Saturday, March 18, 2023

"Just Like Jesse James" by Cher

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  4078
Date:  10/21/1989
Debut:  90
Peak:  8
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Cher earned her biggest hit of the 80s with the #3 gold selling "If I Could Turn Back Time." It was the second single issued out from her nineteenth studio album Heart of Stone. For a follow up, this next track was pushed out. It would do well making the Pop Top 10 while also getting to #9 AC. The album's title track would be released as the fourth single and it would get a little attention reaching #20 Pop/#30 AC. Although the album reached its #10 peak just a week before "Just Like Jesse James" debuted on the Pop chart, the song helped extend the sales life of the LP and by November it would reach the platinum mark. By the summer of '90 it would go double platinum (and eventually triple platinum in '98). It would remain Cher's biggest selling studio album until her 1998 #4 smash Believe, which went quad platinum.

ReduxReview:  Despite being a Top 10 hit, this is a tune that Cher has mentioned that she never really liked. Still, I bet she enjoyed the extra attention and album sales it generated. This country-tinged rock track written by Desmond Child and Diane Warren wouldn't have been out of place on a Bon Jovi album. That's not really surprising since co-writer and producer Child had worked with that band (and oddly, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora co-wrote another track on Cher's album with Child and Warren). It was a good vehicle for Cher and was the obvious follow up track. Although it did quite well, the hit is one that hasn't had much of a life after its time on the chart. Still, it's was a big ballsy tune with another solid performance from Cher that would wrap up the decade for the legend. I have to share that when I saw Cher in concert in 2014, I happened to sit next to a couple who were at least in their 70s. They needed help to their seats and were all dressed up. Pat Benatar spectacularly opened the show and at the intermission I asked the lady next to me if she was enjoying the show. She said yes and then I asked her what brought her out to see Cher and I'll never forget her response. She said, "oh honey, there is only one Cher!" Damn right!

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Cher's 80s comeback would taper off as the 90s began. Her biggest hit for the majority of the decade was the #17 "Love and Understanding," which was from her gold selling '91 album Love Hurts (#48). But in true Cher form, she would reinvent herself yet again and in 1998 released the hugely successful dance single "Believe." It would become the biggest single of Cher's solo career spending four weeks at #1 in 1999 and going platinum. It would also be the #1 year-end single for 1999. The song set a few records for Cher including being the oldest female to reach #1 on the Pop chart (she was 52 at the time). Cher still holds that record for an initial release of a single. However, when Mariah Carey's 1994 holiday chestnut "All I Want for Christmas Is You" finally got to #1 in 2022, Carey was 53, so technically she has the record as the oldest female to have a #1 single. However, Cher still holds the record for the longest gap between #1 hits (between 1974's "Dark Lady" and "Believe"). The Believe LP would earn Cher her first Grammy (for Best Dance Recording). Cher's next album, '91's Living Proof, would reach #6 and go gold thanks in part to three #1s on the Dance chart. After that, Cher would more or less step away from music for a while. She would still tour, do a Vegas residency, win an Emmy, make TV appearances, and do a couple of films including 2010's Burlesque. She would return to music in 2013 with the LP Closer to the Truth (#3). It would spawn another Dance #1 plus a pair of #2s. Then after appearing in the 2018 movie musical sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Cher would release an ABBA cover album titled Dancing Queen (#3). Also in 2018, Cher received the Kennedy Center Honors award.


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