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Sonny & Cher

Data updated on 2024-07-20 08:09:26 UTC
Sonny & Cher proved one of the magical musical combinations of the mid-'60s and one of the better rock-influenced MOR acts of the early '70s, their wisecracking repartee providing counterpoint to a series of adoring hit duets. Salvatore "Sonny" Bono (born February 16, 1935) started out at Los Angeles-based Specialty Records as a songwriter in the late '50s, responsible for "Koko Joe" by Don & Dewey and "She Said Yeah" for Larry Williams, which was later covered by the Rolling Stones and the Righteous Brothers. Bono became a protégé of Phil Spector, managing to write a handful of successful songs, most notably "Needles and Pins" in collaboration with his protégé Jack Nitzsche, which became a success for Jackie DeShannon and a huge international hit for the Searchers. In 1964, while working sessions with Phil Spector, he met an 18-year-old would-be singer named Cherilyn Lapierre (born May 20, 1946), and the two were later married. They formed a professional duet, initially as Caesar & Cleo for Vault Records and later Reprise, but it was only after they were signed to Atlantic Records as Sonny & Cher that success came their way. The couple embarked on parallel careers, with Cher later signed to Liberty/Imperial Records as a solo act.

They were a strange duet in the sense that neither had a great voice and, indeed, their voices were so similar that Atlantic's president Ahmet Ertegun was convinced that Sonny had come close to breaking a contract by turning up singing with her on her solo hit "All I Really Want to Do" and her other Imperial hits. The latter song, however, also demonstrated their ability to spot a hit, as well as good material for themselves: they'd heard the Byrds performing the Dylan song at a club in Los Angeles and got Cher's recording out before the Byrds' own was in stores, beating the folk-rock group at its own game of popularizing Dylan songs. She subsequently hit with "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" while Sonny charted with "Laugh at Me" on Atco, but their biggest success was as a duet on Atco, with "I Got You Babe" and "The Beat Goes On."

For a time, from 1965 until 1967, they were rock & roll's hottest couple, so much so that in some conservative communities, they were considered almost morally subversive; parents locked up their kids when Sonny & Cher were passing through for a concert appearance. They were popular enough, and sufficiently well-known that the Rolling Stones impersonated them on the British television music showcase Ready Steady Go, miming to "I Got You Babe" with Brian Jones subbing for Sonny.

And then nothing. The hits stopped coming, and the couple made some daringly creative but unsuccessful commercial missteps, even a movie (Good Times, directed by William Friedkin in his debut) that was, like the Monkees' Head, too far ahead of its time for critics and all but the most advanced fans to appreciate. A further film effort, Chastity, a name shared by their daughter, also bombed, and the sudden confrontation of a $200,000 income tax debt forced the couple to continue working. Further, they were unable to record because of a dispute with Atlantic over Sonny's objections to the way that Cher's solo career was being handled.

They were playing supper clubs and Las Vegas nightclubs, opening for people like Pat Boone, when Johnny Musso, a friend of the couple's, was jumping from an executive position at Atlantic to run Decca Records' Kapp label subsidiary, and brought the duo with him. At around the same time, their stage act -- which had evolved into a kind of "with it" domestic comedy routine nearly as prominent as the music, with the tall, wry-witted Cher cutting up on the seemingly dim-witted Sonny -- was spotted by Fred Silverman, who was then the head of programming for CBS. They ended up with a summer replacement try-out show that did so well that Sonny & Cher were given a regular spot in the CBS lineup in January 1972 with a comedy-variety series.

The couple's recording career was initially revived by a live album cut in one night at Las Vegas, featuring new versions of their early hits as well as parts of their then-current repertory; the album went gold. The first couple of singles by Cher and Sonny & Cher failed, but then producer Snuff Garrett, who had been at Liberty when Cher was there but had never worked with her, was brought in, and the result was "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," a career-reviving number one hit. After that, "The Way of Love," "All I Ever Need Is You" (which became the theme for their TV show), "A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done," "Half Breed," and "Dark Lady" kept either Cher or the couple in the Top Ten at various times through 1974. By then, however, their marriage had fallen apart, and with it, the success of their TV show.

