Cherilyn Sarkisian was born in California in 1946. She was 17 when she first met Salvatore "Sonny" Bono, a songwriter and protégé of producer Phil SpectorSonny brought her to Spector, who used her as a backup singer and produced one single by her, a novelty Beatles tribute record called "Ringo I Love You”. They emerged as a duo, initially called Caesar & Cleo

Caesar & Cleo didn't trouble the chart compilers with any degree of success, Sonny & Cher, as they were now known, signed to Reprise Records and released their first single, "Baby Don't Go." The song became a major local hit in Los Angeles, after which the duo jumped from Reprise to the Atco label. In April 1965 their first single, "Just You" was released and rose to number 20 on the charts.  Cher pursued a dual career for the next two years, cutting solo recordings under Sonny's guidance that regularly charted.  A month after "All I Really Want to Do," they released "I Got You Babe," which was one of the biggest-selling and most beloved pop/rock hits of the mid-'60s, and the couple's signature tune across two eras of success. "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" was another hit, a million-seller  that made number three in America and England, and she made the Top Ten once more with her 1967 single "You Better Sit Down .

By the end of the 1960s, Sonny & Cher were no longer selling records. Additionally, they were no longer recording for Atlantic -- though they were still under contract to them -- owing to the label's decision to take Cher's solo recordings out of Sonny's hands and assign a new producer to her. A new contract with Decca Records in 1971, coupled with a chance at a summer replacement gig on the CBS television network, brought them a second chance at success. The tryout on television was a success, as the couple proved to be as funny as they were musically diverse.

"Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," a conscious attempt to emulate Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" (which also recalled Cher's own "Bang Bang") was released late in 1971 and became a number one hit and a million-seller. To some listeners . A follow-up album, featuring her covers of contemporary hits such as "Fire and Rain," sold well also, and her next single, "The Way of Love," a revival of a mid-'60s Kathy Kirby hit, solidified the image of a new, more confident and powerful Cher. Her 1960s music ran the gamut from Spector-style miniature teen pop symphonies to covers of contemporary adult pop ("It's Not Unusual") and folk-rock.

By contrast, her early-'70s material, solo or with Sonny, had a more adult point of view and personality.. She embarked on an acting career, even as she continued to make headlines for her romantic exploits, including an affair with (and two marriages to) Gregg Allman. She became a far better actress than she was a singer, first revealed in Mike Nichols' Silkwood (1983), then in Peter Bogdanovich's Mask (1985) and George Miller's The Witches of Eastwick (1987). Her acting peers caught on to the worth of her work in time for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Norman Jewison's 1987 romantic comedy Moonstruck.

In the 80s Cher has been known more for her acting than for her music, although she has continued to record for numerous labels, including Columbia, and in 1998 scored an international chart-topping smash with the club-friendly single "Believe." The year 2001 brought Living Proof, the equally dance-oriented follow-up to the transformative Believe, and by 2005 she had completed the three-year, high-grossing Farewell. In 2010 she starred in the musical Burlesque, and "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from the movie's soundtrack went on to win a Golden Globe Award. Cher's appearance in the 2018 musical film Mama Mia! Here We Go Again inspired her to record an album of ABBA cover songs called “Dancing Queen” in September of that year.