The Celebrity Cafe'...
The 1960's welcomed one of the greatest pop duos the music world has ever seen... Romantically involved, and later married, Sonny and Cher started as back-up singers for record producer Phil Spector. Represented by Atco/Atlantic records, they rose to fame with their 1965 hit 'I Got You Babe'.
Sonny Bono was supposed to be a solo act until he met Cherilyn Sarkisian in a local coffee shop in 1962. Bono was 11 years her senior, yet they became romantically involved quickly. Through Spector, Cher was able to sing on classic tracks such as 'Be My Baby' by The Ronettes. The couple started recording tracks such as 'Baby Don’t Go'. In the summer of 1965, the duo released 'I Got You Babe' and their first album 'Look at Us', which came along with fame and fortune.
More records and hits continued to pour out of Sonny & Cher as they gained popularity and became extremely lucrative. They did run into a few issues though. In attempt to make their fame skyrocket, Bono decided to make a movie, 1967's 'Good Times', for the couple to star in. Unfortunately, the movie was a flop.
In an era where psychedelic rock and drug use progressed, Sonny and Cher’s drug-free, pop sound was no longer appealing to the masses by the late-sixties. Their act became dry and their fame lessened. In the midst of it all, they gave birth to a child, Chastity Bono, now known as Chaz.
Hanging onto hope by a thread, Bono decided to take their talent to television. In 1971, Las Vegas became the home of the new comedy show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. The show involved humorous skits, Cher cracking wise jokes and poke fun at Sonny, and musical performances. The show was a hit, but Cher found herself unhappy - Sonny controlled all aspects of the show.
By the third season, Sonny and Cher’s marriage suffered under an abundance of stress, resulting in separation. The couple divorced and went their separate ways yet they still found a way back to each other. Unmarried and having reconciled, Sonny and Cher gave the show another run in 1976. It lasted one year, and resulted in the duo going their separate ways once more.
On Jan. 5, 1998, Bono experienced a horrific skiing accident that ended his life at 62. Cher delivered a heartfelt and tearful eulogy, stating Bono was the “most unforgettable character I’ve ever met.”
Let’s countdown the top 10 Sonny and Cher songs and celebrate the sound of one of the best musical acts of their time.
10. Laugh at Me
'Laugh at Me' was one of Sonny’s solo works, yet still appeared on a Sonny and Cher album. In a few versions, Cher sings back up, but regardless, this is a song worth mentioning with an important back story. This hit song refers to the ridicule that Sonny and Cher would endure because they looked and dressed differently. One time in particular, Bono was refused entry to a Hollywood restaurant by the name of Montoni’s restaurant. His “hippie” attire wasn’t appreciated, which insulted Bono. He wrote the song to express his views on the subject. The song starts by Bono saying, “I never thought I'd cut a record by myself but I got somethin' I wanna say. I want to say it for Cher and I hope I say it for a lot of people."
9. A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done
This song marked Sonny and Cher’s last top ten hit, with one another in the U.S. This song was released and performed on their hit comedy TV show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. It was released on their album, 'All I Ever Need is You', and as a single it broke number 8 on the U.S. Billboard Top 100.
8. Why Don’t They Let Us Fall in Love
This song was originally performed by The Ronettes and was remade by Sonny and Cher for.their début album 'Look at Us'. Some say that the lyrics apply to Sonny and Cher’s relationship and how they were often criticized in the limelight for their dress and their large age difference.
7. Love is Strange
This song is another amazing cover that was recorded by Sonny and Cher. Originally, it was made popular by American rhythm and blues duo, Mickey and Sylvia. It appeared on the late-1965 "Sonny and Chr and Friends" album 'Baby Don’t Go' alongside the album's title track. We’ll get to that later.
6. But You're Mine
Once more, Sonny and Cher decided to bring their lyrics to life and sing of personal experiences regarding judgements that were made about them. The lyrics involve a hippie couple that does not necessarily fit into the “normal” standards of society that they live in. Even though judgements were made against them, they were just happy to have one another.
5. Just You / Sing C’est La Vie
This was the first single that Sonny and Cher released on the ATCO label in 1965. Originally, the song didn't do too well, but after the 'I Got You Babe' revolution, it was re-released and reached the top 20 on the U.S. singles chart. 'Sing C’est La Vie', the B-side of the record, flourished in other countries.
4. All I Ever Need is You
Originally recorded by Ray Charles in 1971, Sonny and Cher decided to make their own adaptation later that year. It reached the top 10 on both sides on the Atlantic, was performed on their hit TV show 'The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour' and, in 1972, was made the title track of their US top 20 album 'All I Ever Need is You'.
3. The Beat Goes On
This Billboard #6 hit was featured on the album, 'In Case You’re in Love'. It was backed by musicians known as “The Wrecking Crew.” This hit song was performed on their comedy show numerous times and worked into a few skits. "The Beat Goes On" was played at Sonny Bono’s funeral and the phrase is also carved on his tombstone. Cher performed this song live during her 2008-11 'Cher at the Colosseum' show with Sonny’s voice track.
2. Baby Don't Go
This hit song was first released in 1964 on Reprise records. The lyrics were written and practised on Bono’s $85 piano that he acquired and stored in their garage. After the success of 'I Got You Babe', they re-released it and gained more success. It also reached number one in Canada. The lyrics were subtly based on parts of Cher’s early life. She later sang of similar social outcast issues in 'Half-Breed' and 'Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves'.
1. I Got You Babe
In 1965, Sonny and Cher released their ground-breaking, number one single, "I Got You Babe." This was the song that defined the American pop duo and ever since, has been their biggest single. The song was released, and thrived, in the midst of the Hippie Movement. It spent 3 long weeks at number one on the US Hot 100. Later on in their lives, and post divorce, the duo reunited for an interview on Late Night With David Letterman, and participated in a spontaneous performance of the song. On Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of all-time, "I Got You Babe" placed at #444.