This Day in Music History: Cher hits the charts with “Believe”

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“Believe” by Cher is such a part of popular music lore that it seems odd to write whom the song is “by.” They are inextricably linked- – the one-word song and the one name singer. On this date in 1999, Cher proved that she was not just a name from the 1960s and 1970s. Instead, she showed the world that her music artistry had no bounds. She accomplished that when “Believe” reached No. 1. The song was at the top of the Hot 100 for four weeks. Cher made history with the release by being the oldest woman to have a No. 1 single.

The big deal about “Believe” by Cher

On “Believe,” Cher uses auto-tune. For most of the world, this is the first time they are hearing the technology. The wavering, sometimes almost robotic means of sound production is like the italics of popular music. It seems to highlight the singer’s lyrics and those words become memorable to listeners.

The song’s content actually made people feel good, and not in a cheesy way that would make them feel self-conscious later. For listeners given to dancing, this song certainly had a techno beat to recommend it for that.

With the release and popularity of “Believe,” it simply seemed as if the singer was unstoppable. There was no age at which she was likely to stop performing. And, at 53, she did not look like it. Her words resonated with people in relationships, or seeking them. And, even if audiences were not listening closely to the words, or beyond the chorus, the song is catchy.

“Believe” didn’t just reach No.1 in the US. It was No. 1 in almost every country. To have a worldwide positive response to a song at any age is a feat. To have that same song stay at the top of US charts for four weeks is an even greater feat. “Believe” remains one of the best-selling songs in history, having sold 11 million copies recently.

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