Cher’s Culture Influence & Songs We’re Still Talking About

SonnycheralbumdudsI’m reading 2016 issues of The New Yorker and came across a disparaging joke about Sonny in a satire piece about zen mantras. Which was very irksome; but then I saw some Rock Legends episodes and the one on Roxy Music reminded me of the always-impressive longevity of Sonny’s “The Beat Goes On” as it appears in the Roxy Music song  from 1975 “Love is the Drug.”

Last month I posted a link to the article The 7 Faces of Cher  which does a wee bit of Cher scholarship in trying to categorize facets of Cher’s career. This article does a similar thing: “Cher – the ultimate pop icon” from Getintothis, Beats, drones and rock & roll.

Some other good stuff:

Madonna, Guns N Rose and Cher Had the Best Songs of 1989 (Inquisitr)

5 Times Cher, Nicki Minaj & Others Pulled Off Lil' Kim's Pasties Look (Billboard)

PaulAnd when I last talked about the song “Bang Bang,” I forgot the whole reason I had brought the song up, which was coming across this album online, an album my parents had in their collection (of a few Paul Mauriat albums), 1967's masterpiece of covers, "Blooming Hits" which I was fascinated by because the woman is naked, painted and gasp not airbrushed! It also has a cover of the song "Mama" which is very proud of itself. According to the liner notes:

“[Mama] emerges as a musical distillation of the composition….the harpsichord is pleasantly evident, but there is also an incredible horn solo complete with scat riffs…Hardly as Mr. Bono imagined, but nonetheless extremely successful.”

Which lead me to this album, More Mauriat, from 1966 which has a cover of "Bang Bang."

Elevator music you can play in your own home!


Fans and Stars and Politics

Cher-carterPolitics in America have finally come to a head and both sides have long since become vitriolic. I actually think this is a good thing. Americans are finally learning civics again and what defending a democracy requires of them. Millions of people on both sides of the fence have dropped their Entertainment Weekly’s and must-see-tv to join groups, make phone calls and just generally just show up. They’re getting connected in a way I’ve never seen before. My whole life I heard my grandfather, a former coal miner, mechanic and sawmill owner, try to convince our family to get engaged in the political process. Imagine this in the 1980s when I was a teenager. Time Magazine was declaring feminism dead by the end of the 80s. Nobody cared if it wasn't the latest MTV video.

It’s an amazing, yet scary, time right now. People are yelling at the barricades. And don’t think for a minute there would have been peace if Hillary had won; anti-Hillary groups were already threatening election day violence. See “Some Donald Trump Voters Warn of Revolution if Hillary Clinton Wins.”)

So I often wonder how fans are getting along in this political climate, all super fans whose politics don’t match the politics of their celebrity obsession. There are celebrities who are artfully abstaining from even commenting about politics to stars who are right there in the trenches. Think Kayne West fans who are Democrats. Or think of the Trump supporters who like Cher.

When I was 8 years old my grandpa sat me down at the dinner table and asked me how I could be such a big Cher fan when I didn’t even know her politics. I didn’t know how to answer that. I surely didn’t know her politics. Although she was quite clear about them on The Sonny & Cher Show. She supported Jimmy Carter and Sonny supported Gerald Ford. And if you followed the 1970s paparazzi, (which I didn’t), you may have seen her attend the Carter inaugural party with  Gregg Allman.

I found out much later that Cher was a Democrat. How would I feel if she wasn’t? The same way I felt about Sonny? And what even is that? Sometimes you and your obsession just don’t match. Personal experiences are just so varied. I remember not liking such or such position Sonny might have taken as a U.S. Congressman. But then there were issues where we overlapped. I wasn’t as big a Sonny fan by that time so it didn’t seem to affect me personally. He wasn't my congressman, after all.

