Half Breed by Cher (MCA, 1973)

I like Cher – as an actress. I think she adds her a very lonely and dark element to most of her characters aided by her thin nose and sometimes long gaunt face. There’s something about her presence on film that can be engaging. Her music on the other hand makes me laugh uncontrollably, esp her solo work in the 70s. I’d like to think that there was a deeper, Dadaist meaning behind some of those songs, but I highly doubt it.

Sonny & Cher kicked off a pretty good career in music, with Cher (and even Sonny) having a solo career at the same time. But by 1968 both acts couldn’t get a hit to save their lives. Seemed like they ran their depressing hippie image into the ground. Then the duo turned to TV after CBS exec Fred Silverman caught their act and thought it would be a great variety show. And it was. The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour was awesome. And it reminded the world that this couple was happening and entertaining. It also gave steady jobs to Steve Martin & Terri Garr on their way to stardom (even the Unknown Comic, who was one of my faves as a kid and a recurring Halloween costume) Who could forget Sonny & Cher’s faces on those lamplights in the background? Far out, man.

This was the perfect vehicle to relaunch their music careers. But obviously this went to their (mostly Sonny’s) head to the point that their decision-making processes were all over the place. Who would have thought that Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves would be a hit? I have no words – but I will another time. This was also the time that Cher really started to over sing with that Banshee warble as if she was always on stage. Cher got away with it. For some reason we bought it. And Sonny began viewing Cher like a long dark dollar sign in a Bob Mackie dress.

So he began requesting ‘better’ material for Cher (should have done that in the first place). When producer Snuff Garrett gave them a demo of the Bobby Russell-penned, The Night The Lights When Out in Georgia, Sonny had a conniption. ‘What kind of crap is this?’ Sonny cried. ‘You’re gonna piss off everyone in the South? We want people to like Cher!’. ‘Screw you midget’ replied Snuff and he quit as their producer. Meanwhile The Night… went on to be a #1 hit for Bobby’s wife, Vicki Lawrence. (Between you & me, I think Cher’s voice would have overshadowed the song and taken away from its mystique. It needed a demo-like reading which it got from Vicki)

Unbeknownst to either party Al Capps & Mary Dean were finishing up a song they had specifically written for Cher and were getting to give it to Snuff Garrett. Snuff heard the song and loved it and said he would pass it on. But as he wasn’t working with Cher or Sonny anymore, he had a problem.

This is proof that God exists. He tried to keep Cher & Snuff from working together, knowing what the disastrous end result would be. But then God turned around, shifted his focus to OPEC…and this happened…

Who bought this record? Why? Please tell me.

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3 Comments

  1. Obey_Gravity

     /  July 14, 2012

    Err app “Annie” bought this 45……………….

    Reply
  2. J.A. Bartlett

     /  July 15, 2012

    Lots of people bought it, since it went to #1. It seems to be trying to portray the “half breed” as a sympathetic, though tragic, figure, but it comes off as astoundingly racist—so much so that I’m surprised that there wasn’t a fuss about it even back then.

    Reply
  3. maryann

     /  July 17, 2012

    I did! In my defense, I was 9 at the time.

    Reply

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