10 of the music legend’s biggest hits

Tina Turner has had 11 UK top 10 hits and seven US top 10 hits as a solo artist and with ex-husband Ike

Tina Turner has had 11 UK top 10 hits and seven US top 10 hits as a solo artist and with ex-husband Ike

Photo: Getty Images / BBC News Brazil

Singer Tina Turner, who died Wednesday at the age of 83, created many classics with her blend of R&B, funk, rock and pop, all performed in her distinctive voice.

The songs trace her journey from her unhappy partnership with her first husband, musician Ike, to her triumphant return in the 1980s, courtesy of a British synth pop group.

BBC News chose 10 of the most popular and beloved hits by the singer’s fans.

1. River Deep, Mountain High (1966)

Tina had success with Ike in the 1960s, and one of pop music’s masterpieces came about six years later when famed producer Phil Spector, who produced Beatles songs, asked to work with her.

Although the song was credited to the duo, Spector didn’t want the controlling Ike in the studio and Tina was happy to work with someone else.

She was surprised to discover that the producer had assembled an orchestra and chorus to create his famous sound texture.

“I was just a girl from Tennessee who got involved with Ike and became a singer,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I’ve never, ever seen anything like that, except in the movies.”

The hit ranked third among the most played in the United Kingdom, but failed in the United States. Radio DJs “said it wasn’t ‘black’ enough to be R&B, or white enough to be ‘pop,'” she said.

Tina Turner

Tina Turner

Photo: Getty Images / BBC News Brazil

2. Proud Mary (1971)

After the song was a hit for Credence Clearwater Revival in 1969, Ike and Tina turned this slow country-rock into explosive funk epic.

Starting with its sultry spoken intro before exploding into lush vocals, this song caused a stir across the US. It reached number four on the Billboard charts and won a Grammy Award.

When Beyoncé paid tribute to Tina at the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors, this was the song she chose to perform. Three years later, the duo teamed up to sing it as a duet at the Grammy Awards.

3. Nutbush City Limits (1973)

“A church house, gin house/a school house, outhouse” – Tina immortalized her hometown in Tennessee in the lyrics of this hit.

The upbeat music was a nostalgic memory of her turbulent childhood, during which she spent time picking cotton. “You go to the country during the week/And have a picnic on Labor Day.”

In 1976, Tina split from Ike after years of abuse and violence, putting her career in jeopardy.

4. Let’s Stay Together (1983)

Tina had to start over and get back on her feet as a solo artist after her split from Ike.

The pivotal moment of this comeback – which would lead to even greater success than before – came when she met two members of the English electro-pop group Heaven 17.

Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory were looking for a singer for an album of cover versions for their British Electric Foundation project, and Tina was without a record deal.

When she entered Abbey Road Studios, there were no other musicians there. “Where’s the band?” she asked, expecting a Phil Spector-style orchestra. Instead, the music was made by synthesizers.

They recorded first The Temptations’ Ball of Confusionafter Let’s Stay Togetherby Al Green – which became her first UK top 10 hit in a decade.

Tina had to restart her career after splitting with Ike

Tina had to restart her career after splitting with Ike

Photo: Getty Images / BBC News Brazil

5. What’s Love Got to Do With It (1984)

Tina cemented her solo star status with this song, written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, which had previously been gifted to Cliff Richard, Donna Summer and Bucks Fizz. Tina initially disliked it too, saying it was “too light”.

But she agreed to record it – if she could do it her way, “with force, with gravity and raw emotion”. It worked.

Her sexy, defiant version, accompanied by a music video of her walking the streets of New York in jeans and black leather, gave Turner her only solo US top 1, as well as winning a Grammy.

The song also earned Tina the title of “oldest woman” (at the time) to gain the top spot on the US charts, at age 44.

6. Private Dancer (1984)

The title track of Tina’s best-selling album was first recorded by British band Dire Straits, having been written by the group’s lead singer, Mark Knopfler.

But he decided the song didn’t suit a male vocal. In an interview, Tina said that she didn’t realize the song was about a sex worker.

“I never needed this in my life,” she wrote in her autobiography. “But I think most of us have been in situations where we’ve had to sell out, one way or another.”

“When I gave in to Ike, when I stayed quiet to avoid an argument, when I stayed with him despite wanting to leave, that’s what I thought about when I sang the song, the sadness of doing something you don’t want to do. It’s very emotional. “

The song features Jeff Beck on guitar, while the clip, filmed at London’s Rivoli Ballroom, was choreographed by former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips.

7. We Don’t Need Another Hero (1985)

Another track written by Britten and Lyle, this song – and Tina herself – appeared in the film. Mad Max – Beyond Thunderdomeby Mel Gibson.

A classic ’80s ballad, the lyrics matched the desolation of the film’s post-apocalyptic world. Turner appeared in the music video as her character Aunty Entity, who she said she connected with because she was “strong and resilient”.

“She’s lost so much, and then she’s gone through so much to get the men in her world to respect her,” Tina said. “I identified with her struggles because I lived through them.”

The song was another hit, reaching No. 2 in the US and earning a Grammy nomination and an Ivor Novello Award.

8. The Best (1989)

This song was originally written for Bonnie Tyler, but it was only a minor hit for the Welsh singer in 1988.

The following year, Tina added some extra vocal power and new soft rock production – and it became one of her most authoritative songs and one of the defining anthems of the decade.

Music is often mistakenly called Simply The Best, a line from his famous refrain. It has been used in several commercials over the years, including a Pepsi ad featuring Turner herself. The song was also used to promote rugby league in Australia.

9. Steamy Windows (1989)

This song was also on Turner’s album, Foreign Affairsfrom 1989, and the sensual lyrics of the bluesy track left listeners with little doubt about what it was about.

It was another empowering and feminist track by Turner, singing about taking the lead in a sexual encounter. Music Week described the song at the time as “a delightfully edgy number” with “mischievous guitar licks”.

10. GoldenEye (1995)

A song on the soundtrack of the James Bond films is a milestone for any artist. After the success of the Oscar-nominated Tina biopic in 1993, What’s Love Got to Do With Itthe producers of 007 invited her to the premiere of Pierce Brosnan as the most famous secret agent in cinema.

the theme itself goldeneye it was written by Bono and The Edge of U2. The vocalist gave her a demo of sorts, but she had a lot of work to do.

“He didn’t make a proper demo, somebody just put the song together,” Tina told the BBC in 2018. “I thought, ‘How do I put this together? close to what I thought the melody was. I had to work a lot. I knew then that I could sing anything that was put before me”, stated the singer.

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