Now things have become very personal. And how are we all going to respond to celebrity activism? I find it hard to believe a Cher fan could just now could be realizing Cher is a Democrat. She’s supported democrats on her television show back in the 70s and campaigned with them since the late 1960s. And then you have the indisputable tweets. I mean the tweets alone! You’d have to be completely ignoring YEARS worth of wonderfully incendiary political tweets. Suddenly this election comes and it matters?

But then I think if I had a Cher blog and suddenly Cher became a rabid Trump supporter, I guess I would struggle with it on my blog. Maybe I would try to work it out there, too.

I also wonder how Cher will be perceived by generations looking back. Like how we now look back on Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall when they were the first prominent stars to finally stand up against McCarthyism and the blacklisting of actors, directors, writers and producers in Hollywood. Will Cher be a famous footnote to yet another scary political era? Will her activism give her greater prominence as something beyond a pop star? Will she be understood as a pioneering tweet activist followed by Millennials and pundits who were never really fans of her music or her movies?

Or will she be marginalized by her detractors because she was a "has-been" celebrity who “got into politics.” I guess it depends on who perseveres to write the story.

Here are the political Cher stories of the new year:

Alec Baldwin (Channeling Donald Trump), Robert De Niro, Cher and More Celebs Attend Anti-Trump Rally in NYC (US Magazine)

Alec Baldwin, Cher, Robert De Niro among celebrities at anti-Trump rally (My Statesman—Austin)

Thousands protest in Washington, New York City in defiance of Trump (USA Today); Same story in The Irish News

Cher on the resistance to 'unbelievable narcissist' Trump (MSNBC)

Cher, America Ferrera, Katy Perry and others set to headline the Women’s March on Washington (Washington Post)

Katy Perry, Scarlett Johansson, Cher among celebs set to join Women's March on Washington (CBC)

Ivanka Trump Shows Off $5,000 Dress in Midst of Immigration Chaos ... Internet Reacts (Cher joins in the crowdsourced Twitter fury) (Yahoo)

From Shonda Rhimes to Cher to Tim Kaine, Public Figures React to Obama's Farewell Address (Yahoo)

 


Movies, Music, TV - It's All Happening

Chermakeuptips2016Current Events

Wow. So much is happening right now. It's overwhelming.

Here's the lowdown:

- Cher's involved in a TV movie about the Flint, Michigan, water crisis.
- The documentary In This Climate should be coming out soon.
- Cher talking to the Washington Post.
- Cher's new song "Prayers for this World" will come out in the documentary Cries From Syria directed by Evgeny Afineevsky. HBO will air it.
- Cher is being sued over the typeface art of Closer to the Truth. (The rags TMZ and Daily Mail reporting this.)
- Jack in the Box tacos have been in the news.
- The Broadway Cher show continues to percolate. The New York Times article an all the diva Broadway shows and Playbill's article on the January reading.
- Cher tweets about the heartbreaking passing of all the celebrities over Christmas:

"This is tragic. I loved Debbie, she was tough, funny, told the best old 40's-50's showbiz stories and lived through Hollywood bullsh*t. A huge testament to her".

"This is beyond heartbreaking. Debbie was an idol... I have seen Singing In The Rain a million times. Loved all her films... Words are inadequate."

So sad about Carrie and George, I have no words. I keep forgetting and then suddenly remember. Such great artists dying, and many are too young. Am heartsick."

"Talked to her on the phone: ironic, sarcastic and hysterical at the same time. Went to a few wacky Penny [Marshall]/Carrie Birthday parties".

"One time I was talking to George at a disco. I got up, danced six songs, came back, leaned over him, and didn't realize that I was sweating drops all over his shirt. We laughed."

- More media love for Cher tweets: "Cher’s Twitter is the only pure thing left in this world" and "Find a Tiny Bit of Solace in This Cher-ified Chick Emoji."

Cher News is Back

And I'm happy to report that Cher News is back! Actually, it's been up since last March! So much I missed. Go here for all your up-to-date Cher news.

Daniel Wheway, the site's mastermind, has some eBooks out now too:

Cher Bible Vol. 1 and Cher Bible Vol 2. I've downloaded them but haven't read them yet.

