1965 Sonny – Laugh At Me
The name Caesar and Cleo sounds like a terrible movie that ends with an asp, but it was actually the name that Sonny and Cher used when they first started making records for Reprise Records. They recorded several songs for the label, and the label chose to release their remake of an old song by Mickey and Sylvia (Love Is Strange) in September 1964. Before they actually released the record, Sonny and Cher signed a new contract with Reprise using their own names and recorded the song Baby, Don’t Go. Details about the release of the two singles are sketchy, but the releases appear to have been almost simultaneous. Neither record had any success.
After those multiple failures, Sonny and Cher moved to the ATCO label and started recording there, producing their career song I Got You, Babe. That jumped up the charts to #1 in July 1965.
Sonny and Cher had what at the time qualified as a unique look, and Sonny’s long hair and unusual clothing no doubt led to confrontations with people who resisted change in the sixties. As a result, he wrote and recorded a solo protest record, Laugh At Me, that was their next single on the charts released with only Sonny’s name on the label.
Sonny’s protest song may have been the first song with that theme that made the charts, but the topic was revisited in the future by such diverse acts as the Charlie Daniels Band (Uneasy Rider) and Bob Seeger (Turn the Page).
ATCO also released Sonny and Cher’s follow up single, Just You, but that didn’t fare as well as either Sonny’s solo release or their surprise hit: Reprise re-released Baby, Don’t Go as a single, and it hit the charts the same day that Laugh at Me did. The old Reprise single reached #8 on the Hot 100 in 1965 the second time around.
Reissue of their other songs from the Ceaser and Cleo catalog didn’t fare as well.
Sonny released at least eight other singles over the next decade, but the only time he reached the charts again was with The Revolution Kind which stalled at #70 and quickly disappeared.
Sonny and Cher finally had a string of chart hits in the future. No doubt having their own television show off and on from 1971 to 1977 helped a bit.
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