Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves by Cher

Song: Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves

Artist: Cher

Album: Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves, originally released as Cher (1971)

Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves was a huge hit in the early '70's but was later panned as nothing more than silly shock-pop (usually called "schlock"). Now, critics call it a classic. The lyrics, about a child's life in a traveling gypsy show, were unusual to say the least, but Cher delivered them with the conviction for which she is known.

One of the verses implies that the 16 year old protagonist of the song is seduced by a 21 year old whom the group had picked up "just south of Mobile." By today's standards, the song has little to shock.

Cher had signed on for some solo recordings for Kapp records (later MCA) even while Sonny and Cher were still together. Her first single under the label was called Classified 1A, released in 1971. About a wounded Vietnam soldier calling out to his beloved while dying, the song was actually "shocking" enough to keep radio stations from playing it, and it failed to make the charts.

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, written by Robert Stone, was the first Kapp song that Cher recorded with producer Tommy 'Snuff' Garret. The original title was actually Gypsies, Tramps, and White Trash. Snuff ( wisely, it would seem) had the title and lyrics changed. The two recorded another nine tracks in 1971, which became the first record album Cher did for Kapp records. The album was not a chart topper, but it did go Gold.

The record also includes a cover of James Taylor's Fire & Rain and He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, which was originally recorded by Kelly Gordon in 1969, and then became a big hit for the Hollies as the end of that year, and then a year later by Neil Diamond. The Hollie's version was featured in the Ben Stiller film, Zoolander.

Another Cher classic appears on the album: The Way of Love, which was originally a French song written Jack Diéval with lyrics by Michel Rivgauche, before being recorded in English as a single but UK singer Kathy Kirby.

The album got plenty of radio play, and was even performed on the Sonny & Cher Comedy hour. It sold 1.816 million copies in America, certified platinum. Worldwide, it has sold over 4 million copies. The title song went to number 1 on the U.S. charts and 4 on the U.K. charts, and the single went gold. It became Kapp records biggest selling single, and Cher received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, 1971.

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