Machado Cicala/Warner Bros.
Cher is back with a new album Friday, a collection of ABBA covers titled Dancing Queen.
Music’s ultimate survivor is the only artist in history to score a No. 1 single on a Billboard chart in each of the past six decades, nailing that record with the 2011 dance hit “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me."
And so, it seems, we haven't.
Her 26th studio album — and her first since 2013’s Closer to the Truth — was inspired by this year’s ABBA-centric film musical Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, featuring Cher's scene-stealing cameo as glam granny Ruby.
The album was an unexpected project that cropped up during an already busy season. She’s touring Australia in October, returns to her residency at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas in November and has 2019 tour dates booked through May. She’s also co-producing The Cher Show, a Broadway jukebox musical starring three actresses as Cher, set to open Dec. 3 at the Neil Simon Theatre. And then there’s her brassy, emoji-littered, politically barbed Twitter platform, an ever-humming feed for 3.5 million followers.
Over the summer, she tweeted the journey of making Dancing Queen. July 26: “In studio again today … I’m too old for this.” It doesn’t show. Cher, at 72, has lost none of the strength or range in her husky contralto. Her voice is especially lovely and vulnerable on the restrained “Chiquitita,” the melancholy “One of Us” and the lively “The Name of the Game.”
Her famous use of processed vocals is in heavy supply, but more for effect than necessity. She brings a contemporary dance-club sizzle to the Swedish group’s hits, especially “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!,” “SOS” and “Dancing Queen."
But can Cher rack up another chart-topper?
The Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again soundtrack’s “Fernando” and Dancing Queen’s first two released tracks have yet to crack the top 10 of any chart, but it’s too early to dismiss Cher’s chances. Her resume, boasting Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Golden Globe awards, certainly doesn’t need further embellishments. (On Dec. 2, she can add Kennedy Center Honoree to the list.)
Cher has sold 100 million records worldwide and released 80 singles, 51 of which charted on Billboard’s Hot 100, the main pop chart. She had four No. 1 singles and 22 top-40 singles in that ranking. Including other charts like dance and adult contemporary, she’s had 33 top-10 hits.
Her track record is good, but she wasn’t always on top. After “Dark Lady” reached the Hot 100 summit in 1974, 24 years passed before Cher returned to No. 1 with “Believe” in 1998. That’s the longest stretch between chart-topping hits in Billboard history.
Here’s a look at Cher's high notes.
"I Got You Babe,” 1965. The first single from Sonny & Cher’s debut album Look at Us spent three weeks atop the Hot 100 and sold one million copies. In 1993, Cher revived it as a cover with MTV’s animated Beavis and Butt-Head for their double-platinum comedy album.
"Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” 1971. The title track from her seventh studio album was Cher’s first No. 1 record as a solo artist. Album producer Snuff Garrett asked songwriter Bob Stone to modify the original title, “Gypsies, Tramps and White Trash."
"Half-Breed,” 1973. The title track from Cher’s 10th studio album rode the top of the Hot 100 for two weeks. The song details the anguish and hurdles faced by a woman of mixed race — white and Cherokee. The song, along with her dark complexion and penchant for feather headdresses, led many to believe Cher was Native American. Her father was Armenian-American.
"Dark Lady,” 1974. Another title track, this one from her 11th studio album, generated Cher’s third solo No. 1. The murder ballad about a New Orleans fortune-teller was written by Johnny Durrill, keyboard player for The Ventures.
"After All,” 1989. Cher’s duet with Peter Cetera (original singer for the rock group Chicago) appeared on her 19th studio album Heart of Stone and shot to No. 1 on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart. It was the theme for the film Chances Are and was nominated for a 1989 best-original-song Oscar.
"If I Could Turn Back Time,” 1989. Also from the multi-platinum Heart of Stone, this Diane Warren composition topped the adult contemporary chart. It’s best remembered for its provocative video shot aboard the battleship USS Missouri, where Cher strutted in a bottom-baring swimsuit and fishnet body stocking. MTV banned the clip.
"Believe,” 1998. The title track from her 22nd studio album was among the first mainstream pop songs to feature processed vocals, now a Cher hallmark. The club sensation topped the Hot 100 (at 52, she became the oldest female artist to do so) and dance charts and sold more than 11 million copies globally.
"Song for the Lonely,” 2002. The tune from her 24th studio album, Living Proof, was recorded in the summer of 2001. It was intended as a love song, but Cher said its meaning and mood changed after the Sept. 11 attacks, and she dedicated it to the people of New York. It reached No. 1 on the dance club songs chart.
"Woman’s World,” 2013. The tune from her 25th studio album, Closer to the Truth, gave Cher her eighth No. 1 track on the dance club songs chart. After an unfinished version of the song leaked online, “Woman’s World” was released early for streaming in November 2012 as a Thanksgiving gift to fans. Its official release followed seven months later, three months ahead of the album.