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"
Released June 1, 1989
Recorded 1989
Genre Pop rock
Length 4:00
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Diane Warren
Producer(s) Diane Warren, Guy Roche
Certification Gold (RIAA)[1]
Cher singles chronology
"After All"
(1989)
"If I Could Turn Back Time"
(1989)
"Just Like Jesse James"
(1989)
Audio sample
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"If I Could Turn Back Time" is a song by American recording artist Cher. Written by Diane Warren and co-produced along with Guy Roche, the pop rock track was included on Cher's nineteenth album, Heart of Stone (1989). The song was released on June 1, 1989 as the second North American and first European single release from the album. The song also appears on the greatest hits compilations The Greatest Hits (1999) and The Very Best of Cher (2003).

Highly successful around the globe, "If I Could Turn Back Time" was seen as a major comeback for Cher in the late 1980s. It charted at number one in Australia and Norway, and reached number three in the United States and number six in the United Kingdom, respectively. It also became Cher's second consecutive number one in Billboard '​s Adult Contemporary chart.[2] A critical success, 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]

Background[edit]

"If I Could Turn Back Time" was written by Diane Warren, who produced the song along with Guy Roche.[4] While the soft rock track was not specifically written for Cher, the singer initially disliked the song upon hearing a demo and turned it down. Speaking of its recording, Warren elaborated in 1991: "I got on my knees and pleaded. I told her I wasn't going to leave the room until she said yes, and finally, just to get rid of me, she did."[5] In 2014, she further added: "She really hated [it], but I held her leg down during a session and said, 'You have to record it!'." According to Warren, Cher reportedly responded: "'Fuck you, bitch! You're hurting my leg! OK, I'll try it.' She gave me this look like, 'You were right'."[6]

Music video[edit]

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

The video for "If I Could Turn Back Time", directed by Marty Callner, takes place on board the battleship USS Missouri, where Cher sings to a large group of sailors. This video was filmed in Los Angeles 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 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).

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 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.[7]

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

In popular culture and covers[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.”[8]
  • 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.
  • On the BBC Radio 2's "Sounds Of The 80s" album, set to be released on November 10, 2014, "If I Could Turn Back Time" was covered by American singer-songwriter Christina Perri.[9]

Live performances[edit]

Cher performing "If I Could Turn Back Time" during the 2014 Dressed to Kill Tour.

Cher performed the song on the following concert tours:

Formats and track listings[edit]

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".[10]

If I Could Turn Back Time US Promo CD Single[11]

  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[11]

  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[11]

  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)[12]
  • Almighty Definitive Remix (7:45)[13]
  • Almighty Radio Edit (4:29)[14]
  • TNT Vocal Mix (6:46)[10]
  • TNT Dub (6:47)

Charts and certifications[edit]