Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Have A Dream: Dream Baby

Cherilyn: Dream Baby

(Out of print)

Cherilyn, who released her single “Dream Baby” in late 1964, would very soon find greater and lasting fame going by the shortened moniker Cher, initially as part of a duo with Sonny Bono, who wrote and produced “Dream Baby” for her.

It was not Cher’s first record: first there was the novelty single “I Love You, Ringo”, released as Bonnie Jo Mason. That was not her first appearance on record either: with Sonny Bono, who worked for Phil Spector, she sang backing vocals on classics such as The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby”, The Chiffons’ “Da Doo Ron Ron” and the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” (which was recorded around the time “Dream Baby” was released).

“Dream Baby” was arranged by 24-year-old Gene Page, who would go on to create gorgeous arrangements for the likes of Barry White, Roberta Flack and George Benson. It flopped, as had the Spector-produced “I Love You, Ringo” (so did her first outing with the 11-years-older Sonny, released around the same time under the ghastly moniker Caesar & Cleo). But “Dream Baby” received airplay in Los Angeles, encouraging Salvatore Bono and Cherilyn Sarkasian to persevere with their dream of stardom as recording artists.

Things did move rapidly in those days. The paean to Ringo was released on 4 March 1964. Within a year and a few months – via “Dream Baby”, the Caesar & Cleo thing, backing vocals and a change of record labels – Sonny & Cher had their breakthrough with “I Got You Babe”, on Frank Sinatra’s Reprise label. By October, Cher released first solo album, All I Really Want To Do. It included “Dream Baby”, but I don’t know whether she re-recorded it for that album – given the sloppy production of the single, I do hope so.

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