Biography (Page II)

Cher in 'Vogue' magazine, December 1972
Due to the variety show's success, Cher had once again become a trend-setter. Dressed every week in lavish Bob Mackie-designed gowns and now often sporting various outlandish wigs - something that she would stick with throughout the rest of her career - millions of women watched the show to see what she was wearing. Cher was the first woman to expose her navel on US television. She graced the front cover of fashion magazine 'Vogue' five times from April 1972 to February 1975.

"Maybe some people thought I looked ridiculous, but that was okay by me. Look, I'd started out as a skinny little kid from the Valley. And now I'd become a one-named enigma called Cher."

In addition to recording music and making a television series, Sonny & Cher were also hitting the road in the little spare time they had on their 'All I Ever Need Is You Tour'.

Cher's solo May single 'Living In A House Divided' (US#22) and its July parent album 'Foxy Lady' (US#43) were moderate successes as was Sonny & Cher's July single-only release 'When you Say Love' (US#32). However, Cher's September 'Don't Hide Your Love' missed out on the US top 40 (#46).

A compilation album consisting of Sonny & Cher's early material, titled 'The Two of Us', reached #122 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Cher's 'Superpak Vol.II' reached #97 on the Billboard 200.

Sonny & Cher's fortunes were mixed: their television career was booming; their record sales were dwindling; and unbeknownst to fans, the couple's relationship was in serious trouble. By November, their marriage had experienced a long slide into crisis and Cher told Sonny - whom had had multiple affairs - that she wanted to leave him. However, Sonny convinced Cher that she should continue to appear alongside him publicly as a happily married couple for their career's sake.

Favorite color: black
Favorite animal: elephant

Sonny & Cher released the lengthy-titled single 'Mama Was A Rock And Roll Singer, Papa Used To Write All Her Songs.' It reached just #77 in the US. Its identically-titled parent album only reached #132 - their least successful studio album to-date.

Cher's new album, 'Bittersweet White Light' was released the next month. It marked a temporary departure in Cher's music style; the album consisted mostly of covers of American standards. It only reached #140. Its sole single 'Am I Blue' missed out on the US Hot 100 but did reach #79 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart.

Cher in her 'Half Breed' outfitLike the the happenings of the previous decade, the duo's records seemed to be falling out of favor with the public. That changed with Cher's next single - July's 'Half Breed', a story song about a girl facing racism. It became her third overall #1 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, spending two weeks there, and sold 2 million copies worldwide. Sonny & Cher’s new single 'The Greatest Show on Earth' failed to chart however. Behind closed doors, Sonny's new girlfriend moved in to live under the same roof as Sonny, Cher and Chastity. By the end of the month, Cher began dating David Geffen.

Cher's latest album, 'Half-Breed', was released in September and would ultimately hit #28 on the US Billboard 200 and receive a Gold certification from the RIAA.

Her January 1974 single 'Dark Lady' became her third million-selling solo US#1 hit in less than two-and-a-half years and she won the 'Best Actress – Musical or Comedy Series' Golden Globe award that month for 'The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour'.

"For the year-and-a-half that we did 'The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour' after our separation  I didn't have much of a social life. That was a deal I made with Sonny, that I wouldn't go out in public without him."

'Live in Las Vegas Vol.2', a sequel to the duo's 1971 US top 40 live album, reached just #175 and their 'Greatest Hits' (though just 1970's material) stalled at #146 on the US Billboard 200.

On 20 February 1974, Cher expressed that she didn't want to keep up the facade of a happy marriage anymore by filing for divorce. Although the 'Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour' was expected to return in October, it was cancelled when it became apparent that the duo would no longer work together on the series. Unsurprisingly, the divorce of America’s most popular showbiz couple became big news.

Favorite song: 'A Whiter Shade of pale'
Favorite film: 'Godfather' 1 & 2

After receiving a total of fifteen Emmy Award nominations, the last ever episode of 'The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour' aired in March. Two months later, Cher scored another moderate hit with 'Train of Thought' (US#27) and then 'I Saw A Man & He Danced With His Wife' (US#42) in August.

In September, Sonny starred in his own variety show named 'The Sonny Bono Comedy Revue'. As his show began, Cher revealed plans for her own variety show.

In October, Cher’s record company released a ‘Greatest Hits’ album. Featuring just solo hits from the last four years, the album only reached #152 on the Billboard 200 Chart. Two Cher singles were issued in November: 'Carousel Man' missed out on the US Hot 100 but reached #111 on the Record World 100 Top Pops and #88 on the Canadian singles charts; and 'A Woman's Story', a stand-alone single produced in a reunion with ex-employer Phil Spector, again failed to reach the US Hot 100 but reached #66 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart and #83 on the Canadian singles chart. By the end of the year, Cher's romantic relationship with Geffen had ended - but they remained firm friends and Geffen signed up to be producer of her upcoming solo series. She instead began dating rocker Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band.

