The year 1969 was like a whirlwind for Sonny and Cher. By now their commercial stock had fallen, and they were deep in debt. But they had little option but to work hard, especially as they had a new baby to support: Chastity Sun, born on March 4. Within weeks of Chastity’s birth, Cher would be back in the studio recording one of the most interesting albums of her career.
As Harry Young puts it in his liner notes for the Rhino reissue of the album, Sonny and Cher were “running for their lives, pursued by an erupting volcano of debt that roared like a wounded behemoth, heaved like a tortured titan, and then burst into flames as it threatened to bury their career and future prospects.”
To fit into the changing times and make some money, they had launched a new, more adult-oriented act in Las Vegas. They were also searching for a new direction for Cher that was more in keeping with the times. Folk-rock was out, and as Cher later put it: “Son’s straight-ahead, upbeat music started to sound simplistic and corny.”
Ahmet Ertegun was delighted that Cher’s Imperial contract had come to an end after five albums and a compilation. She could now finally be incorporated into the Atlantic family, where Sonny & Cher had recorded since 1965. They celebrated the union with an announcement in Cashbox magazine on February 1 1969.
The first release of this new phase of Cher’s career was her cover of “Yours Until Tomorrow,” a 1966 hit for Dee Dee Warwick, backed by the easy-listening schmaltz of “The Thought Of Loving You.” But Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler had bigger ideas for Cher. One of the most successful producers in the history of rhythm and blues — a term he coined himself in his early career as a writer for Billboard magazine — he had helmed records by Ray Charles, The Drifters, and Ruth Brown, and had received universal acclaim for turning Aretha Franklin into one of the most revered singers on the planet.
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Cher: All I Really Want to Do takes readers through the ups and downs of a career that spans more than 50 years in show business. Beginning with her breakthrough alongside husband Sonny Bono in the ’60s, it takes in the high highs – and low lows – of the ’70s, the big-screen success of the ’80s, and global superstardom in the ’90s, and continues right up to her latest comeback alongside Christina Aguilera in Burlesque. There’s detailed coverage of every major album, film, and tour, from “I Got You Babe” to “Believe,” “Half-Breed” to Moonstruck, “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” to Mermaids, and beyond.