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1960s / Sonny and Cher In Their Glory
Salvatore Sonny Bono started out in Los Angeles at Specialty Records as a songwriter in the late 1950s. In 1963, while working on sessions with Phil Spector, he met a 16 year old, would be singer named Cherilyn Sarkasian Lapierre at a coffee shop next to a Los Angeles radio station. She had previously recorded Ringo, I Love You, produced by Phil Spector, under the name Bonnie Jo Mason. Although Sonny was married to Donna Rankin, with whom he had a daughter, his interest in Cher grew until he eventually ended his marriage. Sonny and Cher were later married and although she was reluctant, the pair formed a professional duo, initially known as Caesar and Cleo. For a time, from 1965 until 1967, they were rock and roll's hottest couple, so much so that in some conservative communities they were considered almost morally subversive. Parents locked up their kids when Sonny and Cher were passing through for a concert appearance. Then, as quickly as they started, the hits stopped coming. Later, they ended up with a summer replacement try-out show that did so well that Sonny and Cher were given a regular spot in the CBS lineup in January 1972, with a comedy-variety series. Their recording career was revived initially by a live album, cut in one night in Las Vegas, featuring new versions of their early hits as well as parts of their current repertory. The album went gold. The next couple of singles by Cher, and Sonny and Cher failed, but producer Snuff Garrett, who had been at Liberty when Cher was there, but had never worked with her, was brought in, and the result was Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, a number one hit that revived their career. After that, The Way of Love, All I Ever Need Is You, A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done, Half Breed, and Dark Lady kept either Cher or the couple in the Top Ten at various times through 1974. By then, however, their marriage had fallen apart, and with it, the success of their TV show.