Cher is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of her debut on Billboard’s charts, which means it’s time to fondly recount some of the stories that led to her success.
Billboard magazine conducted a lengthy interview with the pop icon to commemorate the anniversary. In it, Cher reveals the events that led to using a vocoder on her hit song “Believe,” which she said “came out of desperation.”
She recounted, “Mark [Taylor, “Believe” co-producer] hated what I was doing and he kept saying to do it better, because it didn’t really pop until the chorus. I just couldn’t do it. We had a huge fight. I stormed out. I mean, we were really close — we’re still really close — but he just kept going ‘It’s not good, it’s not good.’ And then I said, ‘Well, if you want it better, get somebody else.’”
The next day she saw U.K. musician Roachford on TV using a vocoder. Inspired by the sound, she brought his CD back to Taylor. While he said she couldn’t use the device because she already sang the song, he offered to see what he could do. “I came back the next day and he started to play it for me,” she continued. “I said, ‘We have to just stop and hold on to this moment.’”
And the rest is history. Well, minus the small detail of fighting Rob Dickens, who at the time was the chairman of her label, Warner Music U.K. “He said, ‘You know, the Germans don’t like it because they can’t tell it’s you.’ And I said, ‘You can change it over my dead body.’”
Watch the music video for “Believe” below, and check out the full interview with Cher over at Billboard.