Sonny and Cher
Synopsis of Pop Music
“Then put your little hand in mine,
There ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb,
Babe, I got you, babe,
I got you, babe…”
Sonny and Cher were the ultimate showbiz couple. Beginning with a string of lush romantic hits in the late 60’s, the two sang and joked their way to top. The hits led to a steady stream of stage and television appearances that made Sonny and Cher international favorites and cultural icons. As a result, their image was just as famous as their sound.
Salvatore Bono was a struggling songwriter and producer when he met aspiring singer Cherilyn Sarkisian in 1962. The two soon married and formed a singing duo, ‘Caesar and Cleo.’ They switched to their nicknames, Sonny and Cher, when they signed with Atlantic Records. Sonny had previously worked with producing legend Phil Spector and cleverly applied his old boss’ ‘wall of sound’ production style to songs that mixed folk and psychedelia. They had their first hit with “I Got You, Babe,” which featured the singers declaring undying love to each other over a surging, orchestral music track. It was an instant #1 hit.
Sonny and Cher soon hit the airwaves to promote “I Got You, Babe,” causing a sensation with their long hair and bellbottoms-and-hair-vests attire. When Sonny and Cher were ejected from a restaurant for their appearance, Sonny penned a song in response. “Laugh At Me” was a powerful, folk-rocking tribute to individuality and was performed solo by Sonny. It became a Top-10 hit and was later covered by glam-rockers Mott The Hoople. Meanwhile, Cher racked up a Sonny-produced solo hit with her cover of the Bob Dylan song “All I Really Want To Do.”
The hits continued throughout 1965 for Sonny and Cher via the hits “Baby, Don’t Go,” “Just You” and “But You're Mine.” They matched heartfelt vocal deliveries with complex backing tracks that were just as powerful. 1966 began with a dramatic, fast-paced hit for Cher, “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).” Sonny and Cher toured internationally throughout the year and had further hits with “What Now My Love” and “Little Man.” By this time, they had become so popular they had their own line of clothing in department stores across the U.S.
In 1967, Sonny and Cher became the first pop act to ride a float in the Rose Bowl Parade. They had another hit with “The Beat Goes On,” a jazzy, finger-snapping pop song about the constant changes of the pop music scene. They also starred in their own feature film, Good Times, and made appearances on TV shows like The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. They made another film, Chastity, in 1968 and continued to record and tour through the end of the decade.
Sonny and Cher moved into a new career phase in the early 70’s. By this time, they had done much work as a cabaret act and developed a humorous style of banter that kept audiences in stitches. This polished act won them their own television show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, which featured the duo presenting their now-perfected blend of music and comedy with the help of weekly special guests. They also continued to have Top-10 chart hits with songs like “All I Ever Need Is You” and “A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done.” Although they divorced in 1975, Sonny and Cher continued to work together until 1977.
Cher would continue on to a successful music and acting career while Sonny turned his attentions to politics, first becoming the mayor of Palm Springs and later a U.S. Congressman. Though they never resumed their duo act, they did have a memorable and emotional reunion when they performed “I Got You, Babe” on Late Night With David Letterman in the late 80’s. The chemistry was still there, reminding viewers everywhere that Sonny and Cher were a duo that will never be duplicated.
Artist Release History1965 - Baby Don't Go
1965 - Look at Us
1966 - Wonderous World of Sonny & Cher
1967 - In Case You're in Love
1967 - Good Times
1971 - Live
1972 - All I Ever Need Is You
1974 - Live in Las Vegas, Vol. 2
1974 - Mama Was a Rock'n'Roll Singer
1975 - The Beat Goes On: The Best of Sonny & Cher
1998 - Cher and Sonny & Cher Greatest Hits
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsThe Beat Goes On: The Best of Sonny and Cher (Atlantic)
Band MembersSonny Bono vocals