Monday, January 9, 2017

"What's Love Got to Do with It" by Tina Turner

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  1905
Date:  05/19/1984
Debut:  92
Peak:  1 (3 weeks)
Weeks:  28
Genre:  Pop, R&B

Pop Bits:  Turner kicked off the reboot of her solo career with a cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." It was a successful single that reached #1 at Dance and #3 at R&B. It also became her first solo song to reach the Pop chart where it got into the Top 30. The results got her a full album deal with Capitol and Private Dancer was quickly assembled. Although expectations were high for this next single, no one had any clue that it would eventually make Turner a worldwide superstar. The single started out slow, but as the weeks went by it continued to gain in popularity. Assisted by a popular MTV video, the song eventually made its way to #1 on the Pop chart and #2 R&B. It also got to #8 at AC, #21 Dance, and #51 Rock. The single would be a gold seller and the following year it would win Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The song also got Turner a win for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Private Dancer would then be a big hit going to #3 Pop and #1 R&B. It would end up selling five million copies and be nominated for Album of the Year. Turner's comeback was not only complete, but it was a triumph.

ReduxReview:  This is a terrific song, but two things made it a classic - Turner's vocals and the tune's production/arrangement. Turner never did anything half-assed and even though she wasn't fond of this tune (see below), she sold it like her life depended on it (and indeed, her career probably did). Her vocals were a perfect match for the sleek, sultry arrangement. I knew it was a hit when I first heard it, but I didn't expect it to be such a major smash. I got the album as soon as I could and it quickly became a favorite. I had always liked Tina Turner, but all I really knew of her was "Proud Mary" and her amazing performances on variety shows like Sonny & Cher. However, this song changed everything. Instead of being a casual fan of her performances, I became a fan of her music as well. A true superstar indeed.


Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) At first, Turner was not a fan of this song. Her new manager, Roger Davies, brought in the tune and was convinced it was a hit. Turner disliked it and didn't want to record it. However, she had faith in what Davies was doing with her career and if it included doing this song, she was gonna dive in and get the job done. In the end, it worked out quite well.  2) This song was written by Terry Brittan and Graham Lyle. They initially sent it over to Cliff Richard, but he turned it down. It also got to R&B singer Phyllis Hyman and Donna Summer, but neither got to record it. The UK vocal group Bucks Fizz became the first artist to record the song. Done with a male lead vocal, they had intended it for their next LP, but in the interim, Turner recorded the song and got it released. Bucks Fizz then set the song aside. Their version would see the light of day as a bonus track on an album reissue (check out their spacey, new wave rendition sometime).  3) In hitting #1 on the Pop chart, Turner set two new records. First, at 44 she became the oldest female solo artist to hit #1 at that time. Second, the 24-year span of time between her first Pop chart entry (1960's #27 "Fool in Love" with Ike Turner) and her first #1 was a new record. Currently, Cher holds the recorded for the oldest female to hit #1 (she was 52 when "Believe" topped the chart in 1999) and Santana holds the record for time between first chart entry and first #1 (30 years between "Jingo" in 1969 and the #1 "Smooth" in 1999).


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