by Marcus K. Dowling
I believe that new is boring and that history is inspirational. These opinions are not necessarily the views of the Couch Sessions. “Marcus Dowling appreciates…” celebrates the memories that define the future. Enjoy.
Pop music creates enduring memories of instant moments. As far as it’s creators, they are often instant as well. Immediate creations of the necessity to find a voice for a song, fate’s fickle finger blindly makes ordinary people into exceptional performers, a standard many cannot maintain. That’s why we appreciate Cher. A shooting star of pop extravagance, she met, then exceeded the expectation of pop’s persistent demand to be here, now and ultimately forever.
What separated Cher from the pack was talent. Studio magic can now make the most beautiful of women carry a note. Cher’s first taste of pop stardom was with beau, then husband Sonny Bono on 1965’s “I Got You Babe.” Technology certainly didn’t make this one the perfect definition of the bubblegum pop stereotype. Boy/girl harmony, teenage love and an ear-worming melody excel here. All apologies to Sonny’s kitschy appeal, but Cher’s the star. She’s hot, Lolita in a woman’s body, everything Interscope Records desperately hopes Lana del Rey can succeed in being. In nailing every note, she’s a three-dimensional pop dynamo that explodes off the track and can walk into America’s mainstream.
One song gave Cher a timeless appeal. Establishing herself in that niche took her from superstar to the stuff of legend. Swaddled in designer fashions and a slew of rock-star and industry power broker boyfriends, she turned her initial cache of teenage lust into meeting the independent female ideal. The 1970s found her and Sonny telling jokes on broadcast TV, Cher’s career as a solo vocalist taking off with a slew of singles like “Halfbreed” and “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” that were perfect for her place in the industry. So many stars created from the realm of being one-hit pop wonders lose connection to the industry that made them. Cher is an exception. Settling into the lavish trappings of brilliant songwriting, the aforementioned songs plus a plethora more became bellwether moments of pop style of the era.
Current ears know the exceptional diva for 1989’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” and 2001’s “Believe.” A veteran of her own expectation, she effortlessly breathes life into those generation’s masterful pop standards, the telltale signs of a superstar career. Pop makes stars. Stars rarely make pop. Cher? In steadfastly succeeding in re-establishing the grain of pop music, she opened doors for few, but established the hopes for generations to follow. In getting a population to turn back the hands of time and believe in what excelling under the demand of pop music can produce, she’s appreciated forever.