Tina Turner’s Best Songs: 12 Tracks That Aren’t So Simply The Best

With today’s news of Tina Turner’s death at 83, it’s not just the passing of a legend that affects the wider public. It is the end of a style of song, its passionately powerful and rough style of singing, which brings the deepest loss. Because whether it was during her time with ex-husband Ike Turner — the man who discovered Anna Mae Bullock only to abuse her — or during her multi-platinum pop solo career, Tina Turner did it, in her own words. , “kind and rough”, with a raspy, sensual voice filled with the southern grace of gospel and the gravel of rock rock. Whether it’s searing R&B or brilliant power ballads, Tina has transformed such a song, each song, into a sweaty, sleek display.

Nobody ever sounded like Tina Turner. Nobody will ever do that.

Here are 12 of the best musical moments from his 62-year career, including the greatest hits and rarities:

Ike & Tina Turner, “I’m Jealous” (1961)
As the opening track from their Sue label debut, “The Soul of Ike & Tina Turner,” “I’m Jealous” sets us up for much of what would define Tina Turner’s legacy. As written by guitarist Ike Turner with Jane Bussong, “I’m Jealous” gives the listener a theatrical story of lover’s woe, mean man’s desire and romance with Tina’s long, plunging voice. and plunging throughout the three-chord melody. Alternately screaming and swooning, Tina allows the listener to enter her world of frustration with delicious abandon.

Ike & Tina Turner, “It’s Gonna Work Out Alright” (1962)
“A Fool in Love” may have been Ike & Tina’s first million-selling single, but the couple’s second big-selling single, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine,” also on “Dynamite!” album, is much more dramatic. Borrowing fuzzy guitar and a rhythmic rumba intro from Bo Diddley, Tina dances around a talking Ike, bouncing between a seductive, low-voiced purr and brutally shouting at herself.

Ike & Tina Turner, “I’ve Loved You Too Long” (1969)
A long-time staple of the Ike & Tina Turner Live Revue, the Otis Redding/Jerry Butler-penned blues number reminds us that by 1969, Tina had incorporated the Technicolor spirit of psychedelic R&B and rock into her big-screen vocals and was become even freer. and gruff, without ever losing the classic tone and sweetness of the bottom of his voice.

Ike and Tina Turner, “River Deep – Mountain High” (1966)
The story of how Phil Spector cast Ike Turner aside to produce and co-write “River Deep – Mountain High” (featuring Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich) for Tina still holds an important place in this song’s legend. Yet nothing is as lyrical and soaring as Tina scaling Spector’s deceptively complex melody and dense wall of sound. An epic in every sense of the word.

Tina Turner, “I Can See for Miles” (1975)
Cinema audiences got their first glam-rock glimpse of what a Tina Turner solo might look like in director Ken Russell’s wild 1975 version of Who’s “Tommy: The Movie” when the she-devil appropriated ” Acid Queen” by Pete Townshend. When it came time for her 1975 solo album – her second after the contemporary cool of “Tina Turns the Country On!” from 1974! – Tina opted for a slew of Jagger/Richards and Townshend numbers, with “I Can See for Miles” yielding a manic mix of rubbery, swaggering rock and shimmering, schmaltzy disco. Yeah.

Tina Turner and Cher, “Shame, Shame, Shame” (1975)
Network television’s high camp in the mid-’70s, as defined by CBS’ “The Cher Show,” didn’t deter Tina Turner from internalizing the bile of jealousy and spite that marked so many of her best songs when it came to covering this Shirley & Company hit. Hear Turner’s rugged sound, and she urges Cher to join her on the edge.

Ike and Tina Turner, “The Power of Delilah” (1977)

Although credited to Ike & Tina, the full album from which this cut is named was released by United Artists a year after the Turners broke up, with a rare and raw handful of its songs – like this title track – written only by Tina Turner. Soulfully too, as the mythical tale of a hairy man torn apart by a woman’s tricks is given authentic funk and grit thanks to Turner’s swaggering vocal performance and his own edgy melody. Who knows what more Tina could have done as a writer during those years if she had taken time off sooner.

Tina Turner and BEF, “Ball of Confusion” (1982)
Languishing without a label in the UK while trying to figure out his next move, Turner got to know two then recently deceased Human League members, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, whose electro-pop vision of steel was fueled by an emotional soul. . Turner’s guttural iteration of the Temptations classic is what spurred Capitol Records toward a Turner comeback, and the rest was history.

Tina Turner, “Private Dancer” (1984)

It might seem strange to say this now, because Mark Knopfler’s lyrics about the intimacy of sexuality are such a big part of the 80s playlist. But to hear a middle-aged woman like Turner embody the vastness of mature sensuality is what made this song powerful – for her and for the audience who listened to it. With a quiet, slippery melody guided by Turner’s sonic growl, listening to it now brings chills despite the track’s smooth veneer.

Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” (1984)
Composers Terry Britten and Graham Lyle became two of Tina Turner’s main writers throughout the 1980s and beyond, and this track makes it easy to hear why. Simple in its message (love is a sweet old-fashioned notion) and prancy melody, this song “Love” allows Turner to effortlessly skip octaves (E♭3 to D♭5) until that she dynamically hits that final epic key change that sends the song home.

Tina Turner, “Not Enough Romance” (1989)
Turner makes the most of songwriter and producer Dan Hartman’s plucky synthetic brilliance, just as she did with BEF earlier in the decade, lounging along her sequencer walls and bouncing off the floors of music clubs. rhythms as if facing a full band. An understated vocal performance in collaboration with an underrated genius composer, “Not Enough Romance” is as much a game of chess as it is a subtle soul workout.

Tina Turner, “When the Heartbreak Is Over” (1999)
For “Twenty Four Seven,” his last solo studio album before his retirement, Turner cast old familiars and new songwriter friends to pen his grand finale. The supple, soulful grace and elegant grandeur of composers Graham Stack and John Reid’s “When the Heartache is Over” lets Turner take over, as his low, deep voice simmers and gently shimmers over its sweet chords. This song doesn’t sound like a goodbye so much as a warm welcome.

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