Salvatore Philip is good at a lot of different things, and he is in a class all by himself. Known as “Sonny Bono,” he was an important American singer, producer, and politician. He and his then-girlfriend, Cher, sang “I Got You Babe” together. He started out as a songwriter, then moved on to acting in a lot of TV shows. When he tried to open a restaurant in Palm Springs, California, he was frustrated by the government bureaucracy he had to deal with. Because of an accident, while skiing on the Nevada side of Heavenly Ski Resort in California, his life came to an abrupt end. Today, the world hasn’t stopped talking about how he might have died, and it hasn’t. One congressman has a number one pop song on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart: Bono.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born on February 16, 1935, in Detroit, Michigan. He was the son of immigrants from Sicily, Santo Bono and Zena Jean, who had moved to the United States from Sicily. That’s what his mother called him, and he became well-known later in life. When he was born, he was the youngest of three children. His two older sisters, Fran and Betty, were older than him.
During the time that he was seven years old, his family moved to Inglewood, California. There, he finished high school but did not go to college.
Soon after high school, Bono dropped out and tried his hand at writing songs. He also worked as a truck driver, a construction worker, and a waitress at the same time, but they were all different jobs.
Specialty Records hired Bono to write songs in the early 1960s. Song: Bono wrote “Things You Do to Me,” which was sung by Sam Cooke. This got him into the music business, and Phil Spector hired him to help promote his business so he could get more clients. He also worked with Jack Nitzsche, who was part of the same team. With him, he wrote “Needles and Pins,” which was a hit.
Cherilyn Sarkisian, the woman he would marry and become a father too, came into his life and his career at the same time, but that was not the most important thing. Cherilyn, or Cher, as she is more commonly known, was a young singer and performer. She and her husband went on to record a number of songs that were very popular at the time and still are today.
With the song “I Got You Babe”, they had their biggest hit in 1965. When the song came out, it topped both the US and British charts. It made the singing duo, “Sonny and Cher,” famous all over America and Britain.
For the better part of a decade, they worked together and came up with a lot of songs and other performances. They also had hits like “Bang Bang,” “The Beat Goes On,” “You Better Sit Down,” and “Baby Don’t Go.”
It was not only singing that the couple did. In 1971, they started a popular TV show called “The Sonny and Cher Show,” where singing was paired with light comedy. The show was a big hit at first, but it was taken off the air in 1974.
She said Yeah, which he wrote for the Rolling Stones, was one of many songs he wrote for other artists. As a solo artist, he also had a lot of fans. In 1965, his first single, “Laugh at Me,” reached number 10 on the US Billboard charts. When he was two years old, he released his only solo album, called “Inner Views.”
It shows that Sonny was a person who liked to wear a lot of different hats, which is why he wrote and sang songs, produced and arranged them, and even starred in movies and TV shows. Most of the time, he was a guest star who would show up for a short time on shows like “The Love Boat,” “The Top of the Hill,” “P.S. I Love You,” and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He also had small parts in movies like “Airplane II: The Sequel” (1982) and “First Kid” (1996).
In the 1980s, Bono’s TV and music careers were going downhill. Politics is where he found a new way to live his life. In 1988, he ran for mayor of Palm Springs, California, and he won the job. As mayor, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which he started, is one of his most important accomplishments. It still runs today. It took him four years to become mayor of the city. He stepped down in 1992.
Following his time as mayor of Palm Springs, he decided to run for the US Senate as a Republican. He didn’t get nominated by the party. Instead, his friend, Bruce Herschensohn, was chosen.
This is how it worked: In 1994, he was elected to be a member of the US House of Representatives from California’s 44th District. He was a well-liked member of the house. He helped bring a copyright extension bill to the floor, which was later dedicated to him and named after him.
“I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher was the number one song in both America and Britain.
A million copies of the band’s “Bang Bang” were sold around the world.
Personal Life & Legacy
Bono has been married four times. The name of his first wife was Donna Rankin. He married her on November 3, 1954. They had a daughter together named Christie.
When he got a second wife, he married Cher, who was also one of his coworkers. They had a long personal and business relationship together. Their daughter was born in 1969, and they married in 1964. They split up in 1975.
In 1983, he married Susie Coelho for a little more than a year. They broke up in 1984. They didn’t have any children.
Finally, he had his fourth and last marriage in 1986, to Mary Whitaker. She gave birth to two children with him, one son named Chesare Elan and another daughter named Chianna Maria, in 1988 and 1991. They were married until his tragic death in 1998.
He died on January 5, 1998, after a skiing accident near South Lake Tahoe, California, left him with a lot of damage. His wife, Mary, said that he was taking a lot of painkillers when he died. Many people think that Bono was high when he died, even though the autopsy came back clean.
There is a park near the Salton Sea in California called Bono Park. It was named after him. In Palm Springs, there is also a golden palm star for him.
He also got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998, when he died.