By then, it didn't matter. They were pop culture icons, though Bono became the butt of many jokes when Cher eclipsed him with her acting career in movies like Silkwood and Mask. Bono was in the restaurant business when his outrage at the bureaucracy of the government in Palm Springs, California, caused him to declare his candidacy for mayor; he won the election, and was subsequently elected to Congress during the 1994 Republican sweep of the House of Representatives. He continued to represent his ex-wife's business interests, even as his subsequent remarriage (the name Sonny & Cher is trademarked), and was beginning to make a mark as a conservative Republican member of the California House delegation when he died in a skiing accident in 1998. Bono's second wife, Mary, succeeded him to the same House seat in a special election, and in the general election in 1998. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Total plays

245.1 million
Updated on 2024-06-08

Country

United States

Monthly listeners

1,393,168

Followers

432,761

Top Cities

  1. Australia
    20,916 listeners
  2. United Kingdom
    15,649 listeners
  3. Australia
    17,109 listeners
  4. Australia
    15,406 listeners
  5. Canada
    12,355 listeners

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Frankie Avalon
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Jan & Dean
Jan & Dean
Gerry & The Pacemakers
Gerry & The Pacemakers
Lulu
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Freddie & The Dreamers
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Tony Orlando & Dawn
Tony Orlando & Dawn
Manfred Mann
Manfred Mann
The Partridge Family
The Partridge Family
Donny & Marie Osmond
Donny & Marie Osmond

