|Single by Cher|
|from the album Half-Breed|
|Released||July 23, 1973|
|Writer(s)||Al Capps; Mary Dean|
|Cher singles chronology|
"Half-Breed" is a 1973 song recorded by American singer-actress Cher with instrumental backing by L.A. sessions musicians from the Wrecking Crew. Recorded May 21,1973 at Larrabee Sound in Los Angeles, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 89 on August 4, 1973, and on October 6, 1973, it became Cher's second U.S. solo #1 hit. The single was certified Gold in the US for the sales of over 1 million copies.
Song information and story
It was the first international release from Cher's album Half-Breed. It was meant to be sold to the American market. It tells the story of a young woman who is half white and half Cherokee and describes the troubles faced by the main character. The song offers a scenario in which whites often called her "Indian squaw" and Native Americans never accepted her as one of their own, telling her that she was "white by law".
In 1973, "Half-Breed" topped the United States Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, becoming Cher's second solo and third overall #1 hit, and second Gold certified solo single for the sales of over 1,000,000 copies. It was a #1 hit in Canada and New Zealand, and a Top 10 hit in Australia and Norway respectively.
Critical reception and composition
Peter Fawthrop wrote that this song has a jingling rhythm and that it is one of the more lighthearted songs on the album. Rolling Stone recommended it and described Cher's vocals as frantic and the production as supremely commercial.
Cher performed the song on the following concert tours:
- Do You Believe? Tour (1999–2000)
- The Farewell Tour (2002–2005)
- Cher at the Colosseum (2008–2011)
- Dressed to Kill Tour (2014)
The video for "Half-Breed" is a recorded performance of the song on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour in 1973. Cher is on a horse while singing in front of a white screen. Props symbolizing Native America were used—wood carvings, fire, and costumes.
In 2002, a special remix medley was created by Dan-O-Rama for a video montage that was used in Cher's Living Proof: The Farewell Tour. The medley contains the videos of "All I Really Want to Do", "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves", "Half-Breed", and "Dark Lady".
Charts and certifications
In popular culture
- An African-American female impersonator performs the song onstage in the 1999 film Flawless.
- The song appeared in the 2005 film Lords of Dogtown.
- In 2012, the character Shania Clemmons of The New Normal TV series sang this song during a talent show while impersonating Cher.
- Swedish singers Björn Skifs & Blåblus (Blue Swede) made one of the first covers in 1973. It appeared on their album Pinewood Rally and a compilation entitled Björns Bästa (Bjorn's Best).
- German singer Joy Fleming recorded a German-language version "Halbblut" as a single in 1973. It peaked in the West German charts at no. 38 in February 1974.
- Orchestra leader Ray Conniff recorded it with his singers in November 1973. It remained unissued until 2009 when it appeared on Ray Conniff: The Singles Collection, Volume 3.
- In 1990 it was covered by Shania Twain but it was not released until 2001 on her album The Complete Limelight Sessions.
- It was covered by alternative rock band House of Large Sizes.
- Electronica artist Peaches covered it for youth radio station Triple J's "Like a Version" segment.
- RuPaul covered "Half-Breed" on The RuPaul Show.
- Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew. St. Martin’s Griffin. pp. 261–263. ISBN 978-1-250-03046-7.
- "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- Review by P. Fawthrop of Allmusic Retrieved 14 October 2013
- Review by Paul Gambaccini of Rolling Stone Retrieved October 14, 2013
- Fernando Salaverri (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
- "Cash Box 100 Singles chart
- RPM chart archives at Collections Canada for the Cher single Half-Breed.
- "Billboard Top 100 - 1973". Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- "American single certifications – Cher – Half-Breed". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
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