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CHER: Back To The Dance Floor!

By Dean Ferguson & Johnny Lauderdale Danza



She met with some initial resistance, however, when she tried getting the boys to experiment with her own vocal tracks in the same way. Finally, they relented. “Mark got busy (in the studio) and first he added the compression to the first part of the vocal so that it sounds kind of like its coming out of an old radio speaker. And then we started screwing around with the pitch machine (for that ‘fluttering’ vocal effect). We put that on, looked at each other and said, ‘That’s it!”

Cher knew instantly that she had nailed it. “From that moment on, it was my favorite song. I said ‘I’m calling the album Believe, and “Believe” is going to be the first single.” Still, others involved needed some convincing. Rob Dickens, for one, tried his best to dissuade her, arguing that to him it just didn’t sound like a Cher record. “Rob tried to talk me out of using ‘that weird thing’ on my voice, and finally we all had a big meeting.” Cher sat down with with everyone involved in the project and said, “Alright, you guys. I understand what you’re saying…I understand that at first it doesn’t sound like me--but eventually it does—and, if you want to change the mechanical stuff…I want you to know that it will be over my dead body’. We never talked about it again.”

Suffice it to say the ‘mechanical stuff’ stayed, and last month the single debuted at #1 on the UK pop chart. “It had been 33 years since the last time that had happened to me (with Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” in 1965)…. I was pretty excited. We were at a Blockbuster in Italy when we heard”. Her manager, Billy Sammeth, was waiting in the car when Cher got the call on her cell phone. “I was banging on the door, going ‘We’re #1! We’re #1!’ but he couldn’t hear me.” She continues, saying that he just went ‘yeah-yeah-great’, but still had no idea what she was trying to tell him. “Then he understood, and we were all jumping around. The people around us probably thought we were insane…but eventually they understood what we were talking about. Then everyone was jumping around. It was great.”

With “Strong Enough” already locked up as the next UK single, we asked again what she thought the next American single might be. Cher said that it might be “Dov’e L’amore”. Interestingly, “Dov’e L’amore” is a Spanish song with Italian lyrics, and we asked Cher how that came to be. “When the boys wrote “Dov’e”, there was an Italian restaurant next door---there weren’t any Spanish restaurants around---and they just kept running to the guy in the restaurant who spoke Italian and said ‘tell me how to say this’, and ‘how do you say that?’, and that’s how they wrote it.” She laughs, continuing. “And I love the Gypsy Kings, so we got one of the Gypsy Kings to do the guitar work.” We then asked if what we’d heard about Madonna’s fondness for the track was true. “When Madonna heard the song, she called Liz (Rosenberg, of Warner Brothers-US) and then Liz called me. She said that Madonna insisted that “Dov’e” had to be the next single and that, if it was, she wanted to direct the video.” Other possibilities include “All Or Nothing” (“I really love that song”), “Taxi Taxi” (a thumping, Chicago-styled house track produced by Todd Terry), and the set’s lone Junior Vasquez contribution, “The Power” (“It’s kind of a strange song, but I really like it. There’s just something about it…”).

The new album also contains a reworked version of her 1989 hit “We All Sleep Alone”, and we were curious as to why she chose to revisit that particular track. “Because (at first) they were talking about re-doing ‘Bang Bang”, and I was just soooo over ‘Bang Bang’---I mean, I’d just done it and done it (so many times) that I didn’t want to do it again.” Then her hairdresser suggested reworking “We All Sleep Alone” into a dance song and she liked the idea. “I sent it to Todd (Terry), and he said, ‘oh yeah, I’d much rather do that…and so we did it.”

The original version of “We All Sleep Alone” comes from the period in her recording career that Cher says, prior to now, had always been especially significant to her. We asked her about that period, her Geffen label ‘hit years’, and specifically 1989 to 1992. “It was my favorite time as a singles artist, because I was getting to do songs that I really loved…. songs that really represented me, and they were popular!

I loved ‘I Found Someone’, ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’, ‘Main Man’…. It was really an exciting time for me. I loved working with Jon (Bon Jovi) and Richie (Sambora), and I loved getting back into the music business after so long.”

Although this period produced more consecutive Billboard Top 40 hits than any other in her career, Cher initially resisted going back into the studio. She eventually succumbed however, to the gentle-but-persistent pressure of producer John Koladner and her long-time friend David Geffen.

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