Speaking of eBooks, I've also downloaded the eBook Cher Toons by Scott Clarke which was very fun and also just purchased Scott's physical coloring book version.

But over the past year almost, Cher News is packed with awesome stuff (if you haven't checked it out already). There's info about the Syrian documentary, and Cher's song on it, "I Got You Babe" made it into the Grammy Hall of Fame and you can watch clips of Cher on ET (October 6) and Extra.

Daniel also did plenty of scholarship last year, posting Cher rankings for Billboard's Roundups including 100 Greatest Acts of All Time (Cher ranks #43 and Daniel notes she is the 16th highest female solo singer), Vogue's list of 22 Fashion Icons from the Music World (Daniel's recap), Marie Claire's reporting on plastic surgery requests and Cher's jawline (truly odd but interesting), Daniel also recaps a few Oscar Roundups from Vanity Fair, The Independent and The New York Times, and About.com ranks Cher songs (Daniel's recap).

He also reports that Get TV only purchased 30 Cher shows. Has anyone else heard about this?

And two big bombshells:

1. I missed the AXS Cher Biography from last year. Does anybody have a copy of this?? Looks like it has some good talking head Cher scholarship! Watch the trailer.

2. Cher posted a video of makeup tips! How awesome! 

So don't miss your Cher News!!

Old Stuff

Recently I came across Paul Mauriat's musak version of "Mama." And we watched the Johnny Cash Christmas special on GetTV over the holidays. I learned that "Someday" is a Gene Autrey song! The Johnny Cash Christmas special was amazing. Watch the Sun City Studios reunion of artists, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison sing "This Train."  (Wow…that’s some great TV right there). And the whole cast does an amazing "Children, Go Where I Send Thee."

Whew! And that's just the first two weeks of January!

 


Cher in Tiger Beat, 1966

16 Reasons CherA few months ago, Cher scholar Robert Pela sent me a picture of this fabulous 1966 Cher spread in Tiger Beat magazine. Click on the graphic to get a better view of this awe-inspiring artifact of public relations. Cher lists all the reasons why she loves Sonny and Sonny does the same.

I want to believe this was ghost written by some plucky intern at Tiger Beat, but some of the bits sound eerily familiar. But then some sound equally ridiculous. It's full of irony and groovy!

What items popped out for me:

Why Cher Loves Sonny

He’s smarter than I am.

He never puts himself first; it’s always me.

He’s hard working and knows what he’s doing.
(This reminds me of the big scene in Good Times where Sonny tells Cher she knows nothing, NOTHING, about business and then storms out leaving her to sing "Just a Name" running from their Encino house to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.)

He remembers what I was wearing when we met.

He never forgets to pay attention to me, even if I am his wife. (Oyvay)

I feel safe with Sonny. He always seems to know what to do.

He’s honest about everything. (except a lot)

I think he’s handsome.

Why Sonny Loves Cher:

She’s very feminine. (timely claim considering she was being accused of being so androgynous at the time)

She always backs me up in whatever I want to do.

She smells wonderful all the time. (Uninhibited?)

When she cooks, it’s good.

She’s beautiful.

She’s quiet most of the time, and I need this so I can do my work.

When she gets mad, she’s prettier. (You're killing me with these, Sonny.)

She’s neat and orderly about things? (orderly??)

She’s just as sweet and unspoiled as the day I met her.

When she’s happy, she hums around the house.

She’s got a good memory and helps me keep appointments.

There's a lot to chew on there. Some of it's sweet and some of it's icky.


Goddess of Pop and Other Royal Titles

Goddess I recently saw the cover art for the 2012 Madonna documentary called Goddess of Pop and wondered: wasn't that one of Cher’s weaker designations?

This Wikipedia list provides every music artist title you could want to know, plus about one-hundred more. Cher is listed as the Goddess of Pop, the Queen of Reinvention, (although Madonna has often laid claims to that, too), the Queen of Comebacks, and the Queen of Camp (the last one being my favorite). All these being names known primarily in the United States.

