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Music

The timeless pop icon: Cher turns 70

From shy hippie performer to dance-club diva, Cher has reinvented her youthful image several times. As the Goddess of Pop turns 70 on May 20, here's a look back at her outstanding singing and acting career.

From her humble beginnings as Sonny Bono's sidekick to her breakthrough as a solo artist, along with her outstanding talent for acting, Cher has seen it all, done it all, and has probably managed to get a tattoo to commemorate every major life event along the way.

Her ever-shifting appearance and outspoken stances on many issues, including LGBT rights, have resulted in her having a cult following not only on the fringes of society but right in the heart of America's counterculture. Even those who don't enjoy her style and dislike her music cannot ignore her influence on popular culture.

But living on the fast lane of commercial success also came at a price for the pop diva, who is celebrating her 70th birthday on May 20: At the height of her success, Cher contracted the Epstein-Barr virus, which resulted in chronic fatigue syndrome. For a while, she only had the strength to make money by featuring in infomercials, selling beauty and health products.

Her career prospects slumped, but true to form, Cher bounced back, releasing a number of dance tracks in the late 1990s, including one of her most successful hits ever, "Believe."

Following that success, she spent three years touring world stages in the mid-2000s, saying this was her way of bidding "farewell" to the concert circuit. It turned out to be a clever marketing ploy: Cher has been back on stage, in the recording studio, and most likely at her plastic surgeon's, many times since.

As the Goddess of Pop turns 70, she can look back at an impressive career, which includes 25 studio albums, several highly acclaimed movie roles, one of the highest-grossing concert tours worldwide to date and much, much more for the world to forever Cher-ish.

Happy birthday, Cher!

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