Private Dancer

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This article is about the Tina Turner album. For songs of this name and other uses, see Private dancer.
Private Dancer
Tina Turner Private Dancer US CD cover art 1984 original.jpg
Standard cover art
Studio album by Tina Turner
Released May 29, 1984 (1984-05-29)
Recorded 1983–1984
Length 44:02
Label Capitol
Tina Turner chronology
Love Explosion
Private Dancer
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Singles from Private Dancer
  1. "Let's Stay Together"
    Released: 7 November 1983
  2. "Help!"
    Released: 25 February 1984
  3. "What's Love Got to Do with It"
    Released: 4 June 1984
  4. "Better Be Good to Me"
    Released: 12 September 1984
  5. "Private Dancer"
    Released: October 28, 1984 (US)
    17 February 1985 (UK)
  6. "I Can't Stand the Rain"
    Released: 1 March 1985
  7. "Show Some Respect"
    Released: 4 May 1985
Alternative cover art
Cover art for some original vinyl editions, including U.S. and Canadian

Private Dancer is the fifth solo studio album by recording artist Tina Turner. Marking her debut with the record company, it was released by Capitol Records in May 1984. Recording sessions for the album took place at several studios in England and was overseen by four different production teams, including Rupert Hine, and Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh of Heaven 17. A radical departure from the rhythm and blues sound Turner had performed with her former husband and performing partner Ike Turner, the tracks in the album are a mixture of uptempos and ballads, which are basically inspired by pop and rock genres; it also features elements of smooth jazz and R&B.

After several challenging years of going solo after divorcing Ike, Private Dancer propelled Turner in becoming a viable solo star, as well as one of the most marketable crossover singers in the recording industry. It became a worldwide commercial success, earning multi-platinum certifications in Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. To date, it remains her best-selling album in North America. Private Dancer produced seven singles, including "What's Love Got to Do with It", "Better Be Good to Me", "Private Dancer", and "Let's Stay Together". Positively received by critics on release for Turner's ability to give energy and raw emotion to slickly produced professional pop/rock songs; its long term legacy is that the softening of her raw Southern soul style produced a "landmark" in the "evolution of pop-soul music".[1] The album was promoted throughout 1985 in a 177 date worldwide tour called the Private Dancer Tour.

Background and production[edit]

A&R man John Carter of Capitol Records is credited with relaunching the career of Tina Turner in the 1980s.[2] In 1983, despite opposition from within Capitol, he signed her and managed her first album for the label, Private Dancer. The album itself was produced in England using several different producers.[1]

"Let's Stay Together" was produced by Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh of British band Heaven 17. Terry Britten produced the reggae-tinged "What's Love Got to Do with It". Rupert Hine produced "Better Be Good to Me", which had been written by Holly Knight, Mike Chapman, and Nicky Chinn, and most of the other songs.[3] John Carter produced "Private Dancer", which was written by Mark Knopfler and has a guitar solo by Jeff Beck. "Ball of Confusion", a cover of The Temptations song which was Turner's first collaboration with the B.E.F. (British Electric Foundation)/Heaven 17 production team and part of their collaborative 1982 album Music of Quality and Distinction Volume One was not included on the Private Dancer album. A recording of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" from the same sessions would re-appear in remixed form on B.E.F.'s Music of Quality and Distinction Volume Two in 1991. "Help!" was recorded with The Crusaders.

Release and reception[edit]

The album was released on 29 May 1984 and became an outstanding commercial success. Private Dancer has been certified 5 × Platinum (5 million[4]) in the United States and sold around 250,000 each week for 2 months. Worldwide the album has been estimated to have sold over 30 million copies.[5]

The album produced a number of highly successful singles including "What's Love Got to Do with It" which went to number one and stayed there for three weeks. At the 1985 Grammy Awards, Private Dancer won four of the six awards for which it was nominated. No less than seven of the album's ten tracks (nine in the U.S.) were released as singles: "Let's Stay Together", which was a UK Top 10 hit and a US Top 30 hit; "Help!"; "What's Love Got to Do with It"; "Better Be Good to Me"; "Private Dancer";, "I Can't Stand the Rain" and "Show Some Respect" (1985).

In 1997, EMI, the parent label of Capitol Records, released a digitally remastered Centenary Edition of the Private Dancer album on CD, then including four additional demo tracks recorded in late 1983 and early 1984 with the producer John Carter, first released as B-sides to some of the Private Dancer singles, as well as three extended 12" remixes. The album remains the only Tina Turner studio album to have been re-issued in digitally remastered form.

