This is the biography Cher, pseudonym of Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pierre (El Centro, May 20, 1946), is a singer-songwriter, actress, record producer. With over fifty years of career and a voice with a distinctive and immediately recognizable timbre, Cher has become an icon of pop culture and one of the most famous and successful artists in contemporary history, with over 100 million records sold worldwide.
Cher is the only singer who can boast at least one song at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in six different decades, from the 1960s to the 2000s. Her biggest hit, Believe, with sales of over 10 million copies, is the best-selling single by a female singer in England and the best-selling single of 1999. In July 1999, Cher was ranked 43 in the VH1 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll survey, and in September 2002, she was ranked 26 in the Sexiest Women of Rock & Roll survey.
In a 2001 poll, A&E biography magazine ranked Cher as the third best actress of all time, behind two of her Hollywood idols, Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn.According to American Out Magazine, Cher is among the 12 greatest female gay icons of all time. Cher first met Salvatore Bono at the age of 16 in a Los Angeles bar in November 1962. By chance, one day Cher follows Bono at Gold Star Studios and, during a recording, is put in the place of an absent chorus girl.
Her particular voice attracted Spector’s attention: during 1964, Cher was assigned the role of chorister, participating in some hits of that period: “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes, “Da Doo Ron Ron Ron” by Crystals and “You’Ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” by The Righteous Brothers. After her experience as a chorister, Cher under the pseudonym of Bonnie Jo Mason, recorded “Ringo, I Love You”, a pro-Beatles hymn which, due to a certain sexual ambiguity from a singing point of view, receives no radio feedback. His first single, “Dream Baby”, published under the name of Cherilyn, was released on the radio during 1964.
Cher arrived in Italy for the first time, together with Sonny, in September 1966, and returned to Italy the following year, in January, to take part in the Sanremo Festival. At the same time, Cher was ready to launch her solo career: she recorded All I Really Want to Do, an album that reached Billboard’s position 16. The album contains a reinterpretation of Bob Dylan’s “All I Really Want to Do”, which immediately became a success, reaching position 15 on Billboard. In 1966, Cher recorded her second album The Sonny Side of Chér from which one of the greatest hits of the period, Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), was extracted.
Also during 1966 Cher released another album, simply called Chér. The album did not reach the success of the two previous ones, even though it contains the hits “Alfie” and “Sunny”, Top 10 in many European countries. 1966 saw the release in Italy by the Liberty label, Cher’s first LP, The Sonny Side of Chér under the name of Cher sings Sonny Bono, Bob Dylan and others. The album contains seven songs from All I Really Want To Do and five from The Sonny Side of Chér. The album also contains Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), the worldwide hit that has sold more than a million copies.
The song, written by Sonny Bono, touches the 8th position of the Italian Hit Parade in September 1966. Several artists present a version of it, for example: Dalida, the Crows, Milena Cantù and the group Equipe 84.Bang Bang, in various proposals, soon became one of the most successful songs of that year, and one of the symbols of the sixties.
Cher’s last album to enter the charts in the sixties was With Love, Chér, but subsequent attempts were a failure, followed by the Backstage album, the first album that failed to enter the charts. Cher’s most ambitious project of the sixties as a soloist, 3614 Jackson Highway, released in 1969, proved to be another failure from a commercial point of view, but Cher’s voice was already more mature and the singer once again showed her multifaceted skills in interpreting hits by other artists.
The album is defined by many critics as one of the most successful pieces in a strictly artistic sense. Meanwhile, on 4 March 1969, Chaz Bono, (born Chastity Bono) the only daughter Cher will have from Bono, was born from the couple. After the commercial flops of the sixties, the couple began to play concerts in night clubs and hotels in Las Vegas. During their performances, they alternate songs by other artists with sketches.
In the shows, Cher plays the wife, who has something to say about everything. In fact, Bono controls every aspect of Cher’s life, from the musical works to the scripts used in the shows.Sonny & Cher release their first live album, recorded in Las Vegas. Immediately afterwards Sonny & Cher record All I Ever Need Is You, an album that contains the song of the same name: the song reaches position 7 and the album reaches position 14 on the Billboard chart in 1972.
Now, at the age of 25, Cher manages to establish herself as a solo artist, releasing “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves”, under the artistic direction of Snuff Garrett. Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves (single) came in first position in America for a fortnight and position 4 in England. The song is taken from the album Cher, renamed Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves after the success of the song of the same name, which sells more than a million copies and from which another hit is released, “The Way Of Love”, which reaches position 7 in America.
