Cherilyn Sarkisian, universally known as Cher, turns 71 today. A successful singer and actress for over 50 years, she began her career when she dropped out of high school at 16. She met singer and songwriter Sonny Bono shortly thereafter; she had her first hits both as half of Sonny & Cher (“I Got You Babe”) and as a solo performer (“Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”) before she turned 20.
Cher’s singing career has ebbed and flowed, as you’d expect given its longevity. She had a trio of #1 hits in the early seventies, and after a dry spell, came back with several Top Ten singles in the late eighties. After another slow period, she came back in 1998 with a huge hit that brought her her only Grammy.