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In Defense of Cher

September 01, 2002

Robert Hilburn's Perspective on Cher amounts to hot air and would be nullified by the vast majority of those in attendance at her farewell show at Staples ("Written Off ... Unfairly?," Aug. 18). An air of excitement, joy and hope filled the venue as thousands jumped to their feet as the very professional production showed us a run-through of a great entertainer's long career.

Maybe she is not Streisand, but the girl entertains and adapts to the times as few can do. If Hilburn got excited during only one song, he probably should have skipped the show and let another person experience the totally satisfying stage show.

For a critic, and a longtime one at that, a little more versatility and appreciation of more than just great voices might serve him and the public better.

RONALD L. WALLACE

Sherman Oaks

*

In Cher's defense, because she doesn't usually write or play an instrument, she's always been at the mercy of the record label and producer to pick her material and point her in a direction. Hopefully, one that sells records. Hilburn did say that Phil Spector "gave it a go" and nobody cared. I remember the same thing happened to Bobby Darin, in that he tried to make the transition with "If I Were a Carpenter." The younger people to whom he was trying to appeal didn't really accept him, and his fan base wanted to hear "Mack the Knife." How's this for an idea: Why not have Chrissie Hynde produce the next Cher album?

JAMES HOLVAY

Woodland Hills

*

Robert Hilburn must be having a midlife crisis. Either that or he had a bad seat at Staples Center, bad day, bad week or whatever.

That was about the fifth time I'd seen Cher in concert, and you know she's still great. Old stuff and new, all of it is great.

You could never compare Cher to our other diva, Chrissie Hynde. Chrissie has her own style and Cher too. The Pretenders and Chrissie were fine for their length of time, but Cher has been around way longer--an icon.

Chrissie has her own style of rock, especially when you go back to the "Chain Gang" music video; she was very courageous to show herself pregnant. As for Cher, back in the day you could say it was soft rock 'n' roll, which led to bigger and better things. Hilburn didn't comment once on her acting abilities. She didn't win an Academy Award for the heck of it.

Cher is an awesome singer, great actress and a legend. Hilburn must not have felt the love in her hometown court. It appears he was just reaching for some statement to make more than 12 days after the fact.

D. ADRANDE

Whittier

*

I don't buy Hilburn's thesis that Cher was "Written Off ... Unfairly." I always felt that Sonny was the real talent.

As for Chrissie Hynde's early inspiration, look no further than another written-off pop star, England's Helen Shapiro, whose 1965 recording of "You Won't Come Home" was a blueprint for the Pretenders' sound 20 years later.

Shapiro could actually sing. The only thing Cher's off-key croaking ever inspired was, perhaps, a pond of frogs.

JIM DAWSON

Hollywood

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