Tina Turner – What’s Love Got to Do with It
The month of May 1984 was definitely an important moment in the life and career of the great Tina Turner. At that moment it could really be said that she was a character of the past: in the 60s she, together with her husband, was part of the group Ike and Tina Turner, and had been at the top of the charts several times. Perhaps their biggest hit was Proud Mary, in 1971, but they had a lot of successful hits. Unfortunately, their love and success story had also become a story of abuse, and in 1976 Tina Turner left Ike. And she found herself a new person, and she really started a new life in which Buddhism and meditation, self-esteem and awareness found a place.
Musically, however, they were dark years, perhaps personal wounds and the effort to rebuild a life prevented Tina from focusing on music. But in 1983 something changed, because after changing moving to a new label, Columbia, Tina recorded a cover, Let’s stay together, which in England had a good success and convinced the company to invest in her.
They had the right song, this What’s Love Got to Do with It. There was just one small problem: Tina Turner didn’t like the content of the song, and she didn’t want to sing it. The song is in a way against love. The protagonist experiences an affair with her lover, but it is a meeting of purely physical, carnal emotions. There is no feeling, no love, and the protagonist of the song lives this situation with great awareness. Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken? Love, a sweet old-fashioned notion.
Tina Turner did not like this song, but luckily for everyone she understood that before refusing she had to hear the managers that followed her. And in fact they managed to convince her, and once she accepted the part, she played it with great professionalism.
The video shows us a new and very modern Tina Turner, in full 80’s style, wandering around New York flirting and indulging in the gazes of men, well aware of her sensual charge, with the big hair that will become her trademark, a leather miniskirt, black stockings and stilettos. And for an entire generation who had never seen her before, Tina Turner was this and only this. The woman full of energy and sensuality who managed to reach the top of the charts at forty-four, back at the top after twenty-four years from the first time! It was absolutely a record, which years later will be beaten by Cher, who also lived a quite similar story.
It must be said that in this second part of her career Tina Turner sang mainly to women and for women. And indeed we can realize this in the scenes at the end of the video. Just as if she said to women, it’s true, I have a sensual look, but I won’t steal your husbands and boyfriends. I’m here singing for you, not for them!
The month of May 1984, fundamental for Tina, was only just beginning: on May 3 this beautiful song was released, on May 15 Tina Turner was with her friend Lionel Richie for the first date of his Can’t Slow Down Tour, and the May 29, Tina’s relaunch album, Private Dancer, was also released.
Tina was so successful that the following winter Lionel Richie called her without hesitation for the recording of We are the world, and from there the way led quickly to Live Aid, and to the participation in the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and to the great collaborations, for example with Mick Jagger.
Tina Turner never had an easy life, later marked by serious health problems and sad family events. But at this particular moment in the 80s, the rock tiger had returned to her rightful place.
Tina Turner on Wikipedia