If I Could Turn Back Time

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"If I Could Turn Back Time"
Single by Cher
from the album Heart of Stone
B-side "Some Guys" (previously unreleased track)
Released June 1, 1989
Recorded 1989
Genre Pop rock
Length 4:16
3:59 (7" version)
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Diane Warren
Producer(s) Diane Warren, Guy Roche
Certification Gold[1]
Cher North American singles chronology
"After All"
(1989)
"If I Could Turn Back Time"
(1989)
"Just Like Jesse James"
(1989)
Cher European singles chronology
"We All Sleep Alone"
(1988)
"If I Could Turn Back Time"
(1989)
"Just Like Jesse James"
(1989)
Alternative covers
2001 vinyl remix
Audio sample
file info · help

"If I Could Turn Back Time" is a song written by Diane Warren and was released on June 1, 1989 as the second North American and first European single release from American singer/actress Cher's nineteenth album, Heart of Stone by Geffen Records.

Song information[edit]

"If I Could Turn Back Time" was seen as a major comeback for Cher in the late 1980s. The song charted at number 1 in Australia and Norway, number 3 in the United States and number 6 in the United Kingdom.

"If I Could Turn Back Time" was very successful and it became Cher's second consecutive number 1 in the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.[2] It topped the charts in two countries and it became a top ten hit in nearly ten countries.

Gary Hill of Allmusic described the song that it "has a crunchy texture to it, albeit in a poppy, '80s Starship sort of arrangement."[3]

In 2000, Cher released a promotional double-pack vinyl in the UK with 3 new remixes of "If I Could Turn Back Time", with vocal which was recorded during her "Do You Believe?" tour. The Almighty remix was used as the opening track for the "Living Proof: Farewell Tour" which also featured the intro to "Dark Lady" and elements of "A Different Kind of Love Song".[4]

Music video[edit]

Cher in the music video for "If I Could Turn Back Time".

The video for "If I Could Turn Back Time" takes place on board the battleship USS Missouri, where Cher sings to a large group of sailors. This video was filmed on July 1, 1989 while the ship was stationed at the former Long Beach Naval Shipyard at Pier D along with the crew. In the music video, the band plays on the foredeck, and the whole vessel is rigged with spotlights, light racks and strobes. The crew is on the deck, waving with the rhythm.

Cher's outfit for the original video a fishnet body stocking under a very revealing black one-piece bathing suit caused a lot of controversy, and many television networks refused to show the video. In 1989 the MTV network banned the video and later played it only after 9 p.m. A "censored" video was made, including new scenes, and showing less explicitly sexual content than the original.

The outfit and sexual nature of the video were not expected by the Navy when they had originally granted permission for filming. The USS Missouri liaison, Steve Honda, asked video director Marty Callner to prevent Cher from wearing the outfit when he saw it on-set, but Callner refused. Following the release of the video, the Navy took a lot of flack and has since refused to allow any music videos to be filmed aboard US Navy ships.[5]

In 2003, Cher released her "Living Proof: Farewell Tour" concert on DVD which included an official "If I Could Turn Back Time" remix video.

Cher's son, Elijah Blue Allman, only twelve at the time, makes an appearance in the video, playing a guitar (he wears dark glasses and a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt).

Popular culture[edit]

  • In episode 3-07 (first aired on November 16, 2000) of Will & Grace, Jack meets Cher in a café and mistakes her for a drag queen. She sings a few notes of "If I Could Turn Back Time" to make him understand she's the real Cher.
  • In the first episode of the second season of the Gordon Ramsay show “Hotel Hell,” the owner of the hotel visited by Ramsay sings “If I Could Turn Back Time.”[6]
  • In the 2014 movie musical Walking on Sunshine, "If I Could Turn Back Time" was performed as a duet by the movie's characters Taylor and Raf.

Live performances[edit]

Cher performed the song on the following concert tours:

Formats and track listings[edit]

If I Could Turn Back Time US Promo CD Single[7]

  1. If I Could Turn Back Time (Remix)
  2. If I Could Turn Back Time (Original Mix)
  3. If I Could Turn Back Time (Rock Mix)
  4. If I Could Turn Back Time (AC Mix)

If I Could Turn Back Time European CD Single[7]

  1. If I Could Turn Back Time (Rock Guitar Version)
  2. If I Could Turn Back Time
  3. I Found Someone

If I Could Turn Back Time Remix[7]

  1. Believe (Almighty Definitive Mix)
  2. If I Could Turn Back Time (Almighty Definitive Mix)
  3. If I Could Turn Back Time (TNT Vocal Mix)
  4. If I Could Turn Back Time (TNT Dub)
  5. One By One (Junior Vasquez Vocal Remix)

Official versions and remixes[edit]

  • Original Mix (3:59)
  • AC Mix (3:59)
  • Remix (3:59)
  • Rock Mix [aka Rock Guitar Version] (4:06)[8]
  • Almighty Definitive Remix (7:45)[9]
  • Almighty Radio Edit (4:29)[10]
  • TNT Vocal Mix (6:46)[11]
  • TNT Dub (6:47)

Charts and certifications[edit]