written by Al Capps and Mary Dean, tells the story of a woman who is half
Cherokee and half white and all the problems that being the titular “half-breed”
caused her. In particular the
prejudice, name-calling and non-acceptance she faced by the people from both
of the cultures she was born into through no fault of her own.
It was first
recorded in 1973 by Cher on her album of the same name. She released it the same year with “Melody”
on the flip side and had a huge hit with it, taking it to the No. 1 spot on
Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and on the Canadian and New Zealand chart. It also made the Top 10 and Top 20 on
the Swedish and Norwegian charts respectively but, strangely, didn’t
have any success in the UK or Germany.
The song was also performed on The
Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour in 1973.
Cher was not
the only person to record the song in 1973, however, as Ray Conniff made a recording of it that year, not being released
until 2009. The singers Bjorn Skife and Blablus from Sweden also used it in 1973 on their Pinewood Rally.
versions have been made by the bands Blue Swede, New Clear Clouds and House
of Large Sizes and the singer Peaches and Shania Twain recorded in 1990
with it being issued on her The Complete Limelight Sessions in 2001.
song was a massive hit for Cher her live performances of it were much
less than you would think. She
performed it live in the mid 1970s and then didn’t include it in her
concert play lists for almost 25 years until it appeared in her Do You
Believe? Tour in 1999. She also
included it in her Living Proof Farewell Tour, where it was part of a
medley of her songs written by Dan-O-Rama, from
2002 to 2005 as well as performing it in her Cher at the Colosseum.
The song was
used on television when it appeared on The RuPaul
Show and in the movies where it was included in the 1994 Dance Me Outside, the 1999 Flawless and the 2005 Lords of Dogtown.