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Robert Christgau A-[7]

The critical reviews of the album were positive. The Los Angeles Times reviewer felt that her voice "melts vinyl".[8] Debby Miller, in a July 1984 Rolling Stone review, felt that the album was a powerful comeback, with Turner's voice "rasping but strong", and a range of songs that were all good in a "modern rock setting" that was "neither detached nor very fussy".[3] Robert Christgau felt that she was able to deliver with honesty the "middlebrow angst of contemporary professional songwriting" and remain in control of an album with four different production teams to give it a "seamless authority".[9]


Main article: Private Dancer Tour

A 177 date tour to promote the album took place from February 8, 1985 to December 28, 1985. Called the Private Dancer Tour, there were 60 shows in Europe, 105 in North America, 10 in Australia, and 2 in Japan. Opening acts in North America included Glenn Frey and Mr. Mister. As well as songs from the album, Turner performed the hits from her time with Ike & Tina, such as "River Deep – Mountain High", "Nutbush City Limits", and "Proud Mary".


Alex Henderson, in a retrospective AllMusic review, says that the album was slicker than her R&B classics recorded with Ike & Tina, but she was still able to sing with a throaty passion to deliver her finest solo production.[10] Stephen Holden has written in The New York Times that by using her English producers to soften her raw Southern soul style, discarding the "blaring horns, frenzied percussion and gospel calls and responses", the album became a "landmark" in the "evolution of pop-soul music".[1]

Michael Lydon, in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, says that the album's lyrical themes embodied her persona of a "tough, sexy woman schooled in a tough world", and that her vocal delivery overcomes the slick production, with her "indomitable soul" unifying the multiple producers.[11] In 1989, the album was ranked #46 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 100 Greatest Albums of the '80s. In 2003, the TV network VH1 named Private Dancer the 95th greatest album of all time. Slant Magazine listed the album at #63 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s" saying "Both a personal liberation and sonic redemption, Private Dancer established Turner not only as a genuine diva, but a bona fide force of nature".[12]

Track listing[edit]

Original US vinyl/cassette edition[edit]

Side one
  1. "I Might Have Been Queen" (Hine, Obstoj) – 4:10
  2. "What's Love Got to Do with It" (Britten, Lyle) – 3:49
  3. "Show Some Respect" (Britten, Shifrin) – 3:18
  4. "I Can't Stand the Rain" (Bryant, Miller, Peebles) – 3:41
  5. "Better Be Good to Me" (Chapman, Chinn, Knight) – 5:10
Side two
  1. "Let's Stay Together" (Green, Jackson, Mitchell) – 5:16
  2. "1984" (Bowie) – 3:09
  3. "Steel Claw" (Brady) – 3:48
  4. "Private Dancer" (Knopfler) – 7:11

Original international edition[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I Might Have Been Queen"   Jeanette Obstoj, Rupert Hine, Jamie West-Oram Tina Turner* 4:10
2. "What's Love Got to Do with It"   Terry Britten, Graham Lyle 3:48
3. "Show Some Respect"   Britten, Sue Shifrin 3:18
4. "I Can't Stand the Rain"   Ann Peebles, Don Bryant, Bernard Miller 3:41
5. "Private Dancer"   Mark Knopfler 7:11
6. "Let's Stay Together"   Willie Mitchell, Al Green, Al Jackson, Jr. 5:16
7. "Better Be Good to Me"   Holly Knight, Nicky Chinn, Mike Chapman 5:11
8. "Steel Claw"   Paul Brady 3:48
9. "Help!"   John Lennon, Paul McCartney 4:30
10. "1984"   David Bowie 3:09

Remastered editions[edit]



Charts and certifications[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Winner Category
1985 "Better Be Good to Me" Best Female Rock Vocal Performance
1985 "What's Love Got to Do with It?" Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
1985 "What's Love Got to Do with It?" Record of the Year
1985 "What's Love Got to Do with It?" Song of the Year

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Stephen Holden (2012). "Tina Turner News". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Passings: Bill Summers, John S. Carter, Ruth C. Cole". Los Angeles Times 24 May 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b Debby Miller (5 July 1984). "Tina Turner: Private Dancer : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Official Tina Turner Fan Club Biography
  5. ^ Tina Turner Biography
  6. ^ Almusic review
  7. ^
  8. ^ Tina Turner, Kurt Loder (1 Sep 1986). I, Tina. Morrow. p. 219. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  9. ^ Robert Christgau. "Robert Christgau: CG: Tina Turner". Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Alex Henderson (2012). "Private Dancer - Tina Turner : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Michael Lydon (5 Dec 2011). 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die. Hachette UK. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s | Feature". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2014-05-22. 
  13. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Tina Turner – Private Dancer". Music Canada. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  14. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
  15. ^ "French album certifications – Tina Turner – Private Dancer" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 29 March 2012.  Select TINA TURNER and click OK
  16. ^ "Les Albums Or :" (in French). Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  17. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Tina Turner; 'Private Dancer')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  18. ^ "British album certifications – Tina Turner – Private Dancer". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 7 April 2012.  Enter Private Dancer in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  19. ^ "American album certifications – Tina Turner – Private Dancer". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 1 April 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]