Was Cher’s First Single Really a Novelty Love Song About Ringo Starr?!

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Cher’s first single was a novelty song about Ringo Starr.

Young Cherilyn Sarkisian dropped out of high school when she was 16, and eventually found work a few years later working along side an older man who would be an important part of her life for years, Sonny Bono. Bono worked with music producer Phil Spector, and soon, Cherilyn was getting work as a back-up singer on a few Spector recordings (Spector was big on overlapping sounds in his music, so Cherilyn never actually sang with the original artists, she would just sing and it would be edited on to the rest of the track).

Eventually, in 1964, Cherilyn was given a shot at her own single. Spector, though, had a rule about his artists – their names all had to be very easy to remember and they had to sound very “American,” like Darlene Love or Ronnie Bennett/Spector.

Cherilyn Sarkisian was not going to work, so under the name Bonnie Jo Mason, Cherilyn got her first shot…

and it was with a song about the Beatles’ Ringo Starr!!!

“Ringo I Love You” came out in 1964 and quickly disappeared from the charts.

One reason given by disc jockeys of the time was that Cherilyn’s voice sounded too much like a man’s, so the song sounded like a gay love song, which wasn’t exactly going to fly in 1964.

Cherilyn tried another single under the name Cherilyn, but that failed, as well.

Sadly, with her two shots at stardom now both failures, her career never recovered…

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

3 Responses to “Was Cher’s First Single Really a Novelty Love Song About Ringo Starr?!”

  1. So sad. I wonder whatever became of her?

  2. It’s a true mystery.

  3. Now that’s not entirely true, Brian. She came out of obscurity to duet… er… triet? with Beavis & Butt-head…

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