The only Cher collection to contain every one of her #1 hits! And those were Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves; Half-Breed; Dark Lady; Believe , and (with Sonny) I Got You Babe , plus this 21-track beauty boasts such smashes as The Beat Goes On; Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down); If I Could Turn Back Time; Just Like Jesse James; All I Really Want to Do , and more. The one to have!
Given a five-decade career that's been one long series of critical write-offs and subsequent comeback triumphs, it's tempting to argue that the natural elements are actually earth, wind, fire, water--and Cher
. Anchored by her 1998 international mega-success "Believe" (the song that made Cher the oldest woman to score a chart topper) and its equally club-savvy contemporary collaborations with producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawlings, "Song for the Lonely" and "A Different Kind of Love Song," this 21-track anthology is indeed the first to contain all her No. 1 hits, stretching back to her epochal 1965 duet with Sonny Bono on the faux-Dylan
"I Got You Babe." And if it shortchanges her Phil Spector
-rooted origins and a true perspective on her '60s and '70s career (though kitsch classic chart toppers "Dark Lady," "Half-Breed," and "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" are all here) to focus on her string of '80s and '90s pop successes in service of writers like Diane Warren ("If I Could Turn Back Time") and Desmond Child ("Just Like Jesse James"), it's good to remember that, according to the pop soothsayers, none of them were even supposed to happen, let alone make her an icon for a whole new generation. It's a tribute to sheer, fashion-defying willpower--and as unlikely an argument for the notion of "the singer, not the song" as one is likely to find. --Jerry McCulley