Speaking of Goddess of Pop, a search on that this morning shows you can buy a Cher shower curtain: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/goddess-of-pop-cher-daniel-janda.html. Happy showering!


Today is the Celebration of Cher at 70 (With Over 40 Tributes)!

Pool2 PoolThere’s lots of love spilling over on the web-o-shere. It’s literally a virtual Internet Party! Just look at all the hip (and some unusual) sites and magazines celebrating Cherness today!

This is a saying I learned from the McCray family: Cher, I’m glad you were born! You are 70 years of fabulousness today! I feel like the ball on Times Square should drop or something.

Here’s the massive list of love (and one snipe) as of 2 p.m. MST. I’ve broken it down into scholarship categories. Fun with essays, accolades and photo reels!

Straight-out Birthday Wishes

Cher prepares to celebrate her 70th birthday (Reuters)

Happy Birthday from Money Magazine

Singer Cher turns 70, fans pay tribute (Townhall.com) 

Love for Defying Age

Cher just turned HOW old? (Mercury News)

Cher Can’t Turn Back Time: She Turns 70 Today (WBT—Conservative Talk Radio) -- Remember, these are the folks who said Cher is some has-been no one remembers!

Maybe she can turn back time: Cher at 70 (Deutsche Welle)  - SNAP!

Cher Turns 70, Still Knows How to Turn Back Time (Inquisitr)

Can you tell if these celebs are older or younger than Cher (Metro UK)

Turning 70, Cher still a 'hot artist' after 50 years (Inforum)

Love for the Music

10 Reasons Why Cher's “Believe” Is the Biggest Club Record Ever (Thump)

Cher's Official Top 20 biggest selling downloads revealed (Official Charts.com)

Mashable Cher in the studio (Mashable)

Love for the Television

Happy 70th birthday Cher! Relive the time she played every single part in this West Side Story medley (Digital Spy)

Cher turns 70 Today – watch her take a massive tumble in this rare vintage clip (Daily Star UK)

Love for the Film

Happy birthday Cher! Celebrate with her 5 greatest film roles (Arizona Central) - good to see Jimmy Dean love in there but you know how I feel about Mermaids!

Love for the Style

See the Evolution of Cher’s Style (Time)

All Hail Cher, Queen of the Red Carpet Rebels (Vogue)

Can You ‘Believe’ How Many Hairstyles Cher Has Had Over The Years? (Huffington Post)

Cher’s Show-Stopping Style Redefines What It Means To Be 70 (Huffington Post)

Cher's Most Outrageous Outfits (Huffington Post)

Cher at 70: seven iconic style moments (The Guardian UK)

23 of the singer's most outrageous fashion over the years (BT)

The many looks of Cher (CNN)

Cher’s Changing Looks (Wonderwall)

Cher Turns 70! Celebrate By Revisiting The Pop Icon’s Most Glamorous Looks (Idolator)

Cher Hair! Celebrating the Singer’s 16 Best Hair Moments (Vogue)

Love for the Sass

24 Times Cher Was Sassiness Personified (Elle UK) 

10 Times Cher Nailed Twitter (Newsweek)

Her 5 Most Shocking Moments (Express UK)

Cher’s Most Outrageous Tweets of the Past Year (Hollywood Reporter)

Happy 70th Birthday, Cher! 23 Times The Dark Lady Wasn’t At A Loss For Words (Logo)

Love for the Whole Thing

A Look Back (ABC)

You Haven't Seen the Last of Me: The Phenomenon of Cher (Biography.com)

Legendary singer’s best moments (OK! UK)

70 Things we love about Cher (Gay Star News)  -- 70 things! That's impressive!

A look back at her outstanding singing and acting career (DW.com)

Inside the glamorous life of Cher (Marie Claire)

10 amazing facts about the pop superstar (Digital Spy)

