Private Dancer – Tina Turner (1984)

Private Dancer album cover
Private Dancer album cover

Everyone loves a comeback story. In what is possibly the greatest rock comeback since Elvis in 1968, Tina Turner re-invented herself as an experienced, strong and confident diva of the ’80s. Before 1983, Turner’s solo work was a hit or miss (mostly miss) disco inspired rock country mess. After 1984s Private Dancer, she was one of the biggest women in rock in the middle part of the decade.

The process of re-invention would have many players working in the background to bring Turner’s kind of rock into the age of the drum machine and synthesizer. The production team on Private Dancer included half of Heaven 17 (British Electric Foundation), Rupert Hine and a team of others. In addition to top names behind the boards, the album featured new wave luminaries like Cy Curnin of The Fixx on ‘Better Be Good To Me’. The collaborations would showcase Tina’s rock, soul and newly found new wave sensibilities to great effect on multiple charts (sometimes all at once).

Recorded mostly in England, Private Dancer would fuse contemporary European influences with Tina’s fury as a classic soul infused rock performer. The result ranged from a cover of Al Green’s classic ‘Let’s Stay Together’ to the she rage of ‘Better Be Good to Me’. The considerable diversity in the tempo and style of the songs were held together by Tina’s remarkable ability to sound at home with noir ballads like the title song or the funky ‘Better Be Good to Me’.

There were no less that seven singles with varying degrees of success on the upper end of the charts. In addition to the elongated run of popularity of Private Dancer on the Billboard album chart, Tina would be featured on the benefit song ‘We Are the World’ and compete with herself as two tracks from the soundtrack for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome would join Private Dancer on the charts. For a short time both albums were moving in different directions on the charts a year after Private Dancer was released.

Turner’s role in the film as Aunty Entity only expanded her reign of popularity.
Turner’s musical success would continue throughout the rest of the 80s, making her one of the decades biggest stars and the comeback kid of the decade.

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