Most popular tracks

Track Plays Duration Release date
I Got You Babe - 45 Version
I Got You Babe - 45 Version
192,575,542 3:10 1965-01-01
The Beat Goes On
The Beat Goes On
15,993,061 3:28 1967-01-01
Baby Don't Go
Baby Don't Go
4,925,930 3:10 1967-01-01
Little Man - LP/Single Version
Little Man - LP/Single Version
4,862,845 3:22 1967-01-01
All I Ever Need Is You
All I Ever Need Is You
3,108,989 2:38 1990-04-24
Groovy Kind of Love
Groovy Kind of Love
1,942,008 2:20 1967-01-01
Tell Him
Tell Him
1,833,658 2:27 1966-05-01
A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done
A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done
1,701,963 3:15 1990-04-24
It's the Little Things - LP / Single Version
It's the Little Things - LP / Single Version
1,529,467 3:06 1967-08-01
It's The Little Things
It's The Little Things
1,529,467 3:04 1967-01-01
I Walk On Guilded Splinters
I Walk On Guilded Splinters
1,428,384 2:29 1975-01-01
I'm Leaving It All up to You
I'm Leaving It All up to You
1,409,373 2:18 1966-05-01
What Now My Love
What Now My Love
1,386,498 3:42 1966-05-01
But You're Mine - LP / Single Version
But You're Mine - LP / Single Version
1,305,075 3:05 1966-05-01
It Never Rains In Southern California
It Never Rains In Southern California
788,334 3:45 1973-02-03
Then He Kissed Me
Then He Kissed Me
720,720 2:58 1965-01-01
Sing C'est La Vie
Sing C'est La Vie
581,971 3:44 1965-01-01
500 Miles
500 Miles
518,853 3:56 1965-01-01
Laugh at Me - LP/Single Version
Laugh at Me - LP/Single Version
466,756 2:55 1966-05-01
Laugh At Me
Laugh At Me
466,756 2:52 1967-01-01
Just You
Just You
440,313 3:32 1965-01-01
I Got You Babe (Good Times Soundtrack Version)
I Got You Babe (Good Times Soundtrack Version)
379,416 2:18 1967-01-01
Let It Be Me - Mono
Let It Be Me - Mono
370,230 2:34 1965-01-01
Unchained Melody - Mono
Unchained Melody - Mono
362,447 3:54 1965-01-01
The Revolution Kind
The Revolution Kind
324,455 3:25 1966-05-01
I Got You Babe - Single Version Mono
I Got You Babe - Single Version Mono
271,267 3:11 1965-01-01
I Look for You (aka I Looked for You)
I Look for You (aka I Looked for You)
268,638 2:44 1966-05-01
Living for You
Living for You
256,694 3:34 1967-01-01
Living For You
Living For You
256,694 3:36 1967-01-01
United We Stand
United We Stand
249,953 2:36 1990-04-24
Good Combination
Good Combination
246,032 2:56 1967-01-01
Why Don't They Let Us Fall in Love
Why Don't They Let Us Fall in Love
238,646 2:39 1965-01-01
Why Don't They Let Us Fall In Love
Why Don't They Let Us Fall In Love
238,646 2:35 1967-01-01
We'll Sing in the Sunshine
We'll Sing in the Sunshine
217,987 2:42 1967-01-01
Somebody - Single Version / Mono
Somebody - Single Version / Mono
214,709 2:54 1995-09-26
It's Gonna Rain - 45 Version
It's Gonna Rain - 45 Version
214,499 2:26 1965-01-01
You've Really Got a Hold on Me
You've Really Got a Hold on Me
204,273 2:21 1965-01-01
Baby Don't Go
Baby Don't Go
202,663 3:11 2017-05-23
Crystal Clear / Muddy Waters
Crystal Clear / Muddy Waters
194,746 2:38 1990-04-24
Real People - Single Version / Mono
Real People - Single Version / Mono
184,028 3:12 1995-09-26
Trust Me - Soundtrack Version
Trust Me - Soundtrack Version
182,394 4:41 1967-05-01
The Letter - Mono
The Letter - Mono
165,201 2:09 1965-01-01
Bring It on Home to Me
Bring It on Home to Me
163,360 2:51 1966-05-01
Turn Around
Turn Around
163,252 2:51 1966-05-01
It Never Rains In Southern California
It Never Rains In Southern California
162,698 3:46 1995-01-01
I Got You Babe - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
I Got You Babe - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
162,621 3:18 1990-04-24
A Beautiful Story - LP / Single Version
A Beautiful Story - LP / Single Version
157,397 2:53 1967-01-01
Beautiful Story
Beautiful Story
157,397 2:50 1967-01-01
Summertime
Summertime
153,050 2:56 1966-05-01
When You Say Love - Single Version
When You Say Love - Single Version
136,267 2:27 1990-04-24
Love Don't Come
Love Don't Come
135,757 3:03 1967-01-01
Leave Me Be
Leave Me Be
135,695 2:05 1966-05-01
So Fine
So Fine
122,178 2:27 1966-05-01
Set Me Free
Set Me Free
119,375 2:23 1966-05-01
Monday
Monday
117,800 2:59 1967-01-01
You Don't Love Me - Mono
You Don't Love Me - Mono
116,454 2:30 1965-01-01
You Don’t Love Me
You Don’t Love Me
116,454 2:30 2023-07-28
Stand by Me
Stand by Me
113,383 3:43 1967-01-01
I Got You Babe - Live (1973 Las Vegas)
I Got You Babe - Live (1973 Las Vegas)
94,487 4:35 1998-01-01
Good Times - Soundtrack Version
Good Times - Soundtrack Version
92,265 5:15 1967-05-01
Don't Talk to Strangers - Soundtrack Version
Don't Talk to Strangers - Soundtrack Version
88,564 2:43 1967-05-01
Have I Stayed Too Long - LP / Single Version
Have I Stayed Too Long - LP / Single Version
83,156 3:47 1966-05-01
Mama Was A Rock And Roll Singer Papa Used To Write All Her Songs
Mama Was A Rock And Roll Singer Papa Used To Write All Her Songs
83,003 3:41 1995-09-26
I Got You Babe - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
I Got You Babe - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
81,408 3:53 1995-09-26
The Greatest Show On Earth
The Greatest Show On Earth
76,944 3:49 1973-02-03
I'm Gonna Love You - Soundtrack Version
I'm Gonna Love You - Soundtrack Version
76,045 2:35 1967-05-01
It's the Little Things - Sountrack Version
It's the Little Things - Sountrack Version
70,138 3:02 1967-05-01
I Can See Clearly Now
I Can See Clearly Now
61,805 3:38 1973-02-03
You Baby
You Baby
57,663 2:55 1967-01-01
Crying Time
Crying Time
56,672 3:14 1966-05-01
I Got You Babe - Instrumental
I Got You Babe - Instrumental
54,472 4:45 1967-05-01
Podunk
Podunk
53,043 2:56 1967-01-01
Misty Roses
Misty Roses
46,663 3:06 1967-01-01
By Love I Mean
By Love I Mean
44,077 4:24 1973-02-03
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You
Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You
42,948 3:04 1975-01-01
