Saturday, April 28, 2012

You Haven't Seen the Last of Me: Cher before She was Cher!

YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE LAST OF ME: CHER BEFORE SHE WAS CHER! -- Now you didn't think that we'd let this fabulous photo of Cher (or is it Bonnie Jo Mason...or is it Cherilyn?) get by us without the Studio of Style treatment, now did you?  Well, first of all, she's all of 17 in this photo taken at the now-defunct Gold Star Studios in good ol' Hollywood (on the corner of Vine and Santa Monica Boulevard) -- a studio that is legendary among studios in the world for its famed echo chambers and for the multitude of acts who recorded their equally legendary music there (Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Herb Alpert, The Monkees and so many more!).  Of note is the fact that Johnette Napolitano (who we reported on -- see below) was the receptionist there in the 1980s!  But back to Cher!  You see, she was a backup singer for the studio starting in 1962 -- and Sonny Bono was working there for the infamous producer Phil Spector as a percussionist and backup singer -- and by 1964, Cher and Sonny had sung backup vocals for such classic hits as "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes and "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" by the Righteous Brothers -- and a whole host of songs in-between.  But it was in 1964 that our darling stepped out into the spotlight with the song "Ringo, I Love You" which was penned by Spector for his Annette Records label -- but she used the pseudonym Bonnie Jo Mason (as wholesome a name as any!) -- and the following year released "Dream Baby" under the name Cherilyn for her first solo LP All I Really Want to Do (the Bob Dylan tune).  A week after "All I Really Want to Do" (the single) hit number 15 on the Billboard charts, her career with Sonny & Cher took off with their theme song "I Got You Babe" -- and the rest is music history, kids!  But this photo -- it's so super!! We can't say enough about the Mary Quant-inspired vinyl dress with its plethora of zippers -- or the plastic makeup bag -- or the tortoise shell compact -- or those wonderful big costume rings -- or those false nails -- or that stunning pink eye shadow and false lashes or corally-pink lipstick (Coty? Mabelline? Revlon?).  And that luscious mane of hair with its bangs was also Cher's trademark.  The ultimate accessory for any singer: those Vick cough drops.  Can you imagine how many takes and choruses Spector made her and other singers do over and over?  That would take a toll on anyone's vocal chords!  Luckily for us -- and with Sonny's persuasion and belief in her -- that Bonnie Jo Mason-Cherilyn-Cher got past all those backup sessions and into music stardom where she was destined to be!  No, we haven't seen the last of her yet -- nor heard the last of her -- because we're following her on Twitter (just as you are!) and her last tweet from 8 hours ago (as of this posting) is, and we quote: "Just finished work & im really tired! It was a Good nite...Im happy! Nite nite!"  Thank goodness that we've still got you, babe!!!