The living legend’s most iconic moments (Attitude UK)

Celebrate Cher's 70th birthday with five memorable moments (Lancaster Online)

Cher then and now (WTAE-Pittsburgh)

Cher’s Career in numbers (International Business Times)

CNN’s Cher Fast Facts (CNN)

Fast-Forward Through 5 Decades of Cher (Yahoo! News) 


Cher Museums, Musicals, Endorsements, Coachella, The Milken Institute, Toons and Ads

NyorkerSo…my trip to LA was good. I went to two conferences, the Los Angeles Time Book Festival at USC and a Google Analytics workshop for CNM. But I got sick the first day with the stomach flu and that was pretty much my week. Then everything-and-his-Uncle fell apart when I got home. Oh, and I got sick again with a nasty head flu. C’est La Vie.

Cher has been a tweetin' and a hollarin' in the meantime. Here’s a recap:

 

 

Election Tweets

The celebrity endorsement of the week (Washington Post)
Funny that the Washington Post should call this the celebrity endorsement of the week, considering it’s actually a celebrity re-endorsement after a deep, dark night of questioning of the Bernie soul.

By the way, it makes me crazy that people send hate tweets to each other. As one woman put it to Norman Goldman a few weeks ago, “Sending angry tweets isn’t political activism.” So it was enlightening to come across this great Guardian article on hate comments.

Cher keeps the heat on Trump

Cab-n-cakeCher tweeted the above New Yorker cartoon this month and this Cabernet and Cake sign.

Movies

This is an absolutely a great piece (don’t miss the trailer at the bottom) on Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean and celebrity obsession.

Cher Scholarship Abroad

There's a new Cher museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Coolia sent this to me. Sounds like a good time for a road-trip Cher quest!

I also found this video footage of another Cher museum! Someone should develop a Cher museum app for these things!

Cher tweeted about being scheduled to speak at the Milken Conference:

Proud,my frnd Karen(Flint mayor)is coming 2stay.We'll speak at Milken confrence 2 tell story of FLINT,to 3500 MAJOR LEADERS,IN ALL FIELDS

I used to work for Mike Milken. In fact I worked at his Prostate Cancer Foundation, (upstairs from the Milken Institute), when Cher performed for his PCF fundraiser during her Farewell Tour, in between those many faux-final shows. Here's detail about the event. I hope some think-tank braniac attends this and tells us how it goes.

A Coachella breakfast at Sonny & Cher's former estate:

http://wwd.com/eye/parties/rebecca-minkoff-smashbox-lunch-coachella-2016-lunch-sonny-and-cher-10412504/

http://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/gallery/rebecca-minkoff-and-smashbox-host-coachella-2016-lunch-at-sonny-and-chers-former-estate-10412618/

Outfits

Bob Mackie talks Cher and Carol Burnett

Biography Musical News

The Cher musical is continuing to make news like it just might grow up to be something someday.

 


Cher for H, Cher or Jaden Smith, 15 Facts, 1975 Tabloid

HAgh! I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. And I'm ridiculously exhausted. But I....must....blog.

I’m in an Infinite Jest reading group (we do only 100 pages every two weeks but it’s a challenging novel so that’s not saying much). I’m taking a New Mexican art history class. I’m in the middle of a whole survey of American poetry online courses with HarvardX and the new class starts Friday. I’m in physical therapy for my knee. I'm attending a Google Analytics training workshop next week. I’m still trying to fart out some chapters for a novel. I'm planning trips to help my parents who are moving. And on top of everything else it’s already National Poetry Writing Month challenge again and I'm trying to keep up with the poems! (This year my theme is election angst.)

Speaking of which, Cher threw her support behind Hillz last week in a very interesting logo graphic mashup. I myself will be also throwing in for Hillz (and am enthusiastic about it) but I also like and would vote for Bernie in the general election.

