Sonny & Cher's 1965 song "I Got You Babe" blares each morning from the clock radio of Bill Murray's character in the 1993 comedy classic Groundhog Day. Asked why he chose that song, writer Danny Rubin said that after several replays, “it would drive you crazy!”
But wasn't there always something also charming about the song? You couldn't help but sing along — and then kept singing for days after you searched Discogs for the original vinyl.
That's the Cher Cool Factor in effect.
The singer, actress, and outspoken anti-Trumper born Cherilyn Sarkisian has a style that seems dubious at first but suddenly, and surprisingly, becomes kinda cool. She plants this weird, awkward seed, and it grows into a nonironic and acceptable trend.
Consider her stylish and scandalous attire over the years, her use of the questionably acceptable Auto-Tune, her role as a rom-com star, and her rampant tweeting. Cher does some weird stuff that might seem embarrassing at
At 72, Cher is still a relevant pop icon. She recently accepted a Kennedy Center Honors Award. She released an album of Abba covers, Dancing Queen. She starred in another movie, Mamma Mia! Here We Go
That vulnerability was literalized in the "If I Could Turn Back Time" video. In it, she bared her bottom in a BDSM-style leather and fishnet getup while strutting in a sea of sailors. The video came out in 1989, and the backlash was immediate. A Washington Post story titled "Cher's Dirty Dance Embarrasses Navy" begins with the line, "If battleships could blush, the USS Missouri would be bright red."
Yet soon after, everyone was airing their buttocks for the camera. At the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards, Prince wore a Cher-like catsuit with his lower cheeks exposed to perform "Gett Off." Then, in 1992, Madonna followed the BDSM trend with her book Sex and similarly styled album Erotica. Her 1994 video for "Human Nature" looks like what "If I Could Turn Back Time" would have been if it were filmed in an East Berlin brothel. And to this day, Cher's look in that video is the
Then there's "Believe," the song that introduced the sound of Antares Auto-Tune software to the mainstream. Much like the fashion mentioned above, the song was not what you would brand as cool in 1998. It was on the radio, for sure, but few music fans admitted they were into it. We had our doubts. Auto-Tune sounded so weird back then. And it seemed like a tool untalented singers might use to disguise their mediocre skills.
But Cher had a helluva set of pipes, perfectly peculiar-sounding in a delightfully masculine way. And T-Pain, who really brought Auto-Tune to the masses, has an angelic voice. Either way, her "Believe" turned this seemingly terrible production trick into a beloved plug-in.
Cher also helped set the template for the modern romantic comedy. Yes,
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Last, there's Cher's activism. She not only bashes the ever-loving shit out of Donald Trump and his cohorts from her social media
Cher has also helped soldiers, veterans, and orphans in Kenya. She fights for animal rights and has given tons of bottled water to the residents of Flint, Michigan. In 2018, she spoke at the March for Our Lives and the Las Vegas Women's March.
So you can call Cher a diva or a risk-taker. But never call her a thing of the past. If history is any indication, you'll soon be following her lead.
Cher. 8 p.m. Saturday, July 19, at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise; thebbtcenter.com. Tickets cost $54.95 to $495.75.