How Sonny & Cher got their groove back

Sonny & Cher’s comeback: Sonny & Cher were world-famous and hugely successful in the 60s, but their career was on the skids in 1970. Despite their outrageous appearance, their lifestyle and music was squeaky-clean, and didn’t go over well with hippies. They resorted to playing lounge acts to hostile, middle-aged audiences, who heckled them. Cher started heckling back, Sonny scolded her, and she heckled him. The heckling became the best part of the act, and Hollywood noticed and gave them the “Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.” [Cintra Wilson/Salon]

30 Years Ago: 1986 in photos

Includes the Challenger explosion, Hands Across America, young Ian McKellen and Bill Clinton, and more. Hell of a year.

I worked the swing shift then – afternoon to past midnight – and often got up at noon. I heard about the Challenger explosion on Howard Stern, which was an unusual place to receive news like that.

I covered Hands Across America for the daily newspaper I then worked for. I got on a school bus with a bunch of other adults and families, rode an hour or so to the point where the line was closest to our community, got in the line, held hands for a minute or so, broke handholding, then got back on the bus and went back home. I wrote a solemn article about how wonderful and spiritual the experience was for all participating, working together to stamp out … well, whatever it was that we were protesting against.

In reality, here’s what happened: I fell in with a group of layabouts on the bus and we had a hilarious time drinking on the way out. After the bus stopped, we found a bar near the Hands Across America route and drank some more. Then a couple of minutes before the event, we said oh fuck and ran out and held hands with the line and then went back into the bar and had a further hilarious time until it was time to get back on the bus and continue hilarious drinking from our mobile headquarters.

I should have written that story.