5 Things You Didn't Know About Cher

Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Cher's done a little bit of everything. She's blown up the pop charts, hosted a hit variety show, and even won an Oscar. Let's take a look at five things you might not know about the woman who was born Cherilyn Sarkisian.

1. She Sang on More Famous Songs Than You Think

Before she struck out as a solo artist and worked with Sonny Bono, both Sonny and Cher worked for Phil Spector. Bono later described his job as "a general flunky for Phillip." Both also sang backup vocals when Spector needed session singers, so Cher's pipes are somewhere in a number of Spector's biggest hits. She sang backup on the Crystals' "Da Do Ron Ron," the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," and the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." Listen closely and see if you can hear her.

Spector actually produced Cher's first solo single, a commercial flop called "Ringo, I Love You." Don't look for it under Cher's name, though. She released the record under the name Bonnie Jo Mason. Have a listen:

2. She's Not Much on Acceptance Speeches

In 1988 Cher won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her starring role in Norman Jewison's Moonstruck. When Cher went on stage to receive her Oscar, she gave a big shout-out to her hair and makeup artist...but forgot to thank her director, Jewison. Cher immediately realized her gaffe – she blamed the omission on being nervous – and decided to take drastic steps to recognize Jewison. The next day, she took out a full-page ad in Variety thanking the director.

Cher got another chance to tip her cap to Jewison earlier this year. When the Academy decided to give Jewison a lifetime achievement award, Cher was the presenter. This time she remembered to thank the director for Moonstruck.

3. She Irked the Navy

It seems fairly tame by today's standards, but Cher's video for her 1989 single "If I Could Turn Back Time" caused a major stir. The video depicts Cher singing to a group of sailors aboard the USS Missouri, which isn't so objectionable. Her outfit, though, was pretty over the top: a fishnet body stocking over a skimpy bathing suit. Even MTV worried that the getup was a bit too revealing; the network made a policy of only playing the video after 9 p.m.

The Navy wasn't pleased, either. Officials had allowed Cher to use the Missouri as a set because it seemed like a good way to glamorize the Navy for MTV viewers. They hadn't anticipated her wardrobe choice, though. The Navy told the press that it had originally approved the video shoot under the pretense that Cher would be doing a sweet little story about a sailor who gets a Dear John letter. Instead, they got this:

4. She Got a Rise Out of David Letterman

When David Letterman was still getting his footing as a late night host, he really wanted Cher on his show. She repeatedly declined before eventually repenting and appearing on the couch in May of 1986. The singer then took the opportunity to bust the host's chops a bit. Check it out for yourself:

Cher's delivery of the "asshole" line was so deadpan that it threw Letterman for a huge loop. Even though Cher slipped him a note that said, "Dearest David, you'r not an asshole. Love, Cher," Letterman later told People magazine, "I felt like a total fool, especially since I say all kinds of things to people. I was sitting there thinking, 'Okay, Mr. Big Shot, can you take it as well as you can dish it out?'"

5. She Isn't Afraid to Endorse a Product

Cher is also responsible for some of the most baffling celebrity endorsements of all time. During an early 90s lull in her music career, Cher started working as a pitchman for some spectacularly bizarre products. In 1994 she launched her own line of mail-order home furnishings. Entertainment Weekly described the pieces as resembling "a sort of medieval L.L. Bean."

She also ventured out into the world of infomercials for a line of hair and skin care products. If anything, these videos are a testimony to Cher's talent; they would have killed pretty much anyone else's career.

The 10 Best Air Fryers on Amazon

Cosori/Amazon
Cosori/Amazon

When it comes to making food that’s delicious, quick, and easy, you can’t go wrong with an air fryer. They require only a fraction of the oil that traditional fryers do, so you get that same delicious, crispy texture of the fried foods you love while avoiding the extra calories and fat you don’t.

But with so many air fryers out there, it can be tough to choose the one that’ll work best for you. To make your life easier—and get you closer to that tasty piece of fried chicken—we’ve put together a list of some of Amazon’s top-rated air frying gadgets. Each of the products below has at least a 4.5-star rating and over 1200 user reviews, so you can stop dreaming about the perfect dinner and start eating it instead.

1. Ultrean Air Fryer; $76

Ultrean/Amazon

Around 84 percent of reviewers awarded the Ultrean Air Fryer five stars on Amazon, making it one of the most popular models on the site. This 4.2-quart oven doesn't just fry, either—it also grills, roasts, and bakes via its innovative rapid air technology heating system. It's available in four different colors (red, light blue, black, and white), making it the perfect accent piece for any kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Cosori Air Fryer; $120

Cosori/Amazon

This highly celebrated air fryer from Cosori will quickly become your favorite sous chef. With 11 one-touch presets for frying favorites, like bacon, veggies, and fries, you can take the guesswork out of cooking and let the Cosori do the work instead. One reviewer who “absolutely hates cooking” said, after using it, “I'm actually excited to cook for the first time ever.” You’ll feel the same way!

