Before Beyoncé, before Gaga. Before Rihanna and before Katy. Before Britney, Christina, Cyndi and Céline. Before Whitney and Mariah, and before Madonna. Before colour television, before the Vietnam War, before man walked on the moon. Before the decimalised pound. Before everything, before time immemorial...
There was Cher.
Born Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPierre, this shimmering vestibule of unrelenting fabulousness has been a towering fixture on the entertainment landscape for nearly five decades now, and her sparkling tsunami shows no sign of slowing down, with a new studio album on the horizon featuring collaborations with Lady Gaga, P!nk, and Jake Shears, amongst others.
Whilst there are many, many poptart pretenders to the throne these days, Cher's status as the Goddess of Pop remains, for me, unchallenged. 18 actual reasons why Cher is awesome on an existentially fundamental level? Follow this, you bitches…
The science bit
Sales in excess of 200 million (solo and as part of Sonny & Cher), since 1965 she has become the only act to have a Number 1 hit record on the Billboard charts in each of the past six decades. Grammy Awards, Billboard Awards, World Music Awards, American Music Awards, Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, BAFTAs and Academy Awards, and, why not, a Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award. Steve Tyler called her "a supernova of sexuality". Donald Trump hates her. Enough said.
She has performed with everybody
No, literally everybody. From Elton...
…to Michael, and brothers…
…to the Man, the Meat, the Loaf…
…and beyond. Go on, YouTube works.
She's so cool she went clubbing with Liza Minnelli in the actual Studio 54
Just imagine doing jagerbombs on a night out with these two. Amazing.
She won an actual Academy actual Award for actual acting
Because not all singers-turned-actresses make Glitter or Crossroads. Cher was acclaimed as one of the great dramatic actresses of the 1980s in films such as Mask, Moonstruck and The Witches of Eastwick, holding her own on the screen alongside the Hollywood elite (Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Liam Neeson), as well as a host of Dames (Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Judi Dench) in 1999's Tea With Mussolini (not to mention more recently with Christina Aguilera in the amazing* Burlesque, obvs).
(*yes, Burlesque was amazing. Get over yourself)
She slapped Nicholas Cage
This speaks for itself.
She had you, babe
'A girl can wait for the right man to come along - but in the meantime that still doesn't mean she can't have a wonderful time with all the wrong ones.'
Cher's love life was the original tabloid tornado: two husbands (Sonny and Greg Allman) and a plethora of romances have peppered her story. She's so cool she turned down a date with Elvis. She also dated Tom Cruise in the 1980s, when he was a mere Scientological starlet.
Here's a picture of them reunited many years later - doesn't Tom's beard look lovely in this photo?
Sarkisian vs Ciccone
The 1980s saw a new generation of divas arrive, a generation less inclined to douse themselves with Bob Mackie sequins than to perm-frizz their hair and scuff their tights in a New York back-alley. The primary provocateur of this platoon was Madonna, and naturally, where two glacial divas collide, a media fuelled rivalry isn't far behind. Cher took an effortlessly superior and deftly dismissive attitude to the young pretender when interviewed on Wogan in 1991.
Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
Cher's two sons - Chaz Bono & Elijah Blue Allman - were both born into a very public arena, and have had to grow up with their lives under the spotlight - especially Chaz. Originally born a girl named Chastity, Chaz regularly featured as a toddler on Sonny & Cher’s top-rated 70s variety show…
…before coming out as a lesbian in the 90s, and then undergoing gender realignment surgery to become Chaz at the age of 41. Cher's sometimes controversial reactions have also been played out for public consumption, and her disarming honesty in interviews is striking and refreshing when compared to the media-trained public/private façade of many other celebrities.
Cher took some time out in the mid-90s, after releasing the It's a Man's World album, to go to a music writing retreat in France to flex her singer-songwriter credentials, as you do. The result was deemed 'not commercial' enough for release by the record label (they instead went for a little album called Believe… never heard of it), and was shelved - before Cher made it available through her website. A real fanboy geek treat, many tracks are a throw back to her folk-rock 60s roots, especially the Procul Harum-tinged rock ballad 'With Or Without You' - the only song credited entirely to Cher.
Her Farewell Tour lasted three years (and isn't even her farewell tour)
She was like, 'yeah, this is my last tour' and now she's like, 'well, maybe I'll tour again'. That's awesome.
A staunch Democrat (she dined with the Carters on their first night in office), Cher ascended to a whole new level of incredibly-awesomeness in 2012 with her outspoken support of President Obama, filming this video alongside comedienne Kathy Griffin.
Not since the cavemen discovered fire has humanity had such a feverish reaction to the new as Cher had when she cascaded down upon the Twittersphere. The English language can do little more than tremble in her grammar-eschewing wake. From sly humour to passionate political rant, each tweet is 140 carat gold.
— Cher(@cher) August 21, 2012
Donald Trump is Pompous Asshole ! Sawhim in Aspen with one Dcup chick after another Everyone up there thought he was a complete idiot
— Cher(@cher) April 27, 2011
...is just bafflingly awesome.
Oh… My… Cher…
Playing a drag queen version of herself, and then actual God, on Will & Grace, obviously.
Whilst many of her videos are classics, the 'Hell On Wheels' video supersedes all levels of excellence in its efforts to promote homoerotic disco desert rollerblading.
'If I want to put my tits on my back, it's nobody's business but my own…'
Cher has regenerated more times than Doctor Who. To believe the extent that is written about her, she's now 90% synthetic and can survive a nuclear apocalypse. Surgery? Of course. Has she had her ribs removed? Erm, probably not.
The Elephant Woman
Planet-saving animal activist superhero, Cher was a vocal opponent to L.A. Zoo’s new elephant enclosure in 2011. Cher saves elephants. Without Cher we would have no elephants. Probably.
http://twitpic.com/49ownd who orWhat is Cher Lloyd ? Don't think this pic has been seen It's backstage CP LV .
— Cher(@cher) March 15, 2011
Follow that, brat...