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I Got You Babe – Sonny & Cher!

Culture | September 26, 2017

Sonny & Cher were a dynamic, POP, husband and wife duo that took the entertainment world, not only by surprise, but also by storm during the 1960’s & 1970’s. Salvatore Bono (Sonny) met Cherilyn Sarkisian (Cher) in 1962; he was 27 and she was 16. Sonny had already been working for Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios, singing back-up, writing, arranging and producing songs, when Cher joined the studio as a session singer. Sonny and Cher became fast friends and eventually, lovers, although that didn’t take long! By 1964, Cher was 18 years old and had become Sonny’s second wife.    

Early on, while they were recording back-up vocals for notable groups including The Ronettes and The Righteous Brothers, Sonny and Cher, each had their own unique sound and their vocals were easily spotted in these recordings. While setting out to make it on their own, they attempted to coin themselves as, Caesar and Cleo, but never really achieved any recognition using that name. It wasn’t long before they started recording songs under the name of Sonny & Cher and subsequently released their first successful album, “Look at Us,” in 1965. The No. 1 hit, I Got You Babe, was included in this album. Following their success, Sonny & Cher signed a deal with another recording studio, Atlantic Records, releasing 3 albums in the late 1960’s.  

On the heels of this new-found success, Sonny and Cher decided to strike while the iron was hot and attempted to push the fame envelope by dabbling in acting. However, the movies, Good Times (1967) and Chasity (1969), which were written and produced with the couple in mind, were disappointing flops; so that was the end of that. The couple went on to sign with MCA/Kapp Records and released two more albums. Despite the release of these albums, their popularity was waning as the new, hip music, associated with the psychedelic era, was taking over.  

Sonny & Cher on the Ed Sullivan Show

After the Sonny & Cher easy-listening rock style was replaced by psychedelic rock music in the new pop-culture era, the duo was being “pushed out” but was not ready to give up! They quickly regrouped and started performing in Las Vegas. Cher was known as the wisecracking beauty, while Sonny was the plain, good-natured target of her insults. Not to worry, though… Sonny was well in control of the entire act! As they gained notoriety, Sonny and Cher found themselves appearing on top rated television shows including, The Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand, Hollywood A Go-Go, Hollywood Palace, Hullabaloo, Beat Club, Shindig!, Ready Steady Go! and Top of the Pops. They were actually becoming recognized as sensational entertainers, in their own right! Finally, a television talent scout took notice and offered them their own gig! In 1970, Sonny and Cher starred in their first television special, The Nitty Gritty Hour.

The Sonny & Cher Show

Ready for the next adventure, the “dynamic” duo quickly jumped on the variety show bandwagon! They hosted variety/entertainment television shows known as, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and The Sonny & Cher Show. Much like variety shows, in general, they showcased a myriad of entertainment including, music/singing, skits, comic relief as well as the promotion of new talent. Not unlike their Vegas gig, Cher was a wise cracking jokester famous for demeaning Sonny for everything from his singing voice to his height. Sonny always graciously accepted the insult without ever returning the sentiment. The one thing we could always count on was their rendition of that No. 1 hit, "I Got You Babe.” I don’t think anyone would argue that this was/is the iconic Sonny & Cher love anthem! 

Following the end of their success as a couple and subsequent parting, Sonny and Cher went on to forge names for themselves as individuals. Cher continued to pursue her infamous music career, enjoying epic success. Sonny, dabbled (again) in acting, ultimately landing in a political career prior to his death in 1998.

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.