Bittersweet White Light was the ninth studio album by American singer Cher. The album was released in April 1973 by MCA. It was the last solo Cher album to be produced by then-performing partner and husband Sonny Bono. While many fans consider the album to be her best vocal performance, Bittersweet White Light, composed mostly of covers of American pop standards, was Cher’s first commercial failure of the 1970s. It was Cher’s first record released only by MCA, both in the UK and the US.
Due to the success of Cher’s solo torch spots on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour like “My Funny Valentine” and “What a Difference a Day Makes”, Bono decided she should record an album featuring modern arrangements of standards from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
Bittersweet White Light was a collection of fully orchestrated, lushly-arranged classics. Bono had started in the music business working with legendary “Wall of Sound” producer Phil Spector and the album clearly demonstrates Spector’s influence. Songs in the record range from Gershwin tunes “How Long Has This Been Going On?” and “The Man I Love” to Al Jolson’s “Sonny Boy” to Judy Garland’s “The Man That Got Away” to Duke Ellington’s “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good”. The album was promoted on her successful The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour show. The title of the album was reported to be taken from the staging of such songs on her television show—which she performed in front of a torch spotlight. Bittersweet White Light was also the first of Cher’s album’s to feature medleys, “Jolson Medley”, and with track mixed, “How Long Has This Been Going On” with “The Man I Love” and “Why Was I Born” with “The Man That Got Away”. The other albums that got tracks mixed together were Take Me Home and Prisoner.
Bittersweet White Light was re-released on CD in 1999 under the name Bittersweet: The Love Songs Collection along with selected ballads tracks from other Cher albums, including Cher, Half-Breed and Dark Lady. The disc was compiled and co-produced by Mike Khouri.
1 By Myself (Arthur Schwartz, Howard Dietz) 3:29
2 I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Go (Duke Ellington, Paul Francis Webster) 3:54
3 Am I Blue (Grant Clarke, Harry Akst) 3:47
4 How Long Has This Been Going On (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) 4:23
5 The Man I Love (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) 4:27
6 Jolson Medley (Al Jolson, Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown, Ray Henderson, Joe Young, Sam M Lewis, Walter Donaldson, Jean Schwartz) 4:16
7 More Than You Know (Vincent, Youmans, Billy Rose, Edward Eliscu) 3:44
8 Why Was I Born (Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein III) 2:53
9 The Man That Got Away (Harold Arlen, George Gershwin) 4:08
Producer – Sonny Bono
Arranged By – Jimmy Dale
Conductor – Ted Dale
Orchestra – Mundell Lowe
Orchestra – Michel Rubini (Track 1)
Orchestra – Gene Page (Track 2)
Orchestra – Albert Harris (Tracks 3, 5, 7 , 8, 9)
Orchestra – John D’Andrea (Track 4)
Remix – Denis Pregnolato, Michel Rubini
Photography By – Neil Brisker, Sonny Bono
Recorded at Larrabee Sound.