Cher photoshoot for 'The Cher Show', 1975Cher’s solo show, simply titled 'Cher', debuted on 12 February 1975 with a Television Special featuring Elton John, Flip Wilson and Bette Midler. The variety show was an instant success. It showcased Cher in comedy sketches, musical spots and the star herself interviewing other celebrities. By the time the show had debuted, Sonny’s show had been cancelled.

"With David Geffen producing, the 'Cher' show was a huge success. It knocked off 'The Wonderful World of Disney' on Sunday night, which Freddie Silverman and CBS had been trying to do since the year dot."

Cher received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series for 'Cher' and , in March, single 'Rescue Me' reached # 84 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart and #82 on the Canadian singles chart. Another single from her recent studio sessions with Phil Spector was released in April - a cover of Martha Reeves & The Vandella’s 'A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Every Day)' with Harry Nilsson. The lush production failed to chart.

'Stars' by CherApril also saw the release of Cher’s new album, ‘Stars’. Although the album was warmly received by critics, and promoted well, it only reached #153 in America (though has become a fan-favorite). Its single ‘Geronimo’s Cadillac’ failed to chart.

On 30 June, three days after her divorce from Sonny became final, Cher married Allman. Nine days later, Cher famously filed for divorce when she realized that Allman had serious alcohol and drug problems. Allman instead promised that he would become clean.

In December, Allman filed for divorce. He retracted this decision when he and Cher realized that she was pregnant. Before year's end, Cher ranked at #9 in People Magazine's 25 Most Intriguing People.

In Jan 1976, season 2 of 'Cher' came to an end after 15 episodes. Cher decided not to make any further episodes and surprisingly decided to reunite with Sonny for a new variety show. Less than a month later, in February, Sonny and Cher returned to television sets in ‘The Sonny & Cher Show’. The variety show was not much different from their original ‘The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour’ but instead featured all-new characters and sketches. It opened to high ratings - but these began to steadily decline as the season approached its April finale.

Cher, Gregg Allman, Elijah Allman and Chastity Bono
On 10 July, a day after recording finished for a new album, Cher and Gregg Allman’s son was born. He was named Elijah Blue Allman. Sometime following his birth, Cher had mastopexy - breast-lift surgery.

"When I was pregnant with Elijah 1 had a gigantic chest. After the birth,  I didn't like the way my breasts looked. And my clothes didn't fit anymore. So I had them just kind of ... tighten up the skin. "

'The Sonny & Cher Show' returned in September. In an effort to recapture viewers, popular features from their 1971-1974 show were brought back, such as Cher's character Laverne and the famous 'Vamp' sketches.

In October, Cher returned to releasing music with her new single ‘Long Distance Love Affair’ and its poorly-promoted parent album, ‘I’d Rather Believe In You’. Both failed to chart.

Mego sold more than 2,000,000 Cher dolls in 1976, making it the company's best-selling toy of 1976.

In January 1977, Cher released her new single ‘Pirate’. It peaked at #93 on the US Hot 100. In March, with guest Tina Turner, the season 2 finale of ‘The Sonny & Cher Show’ aired. It would be the last ever episode as the variety show was not renewed for a third season.

The next month, Cher released another album, ‘Cherished’. Cher was unhappy with the album, only recording it for contractual reasons. It was barely publicized and was ignored by critics and the public. It did not chart. Unsurprisingly, May’s single ‘War Paint and Soft Feathers’ failed to enter the charts.

Despite Cher's reluctance, Sonny & Cher reunited to make a single before year's end. 'You're Not Right For me' – as it was titled – went by unnoticed.

In November, Cher and Gregg Allman released an album together titled ‘Two The Hard Way’, under the name Allman & Woman. The pair embarked on the worldwide ‘Two The Hard Way Tour’. However, in December, Cher left Allman for good, leaving him in Europe and returning to America with her children, after realizing that he had resumed his alcoholic behavior. The album was critically-panned and despite the tour, it sold poorly.

"By 1978, I was a working single parent with two children and loads of debt. I had to go back to the clubs, and this time on my own."

Cher's last three albums had failed to chart and whether she could still attract big numbers on TV was to be tested: on 3 April 1978, Cher starred in her own television special, fittingly titled, “Cher... Special”. The show - featuring Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton and at one point, Cher playing all the characters in a lengthy 'West Side Story' sketch - was a ratings success for its television network, ABC, and was ranked among the top 10 most watched programs of the week. Around this time, Cher legally changed her full name to just "Cher".

