There will only be one Cher. The eternal pop mother is pushing 70 and she’s still slaying harder than any diva queen in the game. From her Twitter that keeps us LOLing to her latest tour Dressed to Kill (which she cut short due to illness, but plans on resuming ASAP), here are 10 things all Ariana Grande-loving millennials need to know about Cher. Class is in session.
She’s the original original pop star — yes, even before Madonna.
If Madge is the Queen of Pop, then Cher is the undisputed Goddess. Her first album All I Really Want to Do debuted in 1965, more than 15 years before Madonna and her ’80s peers like Cyndi Lauper, Janet Jackson, and Paula Abdul. Cher’s theatrical videos, sexual exploration, and controversial performance style was unprecedented in the pop space at the time. By default, she quite literally laid the groundwork for Madge and Jackson to make paths for Britney Spears, Beyoncé, and today’s pop stars.
She was doing crazy #ARTPOP fashion long before Lady Gaga.Getty Images
While Gaga is seen as the singer with the wildest style antics, Cher did it first. Check out this beyond headpiece and black ensemble she sported to the 1986 Academy Awards — four days before Gaga was even born. (In fact, Mother Monster wore a very similar outfit just two years ago. An homage to the “Woman’s World” singer, perhaps?) Check out some of her most outrageous looks here.
She made Auto-Tune cool.
In 1998, Cher released “Believe,” arguably her most successful single to date. However, in many parts of the song, she doesn’t sound like Cher. Instead, listeners hear an almost robotic wave of synths and distorted vocals created by a then-unknown tool called Auto-Tune. The massive success of the track led to other artists like Madonna and Spears to use Auto-Tune in their songs. Critics soon dubbed the tool “the Cher Effect” because of “Believe’s” impact. (T-Pain owes Cher a pretty big thank you card, tbh.)
She’s one of the few female musicians who can act with the best of ’em.
Meryl Streep approves. Cher has 12 “fresh” films on Rotten Tomatoes, more than any of her pop peers. Her best work includes Silkwood (1983), Mask (1985), and Moonstruck (1987), which garnered her the Academy Award for Best Actress. In the video above, you can see Streep — who was nominated the same year for Ironweed — stand up and cheer for Cher when she wins the award. When you’ve got the ultimate thespian’s approval, you’re doing pretty damn good.
Her current pop songs rival even the catchiest Spears tracks.
Even though Cher’s songs don’t have the impact they once did, they’re just as kitschy and fun as any Katy Perry or Spears track on the radio. 2013’s “Woman’s World” is a throbbing slice of Euro-fluff with disco-ready bridges and a bombastic chorus. “Take It Like a Man’s” defiant lyrics and electro-tinged beat fits perfectly in today’s mainstream scope. Yes, “Believe” and “Song for the Lonely” are timeless classics, but Cher’s new tracks are worth a listen.
Her genre variation is unreal.
From the dance-tastic coos of her latest efforts like Living Proof (2001) and Closer to the Truth (2013) to the folk-rock callings of her ’60s records, Cher has successfully bent genres more dramatically than her peers. While Madonna and Taylor Swift have explored genres within their sonic space, Cher isn’t afraid to abandon one style in favor of something fresh. (1969’s blue-eyed soul-inspired 3614 Jackson Highway doesn’t even sound like Believe, which is very bold.)
She’s the only artist to have a No.1 Billboard song in each of the past six decades.
If you thought Cher was irrelevant, think again. With her 2010 single “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club chart, Cher cemented 60 years of successful singles. We’re still waiting for someone else to do this.
She’s slaying our lives on Twitter. (So follow her!)
Heard Madonna Fell On Stage This is Something WE ALL DREAD‼️ “MADGE, I GIVE U PROPS,U R a CHAMP 4 FINISHING YOUR SONG‼️I HOPE U R UNHURT
— Cher (@cher) February 26, 2015
Rihanna and Selena Gomez may have more followers, but nobody dominates the hilarious tweets contest more than Cher. Her extreme punctuation, irreverent phrases, and philosophical questions are almost as legendary as her music. Check out these A+ tweets:
Just cause i cant spell or know Grammar doesn't mean i don't know Many things! HISTORY, Ancient Religion,War,Could go on,but id b a pain !
— Cher (@cher) September 5, 2012
Can anyone c me
— Cher (@cher) September 15, 2012
Whats going on with mycareer
— Cher (@cher) August 18, 2012
Her feminism game is just as strong as Beyoncé’s, if not more.
Ms. magazine called Cher an “authentic feminist hero” in the ’80s, and it couldn’t be more accurate. Her boundary-pushing style in the ’70s was radical for females at the time, and she’s continued her women’s rights advocacy into her ’60s. Who can forget her hilarious 2012 PSA with Kathy Griffin called “Don’t Let Mitt [Romney] Turn Back Time on Women’s Rights?”
She’s not going anywhere. (Thank
After successfully beating a potentially fatal viral infection (“I’m feeling great,” she told Closer magazine), we’re expecting big things from Cher. She’s talked about resuming her Dressed to Kill tour in 2015, which received rave reviews from critics. Plus, there may or may not be a Cher-inspired Broadway musical in the works…starring Cher herself. (Though this hasn’t been 100 percent confirmed). Can your hearts take it? With these exciting projects on the horizon, it looks like Cher isn’t quite ready to say farewell just yet.