Through the years, there have been many remarkable husband-and-wife musical duos. Names such as, Ike and Tina Turner, and Johnny and June Carter Cash immediately come to mind. However, no discussion of musical duos consisting of domestic partners would be complete without discussing Sonny & Cher. These two had their first fateful encounter at a Los Angeles-based coffee shop in 1962. At the time, Cherilyn Sarkisian (“Cher”) had just barely dropped out of school and was living in an Los Angeles apartment with a friend. However, even at that early age, she was very glamorous and already had the “aura” of a movie star.
Cher had the drive to become one. She would approach anyone who she believed would help make her dream of making it in show business come true. This is how she got into contact with the other half of what would become her future musical duo; Salvatore “Sonny” Bono. Sonny Bono stopped in for coffee while Cher was in line as well and the two struck up an immediate friendship. They would, first of all, become best friends, then lovers, and then in 1964 when Cher was 18 and Sonny was 30 they would take part in an informal marriage ceremony. (They did get formally married when their daughter Chastity was born)
From the mid-’60s onward, this duo would personify the image of the carefree hippie couple. However, they also had unmistakable onscreen chemistry, having a string of hits and even their own variety show in the 1970s. Although the two would ultimately divorce in 1975, they would later reunite several times to sing some of their classic hits. When Sonny passed away in a skiing accident in 1998, Cher gave a tearful eulogy that showed the two had been able to remain friends over the years.
To say that their musical catalog is impressive would be an understatement, and they have many hits to their credit. We have the privilege of looking at this duo’s unique musical contributions. While there are many ways to do it, I will accomplish this by looking at where each song was on the Billboard charts, and examining how it defined their success. I’m obviously not going to look at Cher’s solo work, which would be a whole article in of itself. So, without further adieu, here are ten of Sonny and Cher’s greatest songs:
# 10 – “It’s The Little Things.”
We open up our top 10 Sonny & Cher songs list with the grear song “It’s The Little Things,”The single was released in 1967 after Sonny & Cher had already become an established musical act at the time. This song details how it’s often the smaller gestures and actions in a relationship that make all of the difference. This song came from their Good Times Soundtrack album that was based on their film under the same name. This song only peaked at #50 on the Billboard Hot 100. Interestingly enough, it was actually quite a bit more popular on the Canadian charts, where it peaked at number three.
# 9 – “When You Say Love.”
This single was one of Sonny and Cher’s later music efforts, coming out in the summer of 1972. It peaked at #32 on the Billboard Top 100 charts on August 18, 1972. The song came from their Greatest Hits album in 1972. Besides peaking at 32 in the United States, it also had a respectable showing on the U.S. Alternative Chart (2) and the Canadian Chart (16). The song details that you have found your “special someone” when you “say love.”
# 8 – “Just You.”
This single was another example that came out when this duo were just starting out on their musical journey. They actually released this song twice, and the first time it didn’t chart. However, when it was paired with one of their signature hits, it actually peaked at a decent 20th position on October 8, 1965. Cher herself has said that this remains one of her favorite songs, possibly because of its similarities to “Baby I Love You” by the Ronettes and “Paradise.” Several overseas artists have covered the song as well.
# 7 – “But You’re Mine.”
This single also came out when this couple was just beginning their career. It refers to a hippie couple who realize they do not gel with society at large, but they are content regardless simply because they have each other. This single peaked at #15 on November 12, 1965 on the Billboard charts. It also had substantial airplay in the United Kingdom, with a top position of 17.
# 6 – “What Now My Love.”
“What Now My Love” was a single issued on their album entitled, The Wondrous World of Sonny and Cher. The song peaked at #14 on the Billboard chart on March 4, 1966. Interestingly enough, this single actually did better overseas, with a #13 position in the U.K., a #10 ranking in Belgium, and a #7 mark in Canada.
# 5 – “Baby Don’t Go.”
This song actually came right after the duo’s greatest hit, which will be discussing later. “Baby Don’t Go” chronicles an impoverished girl who wants to move to the city so that she can attempt to make it big. She has a love interest who begs her not to go. The song is interesting in that it starts off with a rolling piano sound and the adds in an electric guitar in a later stanza. This song peak at #8 in the U.S. in 1965. It also hit #1 in Canada!
# 4 – “A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done.”
Much like “Baby Don’t Go”, this single also peaked at #8 for Sonny and Cher. Unfortunately, this single would prove to be their last top ten hit as a duo before they broke up and had their subsequent divorce. It had its highest showing on the charts on April 28, 1972, and it was also performed on their T.V. show as well.
# 3 – “All I Ever Need Is You.”
There have been many versions of this song. It was first written by Ray Charles in 1971 and Kenny Rogers did a country version of it in 1979. However, perhaps the most well-known rendition was by Sonny and Cher. Their version also came out in 1971, and it peaked at #7 on the U.S. Billboard Chart. This song also spent the longest time on the charts for the duo.
# 2 – “The Beat Goes On.”
This song appeared on Sonny and Cher’s 1967 album “In Case You’re In Love.” It would eventually enter the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and it peaked at #6 on January 14, 1967. This is one of those songs that has only grown better with time for Sonny and Cher. They sang it during their farewell tour and Cher has performed it even today. The Wrecking Crew contributed the backing music for this song.
# 1 – “I Got You Babe.”
We close out our top 10 Sonny & Cher songs list with Sonny & Cher’s signature song. ” I Got You Babe hit number one on August 19, 1965 and stayed there for three weeks. Interestingly enough, Sonny wrote this song as an answer to Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” tune. He made the lyrics very simple, and the song has been featured in many movies and television shows. It was last performed live by Sonny and Cher in 1987.
Sonny & Cher Songs were released on these original albums
Look at Us (1965)
In Case You’re in Love (1967)
All I Ever Need Is You (1972)