Prisoner (Cher album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Prisoner (album).jpg
Studio album by Cher
Released October 22, 1979
Recorded 1979
Studio Studio 55, Los Angeles, California
Length 37:13
Label Casablanca
Producer Bob Esty
Cher chronology
Take Me Home
(1979)Take Me Home1979
Black Rose
(1980)Black Rose1980
Singles from Prisoner
  1. "Hell On Wheels"
    Released: October 15, 1979
  2. "Holdin' Out For Love"
    Released: 1979
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 1.5/5 stars[1]

Prisoner is the 16th studio album by American singer-actress Cher, released on October 22, 1979 by Casablanca Records. The album was a commercial failure and failed to chart. "Hell on Wheels" was released as the lead single which had a moderate success, peaking at number fifty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100.

Album information[edit]

Prisoner (initially planned to be released under the title Mirror Image) was Cher's second album of 1979, and was released nine months after Take Me Home.

This was the last album of Cher's to date to be produced by Bob Esty, with Esty and Michelle Aller contributing several of the songs. Compared to the disco style of Take Me Home, Prisoner featured a relatively new wave sound. Prisoner also marked the first time that Cher released an album which featured songs that were written exclusively for her.[2]

The producer wanted to take advantage of Cher's image and the media obsession with her. On the front cover of the album, she appears to be completely naked, with long hair draped to cover her breasts. She is wrapped in chains and wearing a wide metal collar. Her wrists and ankles are tightly shackled with wide metal bands. The cover spurred controversy among some women's rights groups for her perceived "sex slave" image.[3]

Originally the album was planned to be titled Mirror Image, pointing out Cher's known brave side and her newly found 'wild disco' side. Since Cher wasn't really into the album (she wanted to "rock out") she kept on refusing songs on one hand and adding songs on the other hand. "Boys & Girls", a more rock-based song was added by Cher. Since there was nothing left from the album's original plan, the title was changed into Prisoner before release.[4]

Prisoner has been released on CD together with the first Casablanca Records album Take Me Home, in a CD entitled, The Casablanca Years. This CD unites all the tracks from both albums, merging them onto one single CD.


To promote the release of the album, the song "Shoppin'" was performed in an American television show. Also the song "Holdin' Out For Love" was performed. She recorded also an exclusive show called Cher...and Other Fantasies, featuring sketches, the unreleased tracks "Like a Number", a new version of "More than You Know" and the song "Ain't Nobody's Business" which was performed in the Take Me Home Tour.


"Hell on Wheels", the lead single from the album reached only number fifty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100. To promote the single a video was filmed. In it, Cher was featured wearing roller skates being followed by some truckers. The song was also included in the original soundtrack to the film, Roller Boogie.

"Holdin' Out For Love" was released in Japan as a promotional single, and in the UK as a commercial 7", which failed to chart.


Just prior to its release, Casablanca ran a full-page ad on Billboard magazine's inside back cover that duplicated Prisoner's album cover art. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the color tinting such that the photo in the advertisement came out just a shade too dark. The unintended (but somewhat comic) result transformed the thick, coiled snake in the bottom left-hand corner of the ad into something that very much resembled a huge coiled pile of feces at the base of Cher's feet. Reps for the star demanded the ad be rerun the following week using the proper tinting and at no additional cost. This reportedly cost Billboard around $30,000 (or nearly $100,000 in 2014 USD) in lost revenue.

Track listing[edit]

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Prisoner" David Paich 5:50
2. "Holdin' Out For Love" Tom Snow, Cynthia Weil 4:23
3. "Shoppin'" Michelle Aller, Bob Esty 4:30
4. "Boys and Girls" Billy Falcon 3:54
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Mirror Image" Michael Brooks, Bob Esty 4:52
2. "Hell on Wheels" Michelle Aller, Bob Esty 5:38
3. "Holy Smoke!" Michelle Aller, Bob Esty 4:56
4. "Outrageous" Michelle Aller, Bob Esty 3:10


  • Larry Emerine - co-producer, engineer
  • Harry Langdon - photography


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ "Prisoner Review". Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  3. ^ Cher, p. 45, at Google Books
  4. ^ Taraborelli, J. Randy (1992). Cher - A Biography. St Martins Pr. ISBN 0-312-13170-4. 

External links[edit]