos – 70 Year Old Singer Looks Healthy, Happy

Motorcycle Fan

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, (and I was for like three episodes before I dropped out realizing the thing was a soap opera), you might be surprised to know that Norman Reedus has come out saying his number one choice to ride bikes across America with is Cher: http://www.cinemablend.com/television/Celebrity-Norman-Reedus-Wants-Ride-With-Most-Who-You-Guess-143557.html

In Elephant News

Cher is still working for our elephant friends.

Cher aims to free lonely, chained elephant in Pakistan

Cher aims to free lonely, chained elephant in Pakistan through adoption

Tweet Drama

Drama #1: The Brexit

Cher got flack this week for her tweet about the UK vote to leave the European Union.

Brexit
Stories:

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/cher-backs-brexit-vote-immediately-regrets/#gs.TGCvH3Q

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/06/27/cher-forced-to-defend-herself-after-confusing-fans-with-views-on-brexit/

Obviously her initial tweet emoticon was misinterpreted. She never "appeared to back the vote and then regretted it." At least if you can read a tweet. She says literally "Pray it's best decision" but if you ignore the praying hands emojii, (is there such a thing as emoji blindness?), it looks like she's saying "It's the best decision." I guess this is why emoticons aren’t admissible in legal documents. It does surprise me that Twitter Followers can't follow.

Drama #2: Then there was the bomb emoji drama which included the words "Cher slammed" in many online article titles.

Bomb

The stories:

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/cher-slammed-bomb-emoji-tweet-turkey-article-1.2691823

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/turkey-cher-slammed-after-using-bomb-explosion-emojis-tweet-about-istanbul-airport-attack-1568007

http://www.tv3.ie/xpose/article/entertainment-news/208406/Cher-apologises-for-Turkey-bomb-emoji-tweet

She's literally saying: "We all pray for innocent people in Turkey airport. Bomb explosion." But I get it: (cartoon bomb ≠ real bomb) = insensitive. Terrorism isn’t a loony toon after all. So I guess a few severed limb emojis are not appropriate either. Hey, dark days call for dark-humor emojis.

But this, my Cher friends and Cher Twitter "followers," is what we call a language problem over in literary-theory land; and some kid will soon be doing a college dissertation on it, if we should be so lucky. Emojis are in fact so new, it’s hard to know officially which of them can officially classified as useful or inappropriate. But Cher seems willing to be the leading test case on the issue.

My beef with emojis is that they evolved from emoticons like this :-/ (which, because I’m old-school, I still use), a system of willfully misusing punctuation marks in order to insert some added layer of emotion into the deadpan language of email communications, (“Is he trying to being a dick with that comment?”), where in olden days people found it hard to decipher contextual humor or anger or sarcasms or winks or any other kind of extreme feeling in email missives and misunderstandings consistently arose, friendships ended,  wars ensued, and jokes failed.

NerdThese days artists are paid (or not) to create little cartoon pictures for us to communicate with instead of us having to use those pesky little Latin letters or instead of getting paid to, say, solve world problems or teach children to communicate better in emails without the aid of stupid little cartoons and then get offended when some celebrity doesn’t use the little pictures right which ironically was a problem the little cartoons (via the misuse of punctuation) was supposed to freaking solve in the first place!

We can all blame Twitter now.


Cher and Muhammad Ali

Cher-aliYou'd have to be in a news blackout not to have heard that entertainer/boxer Muhammad Ali just passed away.

Ali was a guest on the later Sonny & Cher Show and after his death last week this reel of his poetry, including the Cher vs. Ali boxing match, was distributed around Facebook. It's from  the January 14, 1977 episode.

Billboard.com published a retrospective of Ali that included Cher.

Cher's tweets:

Didn’t know Muhammad was dead At T.Hearns/Sugar Ray Fight in Vegas he explained boxing 2me.I Yelled,He Said Ooo-Wee Cher u got a mouth on u.  (from 4 June 2016, 1:22 a.m.)

Ran out of room,got caught up in memories.it was so much fun to be in ring with him.Son was like a kid. (from 4 June 2016, 1:38 a.m.)

Muhammad-Ali-and-Cher-billboard-1548