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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

50th Anniversary of Sonny & Cher's First Song, 'The Letter'

Sonny & Cher
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Sonny & Cher's first ever song, 'The Letter'!

In early 1964 - months after they had started singing back-up for Phil Spector - Sonny Bono decided that he and Cher should record a song together. He chose 'The Letter' - a 1958 mostly-unknown single by a duo called Don & Dewey, who had written it.

On 18 February 1964, Sonny & Cher recorded the song. Outside of being backing vocalists, it was the couple's first professional recording together. To further cement the recording into music history, it became Sonny & Cher's first ever single.

Sonny learned from Spector to put an unimportant instrumental piece on a single's B-side, so not to take attention away from the A -side. The flip of 'The Letter' was so unimportant that its name changed from 'String Fever' to 'Spring Fever' on certain re-issues.

The duo rush-released the single under the guise of "Caesar & Cleo" on Vault Records. Despite having hit potential, the single didn't reach the US Hot 100 though it became a regional hit in California, and to a lesser degree, Connecticut and New York.

'The Letter' by Caesar & Cleo
In the next few weeks, Sonny persuaded Spector to give Cher a solo shot at success. He did - with her first ever solo recording 'Ringo, I Love You'. But that's another story for another day.

Following 'The Letter', Sonny & Cher had little-to-no success with singles 'Love Is Strange' (again, as "Casear & Cleo"), 'Baby Don't Go', 'Do You Want To Dance' and 'Just You' - plus Cher's solo 'Dream Baby' (as "Cherilyn").

'The Letter' eventually became a hit...

In mid-1965, Sonny & Cher - as "Sonny & Cher" - caught their big break with #1 single 'I Got You Babe'. 'The Letter' was one of four early singles (the others being 'Baby Don't Go', 'Just You' and 'Love Is Strange') to be re-issued to latch onto the folk-rock anthem's success. The Don & Dewey-cover peaked at #75 on the US Hot 100 on 20 November 1965. It sold around 30,000 copies.

'The Letter' on the US Hot 100

However, it had already been brought to a much larger audience as a track on Sonny & Cher's August 1965 d├ębut album 'Look At Us', which spent a staggering eight weeks at #2 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 3-million copies worldwide!

Visit Cher News' offspring site 'The Wondrous World of Sonny & Cher'

Short share:

  • 'Closer To The Truth' has re-entered the Canadian album chart at #13.


  1. Correction: THE LETTER was never included on LOOK AT US

    1. It was side 2, track 2 on the original LP.

    2. I just listened to it. :)

  2. off topic, Daniel have u heard about CHER being considered the next BOND GIRL?

    1. No lol. But that reminds of how she was being "considered" to be the next Catwoman about five years ago.


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