News for the ‘Cher’ Category

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #57– Cher: “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” b/w “The Way Of Love” – MCA 60035 (N6/P6)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #57– Cher: “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” b/w “The Way Of Love” – MCA 60035 (N6/P6)

Today’s jukebox classic is as much a testament to performance and great songwriting, as it is to timing and opportunities demonstrating the power of television when it comes to career revival. In 1971, Sonny & Cher were offered their first television variety show, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour which debut in August and became a big hit. As a result, many of the songs Cher performed on the show also became her biggest hits. Case in point is today’s Song Of The Day which was performed in September of 1971 on the show, and by November it was sitting atop the charts selling over four million copies in its wake.

When it was released, it had been four years since Cher had had a top ten single with “You Better Sit Down Kids,” and this song not only marked a comeback for Cher, but put her firmly in the spotlight where she has remained ever since. It was also the song that kicked off the era of Cher as a glamour queen wearing dresses designed by Bob Makie rather than the hippie attire she was known for up to this point. As a result, she became an icon to both gay men and middle-aged housewives at the same time.

The song was from her seventh solo album which was simply titled Cher, however the album was retitled Gypsies Tramps & Thieves after the single broke big. It was Cher’s first album for a new record label (Kapp Records) and also her first without Sonny Bono at the production helm.

The song was originally titled “Gypsies, Tramps & White Trash,” but songwriter Bob Stone amended the title upon the urging of the late, great producer Snuff Garrett. The song tells a story about the cyclical nature of life from the vantage point of a sixteen year old girl from a family of gypsys whose mother dances for the men of the town, and then they move on to the next town. The daughter was “born in the wagon of a traveling show” whose mother “used to dance for the money they’d throw.” Years later, the daughter finds herself in the same position dancing for money when she meets a 21 year old guy who travels with the show. Three months later, he finds out that she’s “a girl in trouble” and she “hasn’t seen him for awhile.” The song was performed on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour TV show and was made into a video for the song in 1971.

The song is regularly used to kick off games by the Clyde F.C. Scottish football team. It was covered by the likes of Cilla Black, Vicki Lawrence, Nirvana and the English punk rock band Anti-Nowhere League, amongst others. (songfacts.com)

The flip of this double-A-sided reissue single was the top-ten title hit from Cher’s album “The Way Of Love,” which peaked on the singles charts at #7 selling over one million copies. The melody of this song shares an uncanny resemblance with Perry Como’s 1970 hit, “It’s Impossible,” so much so that Cher took to performing the two songs in a medley during concerts. (And unlike today’s litigious world, no lawsuit was ever filed…take that Pharrell and Robin Thicke)

“The Way Of Love” had its genesis in the French song “J’ai le mal de toi,” and was written by Jack Dieval with French lyrics by Michel Rivgauche. The lyrics to the English version were written by Al Stillman and the song was recorded by British singer Kathy Kirby, whose version of the song charted at #88 on the U.S. Billboard charts in 1965. The song’s lyrics were somewhat ambiguous as to whether the relationship was between a man and a woman, a mother and a daughter, or most notoriously by two women, further giving Cher credibility with her gay fans. (songfacts.com)

The song was covered by Ronnie James Dio in 1964 with his group Ronnie Dio and the Prophets, and has also seen covers by such middle-of-the-road artists as Vikki Carr and Shirley Bassey.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: July 27th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You” by Cher

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You” by Cher

When one thinks of great interpreters of Bob Dylan, the name Cher doesn’t automatically come to mind. But she was, in fact, a huge champion of Dylan’s songs, and his songs fit her voice like a glove. Over the years, Cher covered such Dylan copyrights as “All I Really Want To Do” (a #15 hit),“Lay Lady Lay” (titled “Lay Baby Lay” on her version), “I Threw It All Away,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Masters Of War,” “The Times, They Are A-Changin’” and today’s Song Of The Day, “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You.”

Cher cut her version of “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You” when it was a new song from Dylan’s just-released “Nashville Skyline.” Her version was released on the 1969 album “3614 Jackson Highway,” titled for the address of Muscle Shoals Studios in Alabama where it was recorded.

The idea of bringing Cher to Muscle Shoals to work with Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin (who had also produced Dusty Springfield’s killer Dusty in Memphis album) was a brilliant one, and the results produced a terrific album that was not particularly well received when released and, unfortunately, didn’t sell well either. Although Wexler does get a production credit on the record, he was not present for the recording of Cher’s vocals because he came down with pneumonia during the sessions. He did, however, choose all of the songs for Cher to record.

One of the reasons the album might not have sold so well was that back in 1969 the address and the studio were a completely unknown entity. In fact, Cher’s album was the first record cut there. The studio was formed in 1969 by musicians Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), Jimmy Johnson (guitar) and David Hood (bass) who had left the legendary FAME Studios, founded by Arthur Alexander, to launch Muscle Shoals.

Cher remains one of our greatest interpreters of song, especially in the 1960s, and for this album she adeptly covered Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” Dr. John’s “I Walk On Gilded Splinters,” Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham’s “Cry Like A Baby” (a hit for The Box Tops), Chips Moman and Dan Penn’s (by way of Aretha Franklin) “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and three of the above named Dylan songs, including today’s Song of the Day.

The musicians on the sessions were Eddie Hinton on lead guitar, Jimmy Johnson on rhythm guitar, Barry Beckett on keyboards, Dave Hood on bass and Roger Hawkins on drums. The record was re-released by Rhino Handmade in 2001 and augmented with another 12 songs Cher cut for the Atco label that went unreleased.

