Sonny Bono got a major break in 1957 when he was a delivery boy. He had just arrived at Specialty Records when owner Art Rupe fired Sam Cooke and his producer Bumps Blackwell. Bono was asked if he would like to produce records and the inexperienced Bono accepted the offer.
At Specialty Records, Bono made a star of Larry Williams, who had hits with "Bony Maronie," "Dizzy Miss Lizzie," and "Short Fat Fannie."
Sonny was ten years older than Cher, who was still in her teens when their first hit, "Baby Don't Go" reached the upper half of Billboard's Hot 100 chart.
Cher was a session singer for Phil Spector, Sonny was a record promoter for him and got her the gig after meeting her in a coffee shop.
Cher became Sonny's second wife in 1964.
In 1963 they recorded as Caesar and Cleo.
Sonny co-wrote "Needles and Pins," a minor hit for Jackie DeShannon but a huge worldwide hit for the Searchers.
Cher released a single, "Ringo I Love You," under the name Bonnie Jo Mason.
Sonny had written or co-written all the duo's hits and virtually all of Cher's solo hits on Atco Records. He did the same with the songs the duo released as singles on Kapp Records, but as Cher's solo records were being released on MCA, his presence was diminished as the marriage broke down -- her solo recordings (produced by Snuff Garrett) often exhibited a darker side, to which Sonny objected.
Sonny managed the couple's business affairs, even after their divorce, and even after he married his third wife, Mary ("Sonny and Cher" is trademarked). (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for all above)
Cher's real name is Cherilyn Sarkisyan. She is of Armenian background. (thanks, Jamie - Edmond, OK)
Bono was mayor of Palm Springs, California from 1988-1992. After his death, a statue of him was placed near a fountain at 155 South Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs in his honor. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
In 1994, Bono was elected to the United States Congress, representing California's 44th district, a position he served until his death. He is the only person to perform on a #1 hit (I Got You Babe
) who was later elected to congress.