Cher manages to reach the first position on two other occasions, with the songs taken from the albums Half-Breed (position 28 on Billboard) and Dark Lady. From the first album, the autobiographical song Half-Breed (single) is released, which reaches the first position on the American chart in October 1973 for a fortnight and from the second, the last big hit, Dark Lady (single), which reaches again the first position on the Billboard Hot 100.
Hugely successful songs such as “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves”, “Half-Breed” and “Dark Lady” are released in Italy. Since the third season of “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour”, the marriage of Sonny & Cher sinks and the duo separates at the end of 1974. While the show was still in the Top 10, the two divorce (divorce made official on 27 June 1975) and Cher manages to win a Golden Globe for her performance in the show, in the autumn of 1974, while Cher announces that she will present her new TV variety show.
The Cher Show debuted as a TV special on 16 February 1975 with guests Flip Wilson, Bette Midler and Elton John. Cloris Leachman and Jack Albertson both won Emmy Awards for their guest appearances a few weeks later, and the series received four Emmy Award nominations the same year. The first series reached the 22nd position in Nielsen’s year-end ranking. Cher marries rock musician Gregg Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, on 30 June 1975. From their union Elijah Blue Allman was born, on 10 June 1976.
Bono’s musical career as a soloist continues for the first time without any influence from Bono, with the release of some experimental and unsuccessful albums by both the public and the critics. Stars, in which Cher puts all of herself, only reaches the 153 position in America, I’d Rather Believe in You and finally Cherished, produced by Snuff Garrett, which should emulate the old hits. Together with Gregg Allman, Cher records Two the Hard Way, under the pseudonym Allman & Woman, which represents another commercial failure.
Her career continues with the release of three albums under the Casablanca Records label including the record album, Take Me Home. The echo of “Take Me Home”, in full disco phenomenon, reaches Italy, but the homonymous song, a top 10 hit in the United States and Canada. After a short promotional tour Cher signed a four-year contract with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and began performing from the summer of 1979 to finish in the summer of 1982 with the show “A Celebration at Caesar’s Place”.
In the second album released by Casablanca Records, Prisoner, . In 1980, at the age of 34, Cher decided to found a punk-new wave rock band with the then boyfriend guitarist Les Dudek; from this idea Black Rose and an album of the same name were born.Cher after breaking up Black Rose, Cher records another solo album called I Paralyze. Cher decides to expand her career as an actress.
The first two films, Good Times and Chastity, were panned by critics. It’s also hard to find a cast, for many Cher is “too unserious” by film standards, and is “too much of a singer” to play any role on the big screen. Other films were Behind the Mask, The Witches of Eastwick and Suspect – Allegedly Guilty, which were a big hit with the public; in the 1987-88 season The Witches of Eastwick and Witchcraft from the Moon managed to enter the top 100 highest grossing films, at the 10 and 13 positions respectively.
Cher was helped by A&R John Kalodner at the age of 41 and decided to return to music with an AOR album, named Cher. Cher signed a contract with Geffen Records for the release of three albums, with the participation of writers and musicians such as Diane Warren, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Desmond Child, Mark Mangold and Michael Bolton. The album became his biggest success, selling 3 million copies worldwide and being certified Platinum in America.
In 1989 Cher released the album Heart of Stone. The album was initially released with an image of Cher sitting in front of a heart made of stone, creating the illusion of a skull; later the image was replaced by a less controversial one. Heart of Stone became its biggest success at the time, selling more than 4.5 million copies worldwide. Several singles are released from the album. The biggest hit If I Could Turn Back Time, which reaches the Top 3 in America.
The MTV programme will subsequently broadcast a censored version only after 9 pm.Cher began the 1990s with her first solo tour, the Heart of Stone Tour, which took her back in concert after eight years in America, Australia and the British Isles, selling out in most of the places she visited. A date for one of her concerts was filmed at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas and was presented by CBS as a TV special. The concert was later released on VHS, and then in 2005 on DVD.
The film received positive reviews from critics despite its modest box office success. Cher contributed to the soundtrack of the film, recording Baby I’m Yours and The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss). The song only makes it to position 33 in America, while. In 1991 Cher completes the contract with Geffen by releasing the album Love Hurts. The album has a big impact in Europe and the rest of the world, debuting at number one in the UK and staying there for six consecutive weeks.