Edited: February 8th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #57– Cher: “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” b/w “The Way Of Love” – MCA 60035 (N6/P6)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #57– Cher: “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” b/w “The Way Of Love” – MCA 60035 (N6/P6)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Today’s jukebox classic is as much a testament to performance and great songwriting, as it is to timing and opportunities demonstrating the power of television when it comes to career revival. In 1971, Sonny & Cher were offered their first television variety show, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour which debut in August and became a big hit. As a result, many of the songs Cher performed on the show also became her biggest hits. Case in point is today’s Song Of The Day which was performed in September of 1971 on the show, and by November it was sitting atop the charts selling over four million copies in its wake.

When it was released, it had been four years since Cher had had a top ten single with “You Better Sit Down Kids,” and this song not only marked a comeback for Cher, but put her firmly in the spotlight where she has remained ever since. It was also the song that kicked off the era of Cher as a glamour queen wearing dresses designed by Bob Makie rather than the hippie attire she was known for up to this point. As a result, she became an icon to both gay men and middle-aged housewives at the same time.

The song was from her seventh solo album which was simply titled Cher, however the album was retitled Gypsies Tramps & Thieves after the single broke big. It was Cher’s first album for a new record label (Kapp Records) and also her first without Sonny Bono at the production helm.

The song was originally titled “Gypsies, Tramps & White Trash,” but songwriter Bob Stone amended the title upon the urging of the late, great producer Snuff Garrett. The song tells a story about the cyclical nature of life from the vantage point of a sixteen year old girl from a family of gypsys whose mother dances for the men of the town, and then they move on to the next town. The daughter was “born in the wagon of a traveling show” whose mother “used to dance for the money they’d throw.” Years later, the daughter finds herself in the same position dancing for money when she meets a 21 year old guy who travels with the show. Three months later, he finds out that she’s “a girl in trouble” (i.e. pregnant) and then he leaves her in the lurch. A performance of the song was performed on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour TV show and was made into a video for the song in 1971.

The song is regularly used to kick off games by the Clyde F.C.  Scottish football team. It was covered by the likes of Cilla Black, Vicki Lawrence, Nirvana and the English punk rock band Anti-Nowhere League, amongst others.

The flip of this double-A-sided reissue single was another top-ten hit from the album called “The Way Of Love,” which peaked on the singles charts at #7 selling over one million copies. The melody of this song shares an uncanny resemblance with Perry Como’s 1970 hit, “It’s Impossible,” so much so that Cher took to performing the two songs in a medley during concerts.

“The Way Of Love” had its genesis in the French song “J’ai le mal de toi,” and was written by Jack Dieval with French lyrics by Michel Rivgauche. The lyrics to the English version were written by Al Stillman and the song was recorded by British singer Kathy Kirby, whose version of the song charted at #88 on the U.S. Billboard charts in 1965. The song’s lyrics were somewhat ambiguous as to whether the relationship was between a man and a woman, a mother and a daughter, or most notoriously by two women, further giving Cher credibility with her gay fans.

The song has been covered by Ronnie James Dio in 1964 with his group Ronnie Dio and the Prophets, and has also seen covers by such middle-of-the-road artists as Vikki Carr and Shirley Bassey.

Edited: January 13th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/10/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” by Cher

When one thinks of interpreters of Bob Dylan, the name Cher doesn’t automatically come to mind. But she was, in fact, a huge champion of Dylan’s songs, and his songs fit her voice like a glove. Over the years, Cher has covered such Dylan copyrights as “All I Really Want To Do” (a #15 hit),“Lay Lady Lay” (titled “Lay Baby Lay” on her version), “I Threw It All Away,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Masters Of War,” “The Times, They Are A-Changin’” and today’s Song Of The Day, “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You.”

Cher cut her version of “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” when it was a new song from Dylan’s just-released “Nashville Skyline.” Her version was released on the 1969 album “3614 Jackson Highway,” titled for the address of Muscle Shoals Studios in Alabama.

The idea of bringing Cher to Muscle Shoals to work with Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin (who had also produced Dusty Springfield’s Dusty In Memphis album) was a brilliant one, and the results produced a terrific album that was not particularly well received when released and, unfortunately, didn’t sell well either.  Although Wexler does get a production credit on the record, he was not present for the recording of Cher’s vocals because he came down with pneumonia during the sessions. He did, however, choose all of the songs for Cher to record.

One of the reasons the album might not have sold so well was that back in 1969 the address and the studio were a completely unknown entity. In fact, Cher’s album was the first record cut there.  The studio was formed in 1969 by musicians Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), Jimmy Johnson (guitar) and David Hood (bass) who had left the legendary FAME Studios, founded by Arthur Alexander, to launch Muscle Shoals.

Cher remains one of our greatest interpreters of song, especially in the 1960s, and for this album she adeptly covered Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” Dr. John’s “I Walk On Gilded Splinters,” Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham’s “Cry Like A Baby” (a hit for The Box Tops), Chips Moman and Dan Penn’s (by way of Aretha Franklin) “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and three of the above named Dylan songs, including today’s Song Of the Day.

The musicians on the sessions were Eddie Hinton on lead guitar, Jimmy Johnson on rhythm guitar, Barry Beckett on keyboards, Dave Hood on bass and Roger Hawkins on drums. The record was re-released by Rhino Handmade in 2001 and augmented with another 12 songs Cher cut for Atco that went unreleased.

Edited: February 9th, 2013