Thursday, April 14, 2011

On my turntable: Sonny Bono - Inner Views

Man oh man do I dig this album. 

Inner Views (1967) was Sonny's one and only solo LP.  Sonny & Cher enjoyed enormous success in 1965 with their breakthrough hit "I Got You Babe", but by 1967 their fortunes had already started waning. '67 was the year of the 'Summer of Love' and the explosion of a whole counter-culture of turned-on kids who rejected the mainstream.  'Squares' included folks like their parents, authority figures and, unfortunately, Sonny & Cher. 

Even though Sonny & Cher made some fantastically groovy records, they did not identify as part of the new drug culture, which put them on the outside. Despite a welcomed return to the top 10 in January '67 with "The Beat Goes On", Sonny & Cher's artistic ventures for the remainder of the year (and decade) flopped.  

Released in November, 1967, Inner Views was inconsistent and scattered, yet wildly fearless and often brilliant. The album consists of only five songs, a couple of which ("I Would Marry You Today", "My Best Friend's Girl is Out of Sight") follow the standard Sonny & Cher hit single formula. The remaining three songs are pretty far out, especially "I Just Sit There", a 12-minute freakout that is musically hip, but with lyrics that borderline on ridiculous (and not in a good way):
Ring around the rosey
Your Daddy's getting nosey
Your Mother's cookin' sturgeon
Your Sister's still a virgin.
Um, what? The album closes with the equally bizarre "Pammie's on a Bummer", a psychedelic trip with anti-drug lyrics (and as such, squaresville, man). The LP's back cover features the album's lyrics printed over a pic of Sonny's profile (a la Sgt. Pepper). Perhaps record buyers, upon seeing these lyrics, were convinced that Sonny was simply not tuned-in enough for their rapidly shifting musical tastes.  It makes sense -- how could Sonny possibly compete with the likes of Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and the Grateful Dead?  Still, I give the guy huge props for creating such an interesting album that will remain a fascinating part of Sonny & Cher's history.

1 comment:

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