Buy it: Amazon

3. Innsky Air Fryer; $90

Innsky/Amazon

With its streamlined design and the ability to cook with little to no oil, the Innsky air fryer will make you feel like the picture of elegance as you chow down on a piece of fried shrimp. You can set a timer on the fryer so it starts cooking when you want it to, and it automatically shuts off when the cooking time is done (a great safety feature for chefs who get easily distracted).

Buy it: Amazon

4. Secura Air Fryer; $62

Secura/Amazon

This air fryer from Secura uses a combination of heating techniques—hot air and high-speed air circulation—for fast and easy food prep. And, as one reviewer remarked, with an extra-large 4.2-quart basket “[it’s] good for feeding a crowd, which makes it a great option for large families.” This fryer even comes with a toaster rack and skewers, making it a great addition to a neighborhood barbecue or family glamping trip.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Chefman Turbo Fry; $60

Chefman/Amazon

For those of you really looking to cut back, the Chefman Turbo Fry uses 98 percent less oil than traditional fryers, according to the manufacturer. And with its two-in-one tank basket that allows you to cook multiple items at the same time, you can finally stop using so many pots and pans when you’re making dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Ninja Air Fryer; $100

Ninja/Amazon

The Ninja Air Fryer is a multipurpose gadget that allows you to do far more than crisp up your favorite foods. This air fryer’s one-touch control panel lets you air fry, roast, reheat, or even dehydrate meats, fruits, and veggies, whether your ingredients are fresh or frozen. And the simple interface means that you're only a couple buttons away from a homemade dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant Pot Air Fryer + Electronic Pressure Cooker; $180

Instant Pot/Amazon

Enjoy all the perks of an Instant Pot—the ability to serve as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, and more—with a lid that turns the whole thing into an air fryer as well. The multi-level fryer basket has a broiling tray to ensure even crisping throughout, and it’s big enough to cook a meal for up to eight. If you’re more into a traditional air fryer, check out Instant Pot’s new Instant Vortex Pro ($140) air fryer, which gives you the ability to bake, proof, toast, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Omorc Habor Air Fryer; $100

Omorc Habor/Amazon

With a 5.8-quart capacity, this air fryer from Omorc Habor is larger than most, giving you the flexibility of cooking dinner for two or a spread for a party. To give you a clearer picture of the size, its square fryer basket, built to maximize cooking capacity, can handle a five-pound chicken (or all the fries you could possibly eat). Plus, with a non-stick coating and dishwasher-safe basket and frying pot, this handy appliance practically cleans itself.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dash Deluxe Air Fryer; $100

Dash/Amazon

Dash’s air fryer might look retro, but its high-tech cooking ability is anything but. Its generously sized frying basket can fry up to two pounds of French fries or two dozen wings, and its cool touch handle makes it easy (and safe) to use. And if you're still stumped on what to actually cook once you get your Dash fryer, you'll get a free recipe guide in the box filled with tips and tricks to get the most out of your meal.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Bella Air Fryer; $52

Bella/Amazon

This petite air fryer from Bella may be on the smaller side, but it still packs a powerful punch. Its 2.6-quart frying basket makes it an ideal choice for couples or smaller families—all you have to do is set the temperature and timer, and throw your food inside. Once the meal is ready, its indicator light will ding to let you know that it’s time to eat.

Buy it: Amazon

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Unraveling the 20-Year Mystery of How 'Who Let the Dogs Out' Became a Global Phenomenon

Who let the dogs out? In 2000, it was the Baha Men—but the novelty song's origins could date back much further.
Who let the dogs out? In 2000, it was the Baha Men—but the novelty song's origins could date back much further.
Tim Roney/Getty Images

A college football chant from the mid-1980s. A bunch of lyrics scribbled on a Little Caesars bread bag. A punk rock hairdresser named Keith. These are just a few of the seemingly random, but entirely vital, components of Baha Men’s 2000 hit "Who Let the Dogs Out"—a tune Rolling Stone once dubbed the third most annoying song of all time (only Los Del Rio's "Macarena" and Black Eyed Peas's "My Humps" ranked higher).

It's been a full 20 years since the novelty hit’s original release, and its impossibly infectious hook is no doubt still lodged firmly inside your brain. It was practically inescapable in 2000, after all, popping up on the big screen (in movies as varied as Rugrats in Paris, Rat Race, and Men in Black II), at political rallies, and during pretty much every sporting event with an unimaginative PA announcer.

Baha Men celebrate backstage at the 2001 Grammys after winning Best Dance Recording for "Who Let the Dogs Out."Scott Gries/ImageDirect/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Even the Grammys, the music industry’s most prestigious awards ceremony, wasn’t immune to the song's begrudging charm. The single beat out J.Lo, Enrique Iglesias, and Moby to win the Grammy for Best Dance Recording in 2001.