Compared to the previous two albums, Love Hurts receives less attention in America.Initially the album in Europe is released with the same American cover, which is later replaced by the image of Cher with a red wig. After the “Love Hurts Tour” and the promotion of the Greatest Hits, Cher was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, brought on by a virus called Epstein-Barr.
Cher signed a contract with Warner Bros. in 1995 and in Europe released It’s a Man’s World, an album consisting mainly of pop rock covers of old hits by male artists. The album in England reached the top 10 on the charts. In America, on the other hand, It’s A Man’s World was released in 1996 and presented to the public as a remix and only made it to position 64 on Billboard.
In 1995 Cher returned to the Italian charts after years with the album It’s a Man’s World and the single One by One. In February 1996 Cher returned to Sanremo, playing One by One and Walking In Memphis and promoting her new album. The song (It’s a Man’s World) reached Hit Parade position 16, and at the end of the year, it reached position 72 in the Top 100 best-selling albums.1996 .
Cher appears in the CBS special, Sonny and Me: Cher Remembers as a tribute to Bono. In 1998 Sonny & Cher received a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television. Cher appears at the event with Mary Bono, who accepts the award on behalf of her husband.In November 1998 he published the song Believe, which became number one in twenty-three different countries.
In January 1999, the single reached number one on the Billboard chart and remained there for four weeks, making it the fifth single to reach number one. At the age of 53, Cher is the oldest female singer on the charts, and she enters the record to have at least one song in the world top ten in four different decades (sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties).
In the UK, Believe remains in first position for seven weeks, becoming the best-selling song of a woman in the history of English music. The eponymous album quickly became a bestseller worldwide, ranking at position 4 in America and position 8 in England. According to subsequent estimates, the album has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling album in Cher’s career.
In October 1998, the Believe album was also released in Italy. After the promotion, the single at the end of the year was at the top of the charts. Believe remained at the top of the charts for eleven weeks, bringing the album of the same name in the Top 10, to position 6, and making it sell more than 300,000 copies. Even the following singles became popular, Strong Enough, in March 1999, reached position 11 on the Italian charts, gaining success on the radio and in discos. In February, Cher returned to Sanremo, where it reinterpreted Believe, acclaimed by 16 million viewers; sales of the album increased by 50,000 copies.
In the summer of 1999, All or Nothing also enjoyed good radio success.Cher also published his autobiography, The First Time, at the end of 1998. At the same time, she was called to the Super Bowl to play The Star Spangled Banner, the American anthem. Cher also participates in the “VH1 Divas Live 2”. In the meantime, Franco Zeffirelli’s Un tè con Mussolini (A Tea with Mussolini) is released, starring Cher alongside Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Judi Dench.
On 30th November 1999, The Greatest Hits, published outside America, due to the publication of If I Could Turn Back Time: Cher’s Greatest Hits the previous year only for America. Also in 1998, The Greatest Hits was released, together with the single Dov’è L’Amore – (Where is Love). The collection touches position 11 of the chart and the single reaches position 10. At the end of the year the album Believe is among the best sellers of 1999, The Greatest Hits is at position 52; the single Believe is at position 2 of the best sellers, “Dov’è l’amore” at 54 and “Strong Enough” at 68.
To coincide with Believe’s worldwide success, Cher decides to return to live singing: in June 1999, she starts Do You Believe? Tour, which at the time became her most successful tour. At the end of this year, Cher, for the first time in her career, travels to Italy with a tour of her own. The news is announced in July, and the concert is scheduled for 8th November, but the date is brought forward. 4th November the Do You Believe? In February 2000, Cher won her first Grammy Award for Best Dance Song for the hit Believe, after being nominated in four other categories, including “Album of the Year”.
In 2000 Cher released an independent album of alternative rock music only sold it on the internet and on its official website. The work contains ten tracks including eight written by the same singer in 1994, while she was retired in France. The album was discarded by music labels because it was considered “not-commercial”, hence the name of the album.
In the same year the “Barbie Cher” was presented again after the first models of the seventies made by Mego Corporation. The doll, whose dress is designed by Bob Mackie, was advertised by Cher herself in the TV show “Will & Grace” during the episode “Gypsies, transvestites and… grass”. At the end of 2000 Cher recorded a duet with Eros Ramazzotti, “Più che puoi”, half sung in English and half in Italian.
The song was a success both from the critics and the public. Extracted from Ramazzotti’s Stilelibero as a third single, it reaches the position 20 in 2001. In 2001 Cher returns to the recording studio to work on an album, which takes the name Living Proof, and follows the dance-pop style of the previous Believe.She herself, in some interviews, will report: “I think I sang better on this album than anyone else in my career”.