On another Cher note, here is a website that challenges you to guess whether tweets are written by Cher or Jaden Smith: http://www.gq.com/story/cher-jaden-smith-twitter. And here are "15 Interesting Facts You Don’t Know About Cher" from ppcorn.com. But who are they kidding because Cher fans already know all these things.

There's also more news on an upcoming bio-musical, the title announcing that something is confirmed. Is that meaning the rumor is confirmed or the progress of the work has been  confirmed? This is a far cry from the theater space at The Ethyl Barrymore being confirmed. Just the plans is all. You wonder how many news stories plans can generate.

ChergreggMy LA friends and I celebrated a late Christmas two weeks ago and one of my gifts from Coolia was a Motion Picture Magazine. The magazine looks like a tabloid and possibly was considered a tabloid back in 1975 but the strange thing about these old rags is that the articles are actually more legit and quoted than you would think.  The titles are actually more tabloidy than the features. Gregg Allman was quoted heavily here and the article catalogues the time between Cher’s first divorce announcement from Gregg Allman to her appearance on The Tonight Show with Sonny (Sonny's swath of chest hair never gets old) after rumors Allman had beat her up (there were rumors like this too when she divorced Sonny) to her return to Gregg in New York state and their marriage.

After unwrapping the magazine I kept starting at Gregg's unruly hair and commenting about how young Cher looks on the cover. It was only later when I took the magazine into another room I even noticed the watermark overlay of Sonny & Cher on Allman's head. What a bizarre photo layout. Sonny doesn't even look like Sonny when you see it closeup. How did I even miss it? The magazine is also a bizarre collection of weirdly sexist cigarette ads and vibrator classifieds.

Ah, the nostalgic 70s.


Cher Reviewed

SparklesMetro Weekly posted an essay of Cher’s best albums. The author, Gordon Ashenhurst, published a similar list as Diva Incarnate back in 2012, another review which Cher Scholar reviewed.

Cher’s Twitter oeuvre was also recently explicated by The New York Times. (Thank you for the heads up by Cher scholars Michael and Robrt). I actually think this piece provides a good theory about the phenomenon we’re seeing with Cher tweetage.

 


New Movie, Old Cover, Tweets, Slot Machines, Letterman and CHeritage

Cher_slot_machineThis is my last post before our U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday. I hope you get stuffed!

Gardel (2017)

Cher scholar Dishy notified me of a new Cher movie that has snuck into the IMDB. These pre-production rumors often tip-toe right out of IMDB as quietly as they once slipped in. But this looks promising subject-wise and a period piece would be sweet!

"I Got You Babe’s" Punk Pedigree

Last week I finally came across “The Ramones” version of “I Got You Babe.” Been looking for this for years; so why couldn’t I find it  sooner? Because The Ramones didn’t cover the song. D'oh! Joey Ramone covered it as a duet with Holly Beth Vincent, although the song isn’t on any of her albums or on iTunes or YouTube. You can catch the song on Vimeo.

CHeritage

A few weeks ago I wrote about American Indian appropriation in the outfit choices of Paris Hilton, members of The Flaming Lips and Cher. Thanks to Jack Nicholson scholar Coolia, we now have a new link about Cher’s heritage and possible controversies surrounding it: http://waitingtogetthere.blogspot.com/2013/09/chers-heritage-controversy.html

Tweetage

Cher’s comments about Ben Carson have attracted some attention.

Cher also talks about the US political response to last week's Paris attacks.

New Way to Hand Over Your Money to Cher

Slots! Thanks to Cher World for this news: there is a Cher slot machine coming to Las Vegas. Finally! Didn’t Barry Manilow get one of these like decades ago?

LettermanCher History

Decider did a somewhat scholarly piece on Cher’s last public reunion with Sonny on The David Letterman Show.

“Back in 1987, you had to work harder for your viral moments. (Obviously, they weren’t called viral moments then, but this was clearly a predecessor of the genre.) A TV moment had to be something truly once-in-a-lifetime to earn the kind of repeated-viewing immortality that Sonny and Cher on Letterman did with a simple song.”