Although "Who Let the Dogs Out" never climbed higher than number 40 in America, it topped the charts Down Under, peaked at number 2 in the UK, and sold millions of copies worldwide. But as the old saying goes, "where there’s a hit, there’s a writ." So by the time Baha Men were asking "Who Let the Dogs Out" at the 2000 World Series, the band had become entangled in a far more intriguing, canine-free mystery: Who was ultimately responsible for the song in the first place?

Who, What, Where, Why, and When?

Baha Men, the Bahamian outfit who turned "Who Let the Dogs Out" into a popular query, never proclaimed to have written the track. In fact, according to member Dyson Knight, it took some convincing to even get the band to record it once they heard 1998's “Doggie,” the much more frenetic, soca-infused original version of the song by Trinidadian artist Anslem Douglas.

But Steve Greenberg, Baha Men's manager—who had previously steered Hanson to chart-topping glory—was adamant that “Who Let the Dogs Out” would reverse the band's fortunes. The group had just been dumped by Mercury Records after selling fewer than 800 copies of their 1998 album Doong Spank.

Greenberg had only stumbled across the track himself following a meeting with Jonathan King, one of Britain’s more eccentric musical mavericks. King had given the carnival anthem a trashy Euro-techno makeover—complete with dodgy Caribbean accent—under one of his many baffling aliases: Fat Jakk and His Pack of Pets.

Greenberg openly told King it was one of the worst things he had ever heard, yet somehow he still recognized its hit-making potential.

Never afraid of blowing his own trumpet, King has tried to take credit for the song’s subsequent global domination. However, King's hairdresser can claim to be equally—if not more—instrumental in its success. Keith Wainwright, owner of the punk favorite London salon Smile, alerted King to “Who Let the Dogs Out” on one of the many mixtapes he compiled after each jaunt to his beloved Trinidad and Tobago.

Barking out the woofs on this occasion was Anslem Douglas, the man who has since argued that the seemingly throwaway ditty should be viewed as a bona fide feminist anthem. Although there’s little dispute about who wrote its man-bashing verses ("Get back gruffy, mash scruffy/Get back you flea-infested mongrel"), several people have come forward to claim ownership of the song's earworm of a chorus.

Who Put the Woof in the Woof, Woof, Woof, Woof?

For Douglas's part in the "Who Let the Dogs Out" mystery, he admits that he originally heard the song's famous refrain from his brother-in-law, who once worked for a Canadian radio show. “Who let the dogs out? Woof, woof, woof, woof” just happened to be a jingle created by Patrick Stephenson and Leroy Williams, two producers who worked for that very station. As a result, Douglas was forced to acknowledge their input in an out-of-court settlement.

Yet the year before that contested jingle, 20 Fingers—a tongue-in-cheek production team famed for their top 20 hit “Short Dick Man”—released “You’re a Dog,” a handbag house anthem that utilized almost the exact same phrase.

In 1992, teenagers Brett Hammock and Joe Gonzalez, a.k.a. Miami Boom Productions, penned a similar hook on the back of a Little Caesars bread bag. Their case for being the true originators is made even stronger by the evidence of two floppy disks filled with recordings of the love-to-hate chant.

There's also a theory that neatly brings things full circle. Baha Men’s cover became an MLB favorite at the turn of the century, with the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets even arguing over which franchise adopted it first. A video taken at Austin’s Reagan High School suggests its call-and-response was also first introduced in a much earlier sporting context: a football pep rally way back in 1986.

A Dogged Journey Toward the Truth

The slightly farcical, if hugely fascinating, narrative around the song is pored over in even greater detail in the 2019 documentary Who Let the Dogs Out. Directed by Brent Hodge (A Brony Tale, I Am Chris Farley), the hugely entertaining film sees artist/curator Ben Sisto deliver a TED Talk-style lecture about his eight-year journey to uncover the truth about the song's origins, interspersed with interviews with all the key players.

So who does Sisto, the self-described world's leading expert on “Who Let the Dogs Out,” believe is most responsible for the song's success? “Without a doubt, it’s Steve Greenberg," Sisto tells Mental Floss. "Steve formed S-Curve Records to release Baha Men’s version. It was his marketing acumen, industry ties, and honest dedication to the band that culminated in the track exploding. Steve just worked it, hard, from every angle.”

Sisto has a theory about why the single struck such a big chord with listeners, too. “Baha Men’s version opens a cappella. The vocals have a gravity that stops everything else in the room. Before having time to consider what 'Who Let the Dogs Out' even means, the listener is transported to a world of pop, junkanoo, and barking that's both catchy and annoying, head-bobbing and soul-screaming," he says. "It also seems people can’t decide on exactly what the non-question means. What does it want from us? It’s as if the Uncertainty Principle itself was a pop song. In a way, I think it’s that confusion that hooks people. It sounds like Doritos taste: Unnatural, but undeniable.”

Sisto has accepted that the origins of "Who Let the Dogs Out" could go back even further than Greenberg's interpretation of the song, but appears to have brought his quest to an end for now. Which means we may never truly know who really did allow those pesky mutts to escape.