Mama Was A Rock And Roll Singer Papa Used To Write All Her Songs - Pt. 1 & 2
Mama Was A Rock And Roll Singer Papa Used To Write All Her Songs - Pt. 1 & 2
42,901 9:44 1973-02-03
The Beat Goes On - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
The Beat Goes On - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
42,769 9:42 2000-01-01
Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) - Live In Las Vegas/1973
Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) - Live In Las Vegas/1973
42,300 6:19 1990-04-24
Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
41,143 3:18 1975-01-01
Get It Together
Get It Together
40,031 3:34 2019-05-10
Cheryl's Goin' Home
Cheryl's Goin' Home
36,995 2:42 1967-01-01
Plastic Man
Plastic Man
36,928 3:33 1967-01-01
You're a Friend of Mine
You're a Friend of Mine
36,250 3:18 2019-09-20
Rhythm Of Your Heartbeat
Rhythm Of Your Heartbeat
36,229 3:31 1973-02-03
The Beat Goes On - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
The Beat Goes On - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
35,752 9:08 1990-04-24
I Believe In You
I Believe In You
35,532 2:58 1973-02-03
I Got You Babe/Where Do You Go/But You're Mine - Medley/Live On The Ed Sullivan Show, September 26, 1965
I Got You Babe/Where Do You Go/But You're Mine - Medley/Live On The Ed Sullivan Show, September 26, 1965
34,829 6:08 2021-10-10
Love Is Strange
Love Is Strange
30,034 2:46 2020-04-03
Just a Name - Soundtrack Version
Just a Name - Soundtrack Version
27,509 6:28 1967-05-01
Don't Talk to Strangers
Don't Talk to Strangers
26,838 2:45 1968-01-01
My Best Friend's Girl Is Out Of Sight
My Best Friend's Girl Is Out Of Sight
26,595 4:13 1967-01-01
Hello
Hello
26,379 3:12 1967-01-01
It's the Little Things
It's the Little Things
24,977 3:29 1975-01-01
You and Me
You and Me
24,679 2:60 2019-09-20
Do You Want to Dance?
Do You Want to Dance?
24,246 2:36 2019-10-04
I Can See Clearly Now
I Can See Clearly Now
24,083 3:36 1995-01-01
You And I
You And I
23,554 5:01 1995-01-01
Circus
Circus
18,650 3:58 2019-09-20
Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You) - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You) - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
18,175 4:27 1995-09-26
I Can See Clearly Now / You've Got A Friend/Where You Lead - Medley / Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
I Can See Clearly Now / You've Got A Friend/Where You Lead - Medley / Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
17,854 11:10 1995-09-26
All I Ever Need Is You - Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
All I Ever Need Is You - Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
17,188 3:08 1995-09-26
Once In A Lifetime / More Today Than Yesterday / Got To Get You Into My Life - Medley / Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
Once In A Lifetime / More Today Than Yesterday / Got To Get You Into My Life - Medley / Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
16,794 6:07 1995-09-26
Superstar - Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
Superstar - Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
16,698 5:23 1995-09-26
You've Got A Friend / Where You Lead
You've Got A Friend / Where You Lead
16,339 5:56 1995-01-01
What Now My Love - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
What Now My Love - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
15,632 2:58 1995-09-26
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
15,272 3:16 1973-02-03
You Gotta Have a Thing of Your Own
You Gotta Have a Thing of Your Own
15,150 2:56 2019-09-20
Listen To The Music
Listen To The Music
14,946 3:55 1973-02-03
Then He Kissed Me - Mono
Then He Kissed Me - Mono
14,905 2:56 1965-01-01
Hold You Tighter
Hold You Tighter
13,906 6:16 2019-09-20
You Better Sit Down Kids - Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
You Better Sit Down Kids - Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
13,297 4:21 1995-09-26
Danny Boy
Danny Boy
12,285 6:01 1995-01-01
You've Really Got a Hold on Me - Mono
You've Really Got a Hold on Me - Mono
11,689 2:18 1965-01-01
You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me
You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me
11,689 2:18 2023-07-28
Band Introduction / I Got You Babe - Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
Band Introduction / I Got You Babe - Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
11,607 6:03 1995-09-26
Laugh At Me - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
Laugh At Me - Live At The Westside Room, Los Angeles/1971
10,820 4:03 1995-09-26
You Know Darn Well - Single Version
You Know Darn Well - Single Version
10,302 3:19 1973-02-03
Dialogue - Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
Dialogue - Live At Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas/1973
9,779 1:50 1995-09-26
500 Miles - Mono
500 Miles - Mono
9,443 3:55 1965-01-01
Just You - Mono
Just You - Mono
8,111 3:29 1965-01-01
Sing C'est La Vie - Mono
Sing C'est La Vie - Mono
6,960 3:39 1965-01-01
It's Gonna Rain - Mono
It's Gonna Rain - Mono
6,867 2:23 1965-01-01
Why Don't They Let Us Fall in Love - Mono
Why Don't They Let Us Fall in Love - Mono
6,544 2:34 1965-01-01
Why Don’t They Let Us Fall in Love
Why Don’t They Let Us Fall in Love
6,544 2:34 2023-07-28
Just You
Just You
< 1000 4:04 1967-01-01
But You're Mine
But You're Mine
< 1000 3:04 1967-01-01
Have I Stayed Too Long
Have I Stayed Too Long
< 1000 3:43 1967-01-01
Leave Me Be
Leave Me Be
< 1000 2:04 1967-01-01
Love Don't Come
Love Don't Come
< 1000 3:02 1967-01-01
Let It Be Me
Let It Be Me
< 1000 2:34 2023-07-28
Just You
Just You
< 1000 3:29 2023-07-28
I Got You Babe
I Got You Babe
< 1000 3:12 2023-07-28
Sing C’est La Vie
Sing C’est La Vie
< 1000 3:39 2023-07-28
500 Miles
500 Miles
< 1000 3:55 2023-07-28
It’s Gonna Rain
It’s Gonna Rain
< 1000 2:23 2023-07-28

