The Story Behind Cher's Long-Dormant Vampire Love Ballad
Being a vampire isn’t such a bad gig. You get to party all night, wear stylish clothes, and stay young and sexy forever. It’s basically like being Cher—which might explain why the Hollywood icon once co-wrote a song honoring the undead.
The tune is called "Lovers Forever" and, as presented on Cher’s 2013 album Closer to the Truth, it’s a thumping electro-pop banger that makes immortality sound like a clubgoer’s wildest fantasy. "Surrender to me now," Cher sings with that husky contralto voice she’s been wielding since the '60s. "And we'll be lovers for all time / Ageless and sublime / We’ll be lovers forever."
The song didn’t just materialize out of nowhere. Cher wrote it back in the early '90s with friend Shirley Eikhard, the Canadian songwriter best known for penning Bonnie Raitt’s 1991 smash "Something to Talk About." Some 30 years into her career, Cher would’ve been justified in thinking of herself as an eternal superstar, but there’s another reason she had bats on the brain. At the time, she was being considered for the role of Louis de Pointe du Lac in the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire.
In keeping with the plot of Rice’s 1976 novel, the part ultimately went to a man: Brad Pitt. But in her original draft of the script, which opens in 18th century Louisiana, Rice had the idea of making the character female. Given the long history of homophobia in Hollywood, she figured a story centering on the intimate relationship between two male characters—Louis and Lestat, played by Tom Cruise—would've been a tough sell.
"The whole idea was that Louis would be a transvestite woman," Rice told Movieline in 1994. "At that time in history, you could own your own plantation and run things if you were a man, [but] you couldn't if you were a woman. It was the French law. So this was a woman who dressed like a man, and otherwise it was exactly the same as Interview With the Vampire."
At some point in the film’s development, Cher and Eikhard wrote "Lovers Forever." In its original form, it was a dramatic piano ballad that might have gotten some play on pop radio—circa '94, Meat Loaf was enjoying a resurgence with similarly styled theatrical ballads. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Cher got nixed from the film and its soundtrack.
"They didn't love it and there were no other vampire outlets then, so I held it," Cher told USA Today in 2013, while promoting Closer to the Truth. It was one of three songs she co-wrote for the album, and explaining why she seldom records her own material, Cher described her songwriting as "moody and introspective, a bit dark and very personal."
"I write about Kurt Cobain's death and homeless people," she said. "It's not for everybody."
By the time Cher finally got around to releasing "Lovers Forever," she might’ve had better luck finding a vampire flick to place it in. The late 2000s had brought about a vampire boom, as writer Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series spawned five blockbuster movies, and shows like True Blood and The Vampire Diaries sucked in viewers on the small screen. This time, though, Cher kept it for herself. She tweeted in August 2012: "Beautiful vampire song that a friend and I wrote for Interview With the Vampire—[my assistant] Jen loves it, brought it out, so I'm going to re-record it with today's sound! Who knows?"
Production on the retooled dance-pop version was handled by Mark Taylor, who'd worked on Cher’s 1998 chart-topping comeback single "Believe." Because surely not all vampire songs need to be dark and broody, Taylor took a similar tack with this tune, creating what Idolator called "a swirling Europop anthem with retro Italo disco touches."
"I thought it was cool that it didn’t work," Cher told Radio.com of her long-dormant creation, "but now it does." Perhaps it worked because vampires, like Cher, are masters of reinventing themselves each generation.