Monday, March 17, 2008

Half-Breed

So, today is St. Patrick's Day. I didn't realize this this morning, and I only realized it when I saw that nearly every person was wearing hideous shades of green and talking about drinking beer. Needless to say, I am not celebrating St. Patrick's Day despite my obvious Irish heritage. Whatever. As far as I know, I'm an Irish Protestant so...

In any case, today's post is going to be about something that is decidedly not very Irish: Cher. Yes, that Cher. Like most people my age, I used to only think of Cher as the ridiculous, outlandish, and plastic gay icon she currently is. A friend of mine once remarked that the only thing he remembered about Cher is that video with her ass ("If I Could Turn Back Time" is what I think he was talking about).

But that changed when I started listening to "I Got You Babe" a few days ago on one of my mom's Billboard 1960s compilations. Of course, I had heard the song before, but it wasn't until then that I realized just how good of a song it is. And the best part of the song was actually Cher's voice.

Now, for a little background on Cher: Born "Cherlyn," she had an impoverished childhood and spent some time in foster care. At sixteen, Cher dropped out of high school because of undiagnosed severe dyslexia. She then worked as a backup studio singer, and that is where she met Sonny, who was eleven years her senior. The two fell in love, and because Cher was too nervous to sing alone, the two became singing partners.

I found this really cool video of Sonny and Cher on French television in the 1960s:



I really like the chemistry you can see here between the two of them. Also, her eye makeup is crazy and reminds me of the Chanel show about two or three years ago.

Cher, of course, eventually got over her fear of singing alone and launched a successful solo career. She's had hit songs in almost every decade since the 1960s, but I think 1970s Cher is my favorite. Here she is doing "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves" with a great turban on her head:



No one can deny that Cher has had some outlandish outfits, and she wore them all well (most of them were Bob Mackie). I also love that Cher is vaguely ethnic looking, and she became a beauty icon in a time period where blonde-haired-and-blue-eyed was still the norm to be "beautiful."

And here is Cher with David Bowie doing a song medley. I'm not sure what is with her hair, but it's really cool to see two great entertainers and performers on stage together. They interact really well, and I particularly love when they go into the Laura Nyro song:



So, in all honesty, I think Cher is highly underestimated by the general population. She's become a joke, in a sense, and part of that is by her own doing. But in all honesty, she's pretty great.

Oh, and she's not half Cherokee; it's more like a quarter.

3 comments:

Corinne said...

i'll admit that i saw cher. it was quite possibly one of the gay-est events i ever saw. she's always been super-sparkly, but i agree. the old songs are great.

Kelly said...

See, what you're talking about is the "modern Cher" that most people now openly mock. In all honesty, I really am beginning to like her as a performer — she has been around for so long that you can't deny her — and an innovator.

Plus, above all, Cher is a STRONG WOMAN. And we all know how I feel about that.

radius said...

Cher has one of the most amazing voices. It makes her very special as compared to many uniformly casted pop stars (britney spears, beyonce etc). How somebody looks is secondary, although cher for sure has a very beautiful, character face (even after some surgery). About her ethnic background:
as much as I know she is of Armenian descendents, some even belief with some relicts of Assyrian tribes.