'Take Me Home' billboard

In February 1979, Cher swerved her recording career into a new direction with the release of disco single 'Take Me Home'. The new sound was a success as the single climbed all the way to #8 on the US Hot 100, being certified Gold a few months down the line for shifting a million copies. Its identically-titled parent album 'Take Me Home', consisting mainly of disco songs, was released that same month and was a huge success - it rose to #25 on the American charts, also collecting a Gold certification. One of its tracks was co-written by Cher and another included brief guest vocals by Kiss-rocker Gene Simmons - who Cher was now in a relationship with.

ABC television special 'Cher... and Other Fantasies' showcased Cher's new album when it hit the small screen in March 1979. The second single from it, May's 'Wasn't It Good', proved to be a a moderate success, peaking at #49 in the US.

Cher during her 'The Take Me Home Tour'Cher then began three year's of concerts with her first solo tour, 'The Take Me Home Tour', which featured a dozen costume changes, elaborate choreography, two female impersonators and a mechanical bull. The show initially hit the road before taking residence at Las Vegas's Caesars Palace in August.

Cher swerved from her new-found disco success with her album's third single, Dolly Parton-cover 'It's Too Late (To Love Me Now)', which gave her a #87 placement on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart. Cher made her first proper music video - notable pre-MTV - to promote new single 'Hell On wheels'. Unfortunately, the video, which latched onto the roller-skating trend, didn't help the single to climb any higher than #59 on the US Hot 100. Its parent album 'Prisoner' - which boasted perhaps her most-risque album cover ever (almost nude, draped in chains) - unfortunately didn't chart, despite being released in the same year as its Gold-certified predecessor. The song also appeared in that year's Linda Blair-starring movie 'Roller Boogie' and on its soundtrack album.

When now-ten-year-old Chastity's teacher advised Cher to have her daughter evaluated due to suspecting that she had a learning problem, not only did Cher find out that Chastity had dyslexia, but also that she had it herself.

"They told me that I was dyslexic, too. It was like a big, 'Ohhh...'. Now I understood everything, why I had so much trouble at school. It all fit together."

A self-penned disco song, 'Bad Love', appeared in February 1980's Jodie Foster-starring movie 'Foxes' and on its soundtrack album. The next month, Cher failed to grab another US Hot 100 placement with disco single 'Holding Out For Love'.

Black Rose's sole album
Cher assembled rock band Black Rose featuring herself and then-boyfriend Les Dudek – a guitarist in The Steve Miller Band. Despite songwriting credits from Bernie Taupin, Mike Chapman, David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager, their November self-titled album failed to reach the charts, as did lead single 'Young and Pretty', despite a supporting mini-tour and some television promotion. Black Rose's second single 'Never Should've Started' also failed to chart when released in February 1981. That same month, American cable channel HBO aired 'Standing Room Only: Cher in Concert' - a recording of her ongoing solo tour.

Cher was back at Caesar's Place in January 1981 for her solo 'The Take Me Home Tour' – although at some point, it transformed into 'A Celebration at Caesar's Place', a different show with an updated setlist, new costumes, and evidently, a name change. Before her final show at the venue in July, one date was recorded, and later broadcast in 1983 as 'Cher: A Celebration at Caesar's' on American cable channel Showtime.

"I was making a fortune on the road, but I was dying inside. Everyone kept saying, 'Cher, there are people who would give anything to have standing room only at Caser's Place. It would be the pinnacle of their careers.' And I kept thinking, 'Yes, I should be satisfied, I've got to be satisfied. But I wasn't satisfied.'"

Cher and Meat Loaf
November 1981 saw a surprise return to the UK charts for Cher when she duetted with Meat Loaf, although uncredited, on the uptempo rock single 'Dead Ringer For Love'. Taken from his UK#1 album 'Dead Ringer', the single became his biggest hit in the country, reaching #5 and spending an impressive 17 weeks on the chart. Cher also featured alongside Meat Loaf in the single's music video, in all-black leather biker get-up.

Broadway was Cher's next calling card. She starred alongside Sandy Dennis and Karen Black in the Robert Altman play 'Come Bcak To The 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean' from February 1981 to April.

Meanwhile, Cher was attempting to rejuvenate her solo music career by releasing the March single 'Rudy'. Unfortunately, the poorly-promoted pop-rock single failed to chart.

By the end of August, Cher had completely wrapped up the Caesar's Palace performances, and was releasing her next – and ultimately un-charting – single 'I Paralyze'.