New releases

Just You
Just You
2023-07-28
[Echoes of the Past]
I Got You Babe/Where Do You Go/But You're Mine (Medley/Live On The Ed Sullivan Show, September 26, 1965)
I Got You Babe/Where Do You Go/But You're Mine (Medley/Live On The Ed Sullivan Show, September 26, 1965)
2021-10-10
[SOFA - AV Catalog DD]
I Got You Babe
I Got You Babe
2019-09-20
[Warner Music Group - X5 Music Group]
Get It Together
Get It Together
2019-05-10
[Warner Music Group - X5 Music Group]
The Complete ATCO Albums
The Complete ATCO Albums
2019-03-29
[Warner Music Group - X5 Music Group]
Cher and Sonny & Cher Greatest Hits
Cher and Sonny & Cher Greatest Hits
1998-01-01
[Geffen*]
All I Ever Need - The Kapp/MCA Anthology
All I Ever Need - The Kapp/MCA Anthology
1995-09-26
[Geffen]
The Beat Goes On: Best Of
The Beat Goes On: Best Of
1991-11-05
[Rhino]
All I Ever Need Is You
All I Ever Need Is You
1990-04-24
[Geffen]
The Beat Goes On
The Beat Goes On
1975-01-01
[Rhino Atlantic]
Mama Was A Rock And Roll Singer Papa Used To Write All Her Songs
Mama Was A Rock And Roll Singer Papa Used To Write All Her Songs
1973-02-03
[Geffen]
The Two Of Us
The Two Of Us
1972-09-01
[Rhino Atlantic]
Sonny & Cher's Greatest Hits
Sonny & Cher's Greatest Hits
1968-01-01
[Rhino/Elektra]
The Best Of Sonny & Cher
The Best Of Sonny & Cher
1967-08-01
[Rhino/Elektra]
Good Times-Original Film Soundtrack
Good Times-Original Film Soundtrack
1967-05-01
[Rhino/Elektra]
In Case You're In Love
In Case You're In Love
1967-01-01
[Rhino/Elektra]
The Beat Goes On: The Best Of Sonny & Cher
The Beat Goes On: The Best Of Sonny & Cher
1967-01-01
[Revolver Records]
The Wonderous World Of Sonny & Cher
The Wonderous World Of Sonny & Cher
1966-05-01
[Rhino/Elektra]
Look At Us
Look At Us
1965-01-01
[Rhino Atlantic]
Look At Us (Mono)
Look At Us (Mono)
1965-01-01
[Rhino Atlantic]
Baby Don't Go
Baby Don't Go
1965-01-01
[Rhino/Warner Records]
I Got You Babe / It's Gonna Rain [Digital 45]
I Got You Babe / It's Gonna Rain [Digital 45]
1965-01-01
[Rhino Atlantic]