Singer, songwriter, and Academy Award-winning actress, Cher is a consummate chameleon. She first gained success as a solo artist and as one half of the duo Sonny and Cher with her then-husband, the late Sonny Bono. Later, the icon reemerged as a pop solo artist in the 1970s through the ’80s and, finally, gained legendary status.
Born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946, Cher first hit the charts with her 1965 solo debut All I Really Want to Do. The record was produced by Bono and reached No. 16 on the Billboard 200. Featured on All I Really Want to Do is the Bono-penned “Needles and Pins,” which was previously made famous two years earlier by Jackie DeShannon. Also on the record is the Ray Davies song “I Go to Sleep,” which he never recorded with the Kinks, and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “All I Really Want to Do.”
By the ’70s, Cher, who is of Armenian-American descent, began exploring more pop elements and her own heritage on her 10th album Half-Breed with the title track and single “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves.”
Throughout the 1980s, Cher was consumed in acting, starring in memorable roles in films like Silkwood, Mask, The Witches of Eastwick, and Moonstruck, and closed out the decade with her mega “comeback” hit, the Diane Warren-penned “If I Could Turn Back Time” in 1989.
Still acting in the ’90s and the present—most recently in Mama Mia! Here We Go Again in 2018—Cher opened the decade with her Mermaids soundtrack hit “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss).” The song was originally written by Rudy Clark in 1963, and Cher then closed out the 1990s with her 22nd album Believe. This record includes hits “Strong Enough,” penned by Paul Michael Barry and Mark Philip Taylor, and the album’s title track which topped the charts.
Below, we take a more chronological look and listen to 10 of Cher’s top songs.
“Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” (1973)
“Dark Lady” (1974)
“If I Cold Turn Back Time” (1989)
“After All,” Featuring Peter Cetera (1989)
“I Found Someone” (1989)
“The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” (1990)
“Just Like Jesse James” (1990)
“Strong Enough” (1998)
Photo courtesy of Warner Records.