Today is the birthday of the late Sonny Bono (1935-1998). A protege of Phil Spector, he brought his girlfriend Cher into the fold as a backup singer in 1962. They sang on some girl group hits, then went off on their own as a duo, with Sonny as producer and sometime songwriter in 1964. They had some monster hit records (notably “I Got You Babe”  and “And the Beat Goes On” ”, then had a hugely successful comedy variety series from 1971-1974 and 1976-1977 (the couple divorced during that interlude). Sonny had his own comedy variety series in the gap:
Then Sonny went out on his own as an actor (seemingly endless Love Boat episodes) before blowing everybody’s minds by becoming a U.S. Congressman, then blowing everybody’s minds again by skiing into a tree. Now THAT’S a life story.
Everybody always laughed at Sonny – – Cher even laughed at him when delivering his eulogy. It was just one of a couple different ways he resembled Ringo.
His lip syncing is rather off in this tv rendition of his 1965 hit, but that’s okay, those screaming girls clearly can’t hear it.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.