River Deep – Mountain High
|"River Deep – Mountain High"|
|Single by Ike & Tina Turner|
|from the album River Deep – Mountain High|
|B-side||"I'll Keep You Happy"|
|Recorded||Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles, 1965|
|Ike & Tina Turner singles chronology|
|"River Deep, Mountain High"|
|Single by Deep Purple|
|from the album The Book of Taliesyn|
|B-side||"Listen, Learn, Read On"|
at De Lane Lea, London
|Genre||Hard rock, progressive rock|
|Length||2:35 (single edit)
10:12 (album version)
|Deep Purple singles chronology|
|"River Deep Mountain High"|
|Single by Eric Burdon & The Animals|
|from the album Love Is|
|Genre||Hard rock, soul|
|Length||3:52 (single version)
7:26 (album version)
|Eric Burdon & The Animals singles chronology|
|"River Deep – Mountain High"|
|Single by The Supremes & Four Tops|
|from the album The Magnificent 7|
|B-side||"Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music"|
|Released||November 5, 1970|
|Recorded||Hitsville USA (Studio A); May 7, 11-12, 1970|
|Length||3:14 (single version)
4:54 (album version)
|Producer(s)||Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson|
|The Supremes chronology|
"River Deep – Mountain High" is a 1966 single by Ike & Tina Turner. Considered by producer Phil Spector to be his best work, the single was successful in Europe, peaking at #3 in the United Kingdom, and peaking at #16 in Australia though it flopped on its original release in the United States. Spector claimed to be pleased with the response from the critics and his peers, but he then withdrew from the music industry for two years, beginning his personal decline.
After Eric Burdon and the Animals covered the song in 1968, it was re-released a year later, and has since become one of Tina Turner's signature songs, though it charted even lower, "bubbling under" at #112.
In 1999, "River Deep – Mountain High" was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Written by Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich, "River Deep - Mountain High" was among the first recordings that Ike & Tina Turner did for Phil Spector's Philles Records. Spector was well aware of Ike Turner's controlling attitude in the studio, and therefore he drafted an unusual contract: the River Deep – Mountain High album and single would be credited to "Ike & Tina Turner," but Ike was paid $20,000 to stay away from the studio, and only Tina Turner's vocals would be used on the record.
The track was recorded using Spector's "Wall of Sound" production technique, cost a then-unheard-of $22,000, and required 21 session musicians and 21 background vocalists. Due to Spector's perfectionism in the studio, he made Turner sing the song over and over for several hours until he felt he had the perfect vocal take for the song. Turner recalled, "I must have sung that 500,000 times. I was drenched with sweat. I had to take my shirt off and stand there in my bra to sing."
The recording of the song was later dramatized for Tina Turner's biographical film, What's Love Got to Do with It.
The single entered the lower end of the Billboard 100 and stopped at #88 on the pop charts. Even though it had better fortune in the United Kingdom, peaking at #3 in the singles charts on first release, Spector was so disillusioned that he ceased involvement in the recording industry totally for two years, and only intermittently returned to the studio after that; he effectively became a recluse and began to self-destruct.
Ike Turner remarked that he felt the record did not do well in America because the sound was "pop or white", while Tina Turner's voice was R&B, so that "America mixes race in it" — though the writer Michael Billig speculated that although earlier records which had mixed black singers with a white pop sound had sold well, by 1966 the black political movement was encouraging African Americans to take a pride in their own culture, and "River Deep – Mountain High" was out of step with that movement.
Later Rolling Stone was to put it at #33 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
George Harrison praised the record, declaring it "a perfect record from start to finish. You couldn't improve on it" "River Deep - Mountain High" compared a woman's love and loyalty, respectively, to that which a child feels for a doll, and a puppy has for his master.
A ten-minute version was recorded by Deep Purple for their 1968 album, The Book of Taliesyn. An edited version was released as a single in the United States and reached #53 in early 1969 and #42 on the Canadian RPM charts. It had a progressive rock sound to it, as Deep Purple had not yet adopted the hard rock sound for which they are most famous.
The original Ike and Tina Turner version of the song was re-released the same year to a more receptive public, and since then, has gained the recognition Spector wanted from the record. Numerous versions have been recorded since, including two different recordings that do not feature Spector's "Wall of Sound" production style: one featured on 1973's Nutbush City Limits LP and another from an undetermined era that was featured on 1991's Proud Mary: The Best of Ike & Tina Turner, as well as some by Tina Turner herself without Ike Turner, recorded in 1986, 1991 and 1993 respectively. Turner included live performances on her albums, Tina Live in Europe and Tina Live.
Eric Burdon & The Animals recorded an extended version of the song, with additional musical sections and a heavily dramatized arrangement, for their 1968 album Love Is. An edited version was released as a single, and the full version also appears on their 1969 compilation The Greatest Hits of Eric Burdon and The Animals. In 1985, Burdon recorded a live version of it and released it in 1992 on "That's Live".
In 1970, the post-Diana Ross Supremes and The Four Tops released the most successful cover version to date. Produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, the single was one of several recordings that paired the two Motown groups. The Supremes/Four Tops cover, included on the 1970 LP The Magnificent 7, with its soaring vocals and string section, peaked at #7 on the soul chart and #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971, making it the highest-charting version of the song in the United States. Their version also peaked #11 on the UK Singles Chart and #25 on Netherlands' MegaCharts.
Céline Dion covered the song on her 1996 album Falling Into You. She had previously performed the song in some of concerts, as included in her live album Live à Paris, recorded in 1995. Subsequent live performances are included on the CD/DVD releases, VH1 Divas Live, Taking Chances World Tour: The Concert, Céline une seule fois / Live 2013, as well as the DVD release, Live in Las Vegas: A New Day.... Dion's studio version is also included in her 2008 compilation, My Love: Essential Collection.
- Lead vocals by Tina Turner
- Written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich
- Produced by Phil Spector
- Arranged by Jack Nitzsche
- Instrumentation by Leon Russell (keyboards), Jim Horn (Saxophone), Barney Kessel (guitar), Glen Campbell (guitar), Jim Gordon (drums), Earl Palmer (drums), Carol Kaye (bass guitar), Frank Capp (percussion).
- Dave Thompson, Wall of pain: the biography of Phil Spector, page 116, Sanctuary, 2003, ISBN 1860745431
- Show 21 - Forty Miles of Bad Road: Some of the best from rock 'n' roll's dark ages. [Part 2] : UNT Digital Library
- Ribowsky, Mark. He's a Rebel. Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2007.
- Go Set Magazine 16 November 1966 http://www.poparchives.com.au/gosetcharts/1966/19661116.html
- Equivalent to $145,374 in today's dollars.
- Richard Williams, Phil Spector: out of his head, page 111. Omnibus Press, 2003, ISBN 0711998647. 2003. ISBN 9780711998643. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- Michael Billig, Rock 'n' roll Jews, page 110. Syracuse University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8156-0705-9. 2001. ISBN 9780815607052. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- Michael Billig, Rock 'n' roll Jews, page 109. Syracuse University Press, 2001, ISBN 0815607059. 2001. ISBN 9780815607052. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 558.
- "Ike & Tina Turner Featuring Tina* – River Deep - Mountain High". www.discogs.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
- BBC.co.uk: Sold on Song - "River Deep - Mountain High"
- Ralph MacLean
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics