Monday, June 23, 2014

Cher Top Ten #1

Welcome back music lovers! So we are back in the pop groove of my collection of music that I love and today we see the first of my top ten favorite songs by Cher. You know before there was Madonna, Cherilyn Sarkisian who became half of the 60s duo Sonny and Cher was the reigning Queen of Pop but now has become the Goddess Of Pop, one of the divas almost well into her 70s and still touring with a dynamite body and elaborate stage shows. Being an 80s baby, I discovered Cher at the end of that decade and the love affair has only grown into the later decades but I also find that going back to the 1970s works of Cher as a solo artist after her marriage to Sonny Bono dissolved have just made the love of her music grow even more. Artists evolve and change the sound of their music and looks and we probably wouldn't have artist like Madonna and Lady Gaga if not for Cher (well for me that would be a sad thing anyway!) So without any further ado, let's kick off my first list of top ten songs of songs I like by Cher and see what you think!

#10. If I Could Turn Back Time from the album Heart Of Stone

Why Do I Like It?: This is the song I discovered Cher with as well as probably half a dozen or more kids my age back in 1989. I don't think six-year old me was shocked by Cher's almost completely bare body and the tattoos on her ass (more power to her on that fake or not) but I was probably blown away by that voice! Cher can hold her own against any rock vocalist besides being good at pop and dance hits (a duet between her and Ann Wilson of Heart would probably make my brain explode with delight!) with that raspy tone. It also does not hurt to have a song written by power house lyricist Diane Warren in a song we can all relate to: wanting to go back in time to take back things we said to someone we love. It's poignant in parts but Cher is by no means a weak-willed woman so the song doesn't become a weep fest but an admittance of pride that caused the person she loved to walk out the door.

#9. We All Sleep Alone from the album Cher

Why Do I Like It?: I admit I've never been a big Bon Jovi fan but when Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi help write a song and Cher sings it...I'm all for that! Thanks to her voice and her fantastic physique, Cher makes this a very seductive song as displayed in the above video. The very simple premise that no matter where you go or how many people you love and sleep with, you will eventually sleep alone. I like the song but it is quite low on this list.

#8. Save Up All Your Tears from the album Love Hurts

Why Do I Like It?: Again another Cher song where I saw the video that made me love the song and seeing Cher reinvent her image three times within one video shows why she's good at staying so relevant. Originally a Bonnie Tyler song, Cher made it her own and despite not having quite the raspy tone as Tyler does, she still has those power house vocals and the song has a very melodic tone and again some Diane Warren lyrics, co-written with producer Desmond Child. We all know at least one person out there who is so distant that they are almost cold or they are hurtful without realizing it. After awhile we can no longer put up with them and we have to just walk away wondering whether they will care at all. If they eventually realize the harm they have done and finally break down that barrier, those tears are going to be too late. For someone who has cried a lot of tears myself because of people like that, the lyrics offer some great advice to one and all.

#7. Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves from the album of the same name

Why Do I Like It?: When I was little I never realized this was the same lady who sang "If I Could Turn Back Time" until my mother pointed it out to me on after about the millionth car ride of hearing it on the oldies station of the time where they didn't play stuff from the 1980s like they do now (which means me and others of my generation are now "old"). It was one of Cher's biggest solo singles and came at a time when lyrics of a song actually told a linear story that I actually kind of appreciate as most song lyrics today don't do that. Cher sings a song about a young woman who lives among her family of modern day gypsies who are treated like trash by others except at night when the men come to solicit favors from the women. When the narrator meets a young man the family picks up as they travel, they end up making love which gets her pregnant and soon she's on her own after he takes off. The premise of the song today is way off-base but hearing Cher sing this song is beautiful and emotional.

#6. Song For The Lonely from the album Living Proof

Why Do I Like It?: In the 2000s, Cher became something more of a club music type of artist but after the attacks on 9/11, we know everything in our world changed. Even though the song has a dance beat, it's lyrics written and then dedicated by Cher to the people of New York about six months later, brings a new kind of meaning. As the title suggests, it truly is a song for those who feel loneliness whether it is from love, friendship, factors of pain we can not change and need to know that there is hope. Even people who are strong and brave can get pushed to the brink of sadness but if we all stand by each other then life can go on. When you throw Cher's powerful voice into the mix with such powerful will be overwhelmed but the music is upbeat and energetic.

#5. One By One from the album It's A Man's World

Why Do I Like It?: This was probably my first taste of Cher as a dance pop diva. It had some decent radio airplay which is how I found it and I fell in love with it thanks to Cher's soulful voice. Sometimes the world gets to be too much for you to handle and the only thing that gives you give peace is being with the one you love. Something inside them brings out the best in you and sometimes the other people around you don't or can't understand why. Maybe they don't believe love is strong enough to make such a change possible for some unknown reason but eventually you hope that one by one they can feel and experience things as you do.

#4. Believe from the album of the same name

Why Do I Like It?: Probably the biggest hit of Cher's career that introduced her to a younger generation of fans with its dance-pop vibe. It has some Auto Tune which to most people seems to be a big no-no in music but Cher's voice is already proven to be quite powerful without the help...she probably just thought it sounded cool and it does! Everyone has break-ups in love and even in friendships and this is a song of empowerment. It's more about the romantic relationship ending when you can no longer connect with your significant other and then you realize you are more than capable of being on your own. Being the strong woman that she is, I for one believe in the power of Cher!

#3. Heart Of Stone from the album of the same name

Why Do I Like It?: This is the second song by Cher I ever heard and of course, saw on MTV. From the first strum of the acoustic guitar, you are hooked and by the time you get to the chorus the song is sure to have an impact upon you and for me a very emotional one. I have had some very personal losses dealt to me and I can connect with this song in this crazy world where I have also seen others deal with their lives changing in the most devastating ways whether personally or on the news. Sometimes the pain goes away when you are able to stand together with those around you who have dealt with pain and sometimes you wish your heart truly was made of stone so you never had to feel pain again or become so attached to someone or something and then only watch it being torn from your hands.

#2. I Found Someone from the album Cher

Why Do I Like It?: I have to admit  that Michael Bolton may not be my exact cup of tea but the man can write a really good song! This 1987 hit for Cher was penned by the crooner back when he just finished up fronting a much more biting band called Blackjack (which I guess is why he had the power mullet for a long-time) and when you add her voice to a power ballad...expect to be impressed! From the first keyboard note, I was hooked to this song and of course, the video featured the always gorgeous Cher who never fails to impress. It's hard to stay in love when the other person in your relationship can't be truthful or walks away every time you really need them to find comfort or show you true affection. During that time when they can't be may find someone else who listens to you, understands you and realize you can do better. By that time, you've found love with someone new and the love in your past decides to come back but it's too late. Besides being powerful lyrically, the song is very seductive and heart-pounding which is why I love it!

So with a career spanning over six decades, what song by Cher could possibly be my number one for this particular list? Taking the top spot is...

#1. Love And Understanding from the album Love Hurts

Why Do I Like It?: Ever since I saw the video for this song when I was little in the early 90s (this time on VH1) I have been in love with it! When you are young you can't understand why you become fascinated by certain things until you get older and can truly appreciate them. This song has Cher's soulful voice backed by some powerful vocals, has a string orchestra pounding with intensity and of course, lyrics by Diane Warren that are fiery and engaging! As the title suggests, the world does need more love and understanding because this world is sometimes scary, cruel and harsh where material things and money seem to matter more. Even today I think that is true: there are people out there who don't get the love they need or deserve and sometimes we don't understand why people do the things they do that hurt and devastate others. The song builds to a frenetic pace of passion that still impresses me on a musical level and that's why I have given it my number one spot.

If you are beginning to see a pattern in how I do these top tens by choosing artists I love...don't get too comfortable! We've been going from rock to pop and back again but you never know when it comes to me and my vast collection of favorites! I hope you'll be back next time to see what I talk about next!

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