Of all the memorable songs by Cher (e.g., Gypsy Tramps & Thieves; The Way of Love; Believe) my favorite is a rather obscure one from her 1974 album Dark Lady called I Saw a Man & He Danced with His Wife. September 2014 will mark 40 years since I saw her perform it on her variety show on CBS. Presented as a mini soap opera of sorts (a very early music video?), it told the story of love lost and regained.
It opens with Cher sitting alone at a club, sipping a glass of wine. As the band begins playing she spies a former lover getting up to dance with his new wife. Although she catches his eye, he walks by without acknowledging her. Then two weeks later he shows up at her door and tells Cher that he left his lover because he realized he loved her more than he ever knew (sigh).
This song was very different from Cher's other hits because it had a Big Band feel to it. (The mid-70s were a time when Bette Midler and the Manhattan Transfer were making 40s-style music popular.) Not surprisingly, I Saw a Man wasn't a hit, peaking at only #42 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, based on hearing it this one time, I bought the 45. Perhaps I liked it because it received no airplay so I never tired of it. Interestingly, the writer of this song, John Durrill, also wrote her #1 hit Dark Lady. Double click here to listen to the song.
This was the beginning of a fallow period in Cher's music career. It would be five years before her next hit, Take Me Home, and then another eight years would pass before she came back in a big way with four top-10 hits in the next few years. (And during this time she would win the Oscar for Best Actress in Moonstruck.) But it's her little melodrama of a song from 1974 that I treasure the most.
Here are some other posts I've written about Cher you may find of interest: