(Al Capps/Mary Dean)
This song, 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.
Later cover 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.
Although the 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.