Mono Mondays: Sonny & Cher, Look at Us
This week’s Mono Monday release is the debut album from a husband and wife team who made a major mark on the pop charts in the ‘60s before taking on television in the ‘70s and pulling in big numbers with their Comedy Hour.
Salvatore Philip Bono and Cherilyn Sarkisian met in a Los Angeles coffee shop in 1962 when he was working for Phil Spector and she was…uh, well, frankly, she was still in high school, because she was only 16, whereas he was 27. However old they were, though, they clearly had chemistry, and their eventual coupling in their personal lives burgeoned into a professional relationship as well, with Sonny taking what he’d learned from Spector and combining it with his own creativity to record a few singles with Cher for Reprise Records under the name “Caesar and Cleo.” It wasn’t until 1964, however, that they started going by their own names, which is also when they first began to gain a bit of buzz with their single “Baby Don’t Go,” setting things in motion for the success that the summer of ’65 would bring.
Everyone already knows the signature track from Look at Us – “I Got You Babe,” which kicks off the proceedings – but the rest of the album features a number of other instantly-familiar songs, even if your familiarity with them likely comes via other people’s versions of them: during the course of the album, Sonny & Cher tackle “Unchained Melody” (The Righteous Brothers), “Then He Kissed Me” (The Crystals), “500 Miles” (Peter, Paul & Mary), “Let It Be Me” (The Everly Brothers), “You Don’t Love Me” (Willie Cobbs), and “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (The Miracles). Beyond that, however, Bono gets the opportunity to further prove his songwriting acumen with “Sing C’est la Vie,” which he co-wrote with Charles Green and Brian Stone, as well as solo compositions “It’s Gonna Rain” and “Just You.” Indeed, although it’s often forgotten because “I Got You Babe” was such a smash, “Just You” provided Sonny & Cher with the album’s second top-20 hit.
It’s hard to argue against the premise that Look at Us is all downhill after its first song, but for those interested in hearing more of Sonny & Cher than just the singles, there’s no better place to start than the first album.