Tina Turner - "Let's Stay Together"
from the album Private Dancer (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #26 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7
Today's Song of the Day is by the wigged and legged wonder of the world, Tina Turner, who was famously born in Nutbush, Tennessee in 1939. After moving to St. Louis, she hooked up romantically and professionally with Ike Turner, and a productive but tumultuous partnership. Their first single, "A Fool In Love", became a top-40 pop/#2 R&B hit in 1960. They went on to place five more songs in the top-40, with their frenetic reading of "Proud Mary" reaching #4 in 1971. However, Ike's abuse of cocaine and his wife destroyed the act, leaving Tina to divorce him in 1976. The break cost her, as she was held responsible for concert dates and taxes missed.
Tina's solo turn actually started while she was still married to Ike, and her first solo album was a collection of country songs that didn't produce any radio hits. Her sophomore effort, Acid Queen in 1975, contained a collaboration with Ike that made the pop & R&B charts, "Baby Get It On", while the followup, a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love", was her first solo ink in Billboard, making the R&B chart.
Even though her albums weren't selling as much nor being played on the radio, Turner's reputation as a stellar live act was growing. With benefactors like Ray Davies, Rod Stewart, and the Rolling Stones, who Tina toured with in 1982, her exposure was catching the eye of the A-list musical world. After David Bowie got her signed to Capitol. Her first project paired her with Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh of the Human League spinoff group Heaven 17, as they produced her cover of an Al Green classic.
"Let's Stay Together" was the title track to Green's fourth studio album in 1972, and became his first #1 (and top-10) pop hit that same year.
Tina's version was just as soulful but counted on updated new-wave-friendly production from the Heaven 17 boys and a barebones video that still has the focus on her and needs no more...
Her cover became Turner's first solo top-40 pop hit in March of 1984. It also went up to #3 on the R&B chart, and topped the dance club play list in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the single went top-10 in the UK, France, Spain, Holland, and New Zealand. More importantly, it kickstarted her career, and only became the beginning of the string of hits from her classic Private Dancer set. And as cheesy as the video is, her cover is one of the classiest such recordings of the 80s.
Up tomorrow: The L.A. Olympics get rockin' courtesy of a veteran Brit Invasion band Outrageous.