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Sonny & Cher Redo "Baby Don't Go" in 1977

This week, BabydontgoCher scholar Robrt Pela sent me a video clip of a Sonny & Cher Show segment neither of us had seen before, although the video stamp shows the episode appeared on TV Land at some point.

Woe is me. When Sonny & Cher were last seen on TV Land, I couldn't talk any of my available dastardly TV-providers in Yonkers, New York, to provide such a far-out channel in their line ups. I was reduced to begging my one friend with TV Land for tapes and buying a few more episodes from entrepreneurs with video-dubbing capabilities. I still haven't seen every show.

This segment is historically interesting. Sonny & Cher mimic their own former 1960s selves to introduce their first minor (LA) hit "Baby Don't Go." It's discombobulating to see them in their old duds but with a mustache and glamorous makeup. Cher slips ever so easily into her teenage body posturings, much more convincingly than Sonny does.

They talk about how their managers had to hock office technology to pay for the recording. More interesting yet, Harold Battiste appears on the show as a special guest to verify the story and to play clavietta on the song, as he originally did back in 1965. Battiste worked heavily with Sonny & Cher as musical arranger and musical director on many projects, probably influencing their "sound" to no small extent.

The segment is charming, funny and downright adorable. At one point Sonny tells about having to ask Battiste to play for free, saying "Harold is a sucker for sweet talk" and Cher rolls her eyes and says, "Aren't we all?" All which illustrates the behind-the-scenes persuasiveness of Sonny working to overcome personal and professional hurdles to "make things happen" with his infamous "sweet talk."

Sonny also retells the famous story about why the intended act of "Cher" became "Sonny & Cher."

Because Cher sounds so differently in 1977 than she did in 1965, this rendition becomes essentially a cover of itself.

What's Harold Battiste up to now?



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