Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Cher 'Walking In Memphis'

Chart Peak: 11


Hmm... if you want a tenous connection, she used to be married to somebody called Bono.
For the first few seconds, you get exactly what you're expecting: a straight and rather pointless cover of Marc Cohn's 1991 hit. Then at 0:38 the junglist beats kick in... OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but the most notable thing about Cher's first solo Now appearance is the attempt to make it sound more up-to-date than the original, for all that Cher is the more experienced act. As the sleeve note points out it was thirty years since she had her first solo hit with 'All I Really Want To Do (Marc Cohn would have been about six years old then), but then again it's this sort of attempt to chase the contemporary that has made her career so long lasting: certainly when I first encountered her during her first run of hits in the 1980s it didn't even cross my mind that she might have had hits before I was born.

The other remarkable thing about this version is the changes of gender. "I'm as blue as a girl can be" is only logical, of course, but I'm not so sure why "Muriel plays piano..." has to turn into a man called Gabriel, especially if I'm correct in recalling that Muriel was a real person. Either way, insistently giving the elderly pianist the opposite gender to the singer adds an implication that I don't really think was ever intended.
Nonetheless, whilst her greater name recognition presumably helped this chart higher than the original over here, it seems largely forgotten now. I'd say it hadn't aged well, except that I didn't like it at the time either. I can't say I'm surprised they didn't even bother to release the single in America.

Also appearing on: Now 30 (with Chrissie Hynde and Neneh Cherry), 33, 42
Available on: The Very Best of Cher

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