Living Proof was released in Europe in mid November 2001 and in February 2002 in America. The commercial impact is different from Believe and the album fails in the Top 40 in many European countries. In the absence of subsequent sponsorship, the album was released from the charts at the end of 2001. In America, however, the album debuted at position 9 in April, its highest ever debut position on the Billboard charts.
The Living Proof album, in May 2002, was certified as a gold record, having sold 500,000 copies in America and was nominated for two Grammys. The first extracted single, The Music’s No Good Without You, is released only in Europe. Cher went on a promotional tour throughout Europe, presenting the single in various television programmes. The European Warner Bros. publishes only one more single, Alive Again, which is used for the Winter Olympics in Germany. In January 2002 Cher focused on the sponsorship of the first single excerpted in America, “Song for the Lonely”, dedicated to the tragedy of 11 September.
The song reached number one on the “Hot Dance Club Songs” charts. In May 2002 Cher presented the second single extracted from Living Proof, A Different Kind Of Love Song at the “American Bandstand 50th Anniversary Special” on ABC networks and appeared as a guest-star for the second time in “Will & Grace”, playing God with Jack and singing a little piece of the song. Both “A Different Kind Of Love Song” and “When The Money’s Gone”, reach the top of the “Hot Dance Club Songs” charts.
Cher presents her new work at Torno Sabato di Panariello and at Domenica In, conducted by Carlo Conti. The song has been a great radio success, reaching position 6 on the Italian charts for a few weeks, while the album, on the other hand, goes to position 27, only to leave the Top 50 after only three weeks.
On May 23rd, Cher participated for the second time in the VH1 TV special, VH1 Divas Las Vegas and in the meantime, she got a part in the Farrelly brothers’ movie, Stuck On You. At the end of 2002, Cher was awarded the Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award, a prestigious prize for her 40-year career, and the Dance Club Play Artist of the Year for her dance music achievements.
In June, Cher starts the Living Proof: The Farewell Tour; starting with only 30 American dates, this tour will last three years, covering American cities countless times and touching Europe and Australia in 2004.One of the stages of the tour is recorded by NBC and will be aired the following year to great success, with 17.3 million viewers.
When the contract expires, the American Warner Bros. decides to create a new greatest hits. On 12 April The Very Best of Cher debuted directly at position 7 on Billboard with 122,000 copies sold, becoming the singer’s highest entry in the American charts. In the following weeks the record climbed to the Top 5 and reached position 4, staying there for a fortnight.
In July 2003, the compilation was certified platinum record, having sold one million copies. In 2003, The Very Best of Cher reached two million copies sold. The Farewell Tour” strategy successfully hit Europe in 2004. The Very Best of Cher collection sold millions of copies even with little sponsorship.
After a few years of absence from the scene, on February 7, 2008, Cher at the age of 61 confirmed that for three years and four times a week she would stay at the Colosseum of the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for two hundred concerts. Three days after the announcement of her tour, on February 10th Cher made a brief appearance at the Grammy Awards, introducing Tina Turner and Beyoncé’s performance, and in May 2008 she appeared in a special episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss her new shows, and to give a preview of the show, with the song Take Me Home.
During the show Cher also sang Proud Mary with Tina Turner. The show Cher at the Colosseum debuted on May 6, 2008 and was paid $60 million for her return.The show includes eighteen dancers, four trapeze artists and many costumes designed by Bob Mackie. The choreography is directed by Doriana Sanchez who has worked with Cher on her major tours in the past.
Cher started to revive again in February 2009, after having cancelled the last shows of 2008 due to health problems, she also declared to have the “Vegas throat”. On February 5, 2011, after 192 shows, Cher completed three years of concerts at “The Colosseum at Caesars Palace” on November 8, 2010 she was awarded the “Glamour’s Woman of the Year Lifetime Achievement award”, while ten days later she was immortalized as she put her footprints in concrete in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
In 2010 she took part in the shooting of the musical film Burlesque, starring Christina Aguilera. In the United States the film was distributed on 24 November 2010 by Screen Gems and was accompanied by the soundtrack of the same name, for which she recorded two tracks, Welcome To Burlesque and You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me. The latter came first in the American Billboard chart “Dance/Club Play Songs”. You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me won the Golden Globe in 2011 for the best original song, in addition to Burlesque, Cher participated in the film The Zoo Lord, giving the voice to a lioness.
