Despite it being named after her 1999 million-selling hit, paperback biography 'Cher: Strong Enough' almost-exclusively focuses on the era of Cher's self-titled CBS variety show. The daring TV show ran from 1975-1976, and so the book, with its 250+ pages, goes into great detail about this largely-undocumented time of Cher's life. And it doesn't just cover Cher's professional life of that time but also her personal life.
It grabs you from the get-go, with the introduction reading, "In the shadow of her fantastic solo success, and in the short period of just 12 months, Cher appeared in front of a grand jury to testify in a murder case, formally ended her two-year romantic (and business) relationship with music mogul David Geffen, finalized her divorce action against Sonny Bono, whom she charged with 'involuntary servitude' and violation of the 13th Amendment which outlawed slavery, dealt with Sonny's $24-million counter lawsuit that charged 'breach of contract' (as well as a custody battle for their daughter Chastity),
"... married, filed for divorce (nine days later), and reconciled with rock giant Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band, responded to her father John Sarkisian's $4-million "invasion of privacy" lawsuit, released the most fully realized (but almost totally overlooked) album of her entire career - the Jimmy Webb-produced 'Stars' - made a 'nude' appearance on the cover of Time magazine which resulted in the publication being categorized as 'pornographic' and pulled from newsstands in Florida, delayed taping of her series for two weeks - until sweeping behind-the-scenes changes were made - and negotiated an amicable, yet short-lived TV reunion with Sonny Bono - while pregnant with Gregg Allman's baby!"
The first eight chapters cover Cher's childhood, Sonny & Cher's ' 1960's superstardom, 'The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour', Sonny's flop solo 'The Sonny Comedy Revue' and everything in-between. Chapters 9 - 28 is an extraordinarily detailed account of her 'Cher' show era. The book's lengthy epilogue reaches late-2012.
The biography contains over 60 photographs from the 'Cher' era - mostly rarities, including many of her on-set sharing the stage with the likes of Elton John, Bette Midler, Carol Burnett, Raquel Welch, Ray Charles, Tina Turner and David Bowie. There are even photos of un-aired scenes showing Bill Cosby and The Spinners. Of course, most of the photos feature Cher in dazzling Bob Mackie creations.
The back pages of the book provide, among other things, an episode guide for all 29 episodes of the 'Cher' show - which is yet to be released on DVD - including guest stars, and highly interesting notes, such as un-aired segments.
The book contains on-set interviews with Cher and her television series' creators, as well as many of the program's big-name guest stars and will teach even the most die-hard Cher fans a thing or two.
This is definitely one for the ardent Cher fans, Sonny fans and television fans. It's just a shame that there isn't a brilliant biography like this for every era of Cher's outstandingly-long career.
Author Josiah Howard began his association with Cher back in 2008, when he was commissioned - by Cher's own management - to write a summation of her career. Cher as delighted with the result and for the entirety of her wildly popular three-year residency at Caesars palace, she opted to use his writing within her program. The same piece can still be read on her official Facebook and Twitter pages.
- On Billboard's year-end charts: 'Closer To The Truth' ranked at #121 on the Billboard 200, #118 on Current Albums and #4 on Internet Albums; 'Woman's World' ranked at #58 on Dance/Electronic Songs and #46 on Dance Club Songs; and Cher ranked #5 on Internet Artists.