On 22 November 2012 Cher announced on Twitter its official return to the scene with the banger dance club Woman’s World produced by Paul Oakenfold, the first single from his new album. The single, however, is officially released on June 18, 2013, the day it is presented by Cher herself in the final of the TV show The Voice. The official video of the single, directed by Ray Kay, is published on the singer’s YouTube channel on 21 August and in a few days it will exceed 1 million views. The new album, Closer to the Truth, is out on 24 September 2013.
The album immediately ranks 3rd on the Billboard 200, a great result for the popstar. On 4 October the second single from the new album, I Hope You Find It a ballad that Cher presents in various shows including the David Letterman Show and The X Factor, is released. On 8 October 2013 Cher is the international guest of Gianni Morandi’s concert broadcast by Canale 5 with artist Gianni Morandi – Live in Arena, live from the Arena di Verona.
After performing with Morandi to the tune of his 1960s hit Bang Bang Bang, Cher performs the new single Woman’s World, thanks to her presence the programme has a peak audience and the second part of the concert is more successful than the first, broadcast the night before on Canale 5.
During her stay in Italy she also recorded an interview with Silvia Toffanin that will be aired on her programme Verissimo, an interview with Linus and Nicola Savino on the radio programme Deejay chiama Italia and a short interview also for RTL 102.5.On March 22, 2014 his Dressed to Kill Tour, in support of the album Closer to the Truth, which ended after 49 concerts, departed from Phoenix, Arizona, on July 11, 2014 in San Diego.
On February 8, 2017 her new residency show in collaboration with AEG Live entitled Classic Cher started on February 8, 2017 and will see her perform in 30 concerts between the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and the MGM National Harbor in Washington until November 17, 2018. On May 21, 2017 she participated in the Billboard Music Awards where she received a lifetime achievement award, the Icon Award, and where she performed at the age of 71 in her two historical hits Believe and If I Could Turn Back Time.
2018 saw the release of the film Mamma Mia! Here we go again where Cher plays Ruby Sheridan, Donna Sheridan’s mother and Sophie Sheridan’s grandmother.On 28 September 2018, the 28th studio album by the singer, Dancing Queen, containing covers of tracks by ABBA, was released.
To anticipate the release, a promotional single, the cover of Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) In 1962 Cher met Sonny Bono. The couple got married in 1964 and had a daughter, Chastity Bono, born on 4th March 1969, who in May 2010 completed the sex change process, becoming Chaz Bono.
His path was immortalized in the documentary Becoming Chaz, released in 2011. Cher divorced in 1975, after 13 years of marriage, while remaining on good terms. The divorce led to the cancellation of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. In the same year, Cher married Gregg Allman. Their son, Elijah Blue Allman, was born on 10 July 1976. They separated in 1977 and divorced in January 1979.
The link between Cher and popular culture has long been discussed. About herself she declared “Singers, don’t consider me a singer and actors, don’t consider me an actress”, although she has had success in both fields. Cher is highly respected for her long career and the fact that she is able to return to the scene after being criticised by journalists.
Cher has also been described as “a stylist rather than a musician”. During the early years of her career Cher, who was a fashion model at the time, was popular because of her long, straight black hair, her elephant trousers and the fact that she was one of the first women to expose her navel on television.
In fact, in 1970 her status as a sex symbol led her stylist Bob Mackie to create clothes that left some of her body parts uncovered. Cher returned to the scene in 1989, when the video for the single If I Could Turn Back Time was filmed.
In the video the singer is on board the American ship USS Missouri, wearing a thong, fishnet stockings and a jeans jacket. The video was one of the first video clips censored by MTV, although due to its popularity, the broadcaster only aired it after 9pm. Cher has also inspired many celebrities, such as Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Tracy Chapman and Lady Gaga.
1965 – All I Really Want to Do
1966 – The Sonny Side of Chér
1966 – Cher
1967 – With Love, Chér
1968 – Backstage
1969 – 3614 Jackson Highway
1971 – Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves
1972 – Foxy Lady
1973 – Bittersweet White Light
1974 – Half-Breed
1974 – Dark Lady
1975 – Stars
1976 – I’d Rather Believe in You
1977 – Cherished
1979 – Take Me Home
1979 – Prisoner
1980 – Black Rose
1982 – I Paralyze
1987 – Cher
1989 – Heart of Stone
1991 – Love Hurts
1995 – It’s a Man’s World
1998 – Believe
2000 – Not com.mercial
2001 – Living Proof
2010 – Burlesque
2013 – Closer to the Truth
2018 – Dancing Queen