Private Dancer (Tina Turner song)

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"Private Dancer"
Cover art for U.S. vinyl releases
Single by Tina Turner
from the album Private Dancer
B-side"Keep Your Hands Off My Baby or Nutbush City Limits (Live)"
ReleasedOctober 28, 1984
  • 7:11 (album version)
  • 3:57 (single edit)
Songwriter(s)Mark Knopfler
Tina Turner singles chronology
"Better Be Good to Me"
"Private Dancer"
"I Can't Stand the Rain"
Music video
"Private Dancer" on YouTube

"Private Dancer" is a song made famous in 1984 by American singer Tina Turner. First recorded by British rock band Dire Straits, it was written by the group's lead vocalist Mark Knopfler and produced by John Carter for Turner's fifth solo album of the same name. Released as the album's fifth single, the track reached number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the US R&B chart. The song had moderate international success, reaching number 26 on the UK Singles Chart.


The song was intended for Dire Straits' fourth album Love over Gold. The instruments were recorded, but Mark Knopfler considered the lyrics unsuitable for a male singer, so the track was dropped from the project.[1][2] Legal restrictions prevented the original recording being used by Tina Turner, so two years later it was remade by members of Dire Straits. Terry Williams replaced the original drummer Pick Withers. Knopfler did not appear on the track and was replaced by Jeff Beck. Turner told DJ Roger Scott:

Roger [Turner's manager] knows Knopfler's manager Ed Bicknell, and Bicknell said, 'I think Mark has a song that could fit Tina, that he never used because he thought it was a song for a girl.' Mark produced the song and sang it, and after he did it he felt that it was not a song for a man, so it was just sitting on the shelf… He gave me the track and I copied it with Dire Straits people – most of them. At first I was going to try to just put my voice on Mark's tapes, but there was a record company problem, so we got Mark's musicians, Dire Straits, and went into the studio... Someone said, 'Why did you select "Private Dancer"? It's a song about a hooker. Is it because you've been a hooker?' And I was shocked... I didn't see her as a hooker... I can be naive about some of these things. But actually the answer is no. I took it because it was an unusual song. I'd never sung a song like it. And I wish you could hear Mark's version of it. He's got a very English-sounding voice... and it was really quite beautiful.... A very arty song... so I put the old soulful touch on it.[3]

Knopfler once said the song was ruined due to "them drafting in Jeff Beck to play the world's second-ugliest guitar solo".[4]

Critical reception[edit]

The Daily Vault's Mark Millan wrote, "It's a sexy, dark track that gives the album an edge and also a chance for Turner's powerful sexuality to sparkle."[5]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Private Dancer", featuring dance choreography by Arlene Phillips, was directed by Brian Grant and filmed at London's Rivoli Ballroom.[6] It features Turner as a disillusioned taxi dancer, although the song has also been interpreted as being sung from the perspective of a prostitute.[7] The video was later published on Turner's official YouTube channel in March 2009. It has amassed more than 34,9 million views as of October 2021.[8]


Versions and mixes[edit]

  • 7-inch edit – 3:54
  • Album version – 7:11
  • The album version was remastered in 2015. The song remained the same length and is titled "Private Dance – 2015 Remaster."


Cover versions[edit]

American singer-songwriter, rapper, and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello recorded a cover version of the song for her album Ventriloquism, released on March 16, 2018.[26]

In 2015, Canadian electronic musician and performance artist Peaches performed a piano version of the song on The Strombo Show at the home of George Stroumboulopoulos. Peaches had previously played the song live at different concerts.[27]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2012-07-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Song Search for "private dancer"". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  3. ^ Pidgeon, John: Classic Albums: Interviews from the Radio One Series (BBC, 1991): pp178-179
  4. ^ "The worst guitar solo in the world". stuff. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  5. ^ Millan, Mark (8 February 2011). "Private Dancer – Tina Turner". The Daily Vault. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Tina Turner – Private Dancer". Discogs. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  7. ^ Shepherd, John; Horn, David; Laing, Dave; Oliver, Paul; Wicke, Peter (8 May 2003). Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World Part 1 Performance and Production. A&C Black. p. 664. ISBN 978-1-84714-472-0.
  8. ^ "Tina Turner – Private Dancer". YouTube. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  9. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. Australia: St Ives, N.S.W. : Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  10. ^ "Tina Turner – Private Dancer" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9647." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  12. ^ "Singlet 1985-02 helmikuu" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Private Dancer". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Tina Turner" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  15. ^ "Tina Turner – Private Dancer" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  16. ^ "Tina Turner – Private Dancer". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  17. ^ Fernando Salaverri (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  18. ^ "Tina Turner: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  19. ^ "Tina Turner Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  20. ^ "Tina Turner Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  21. ^ "Tina Turner Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  22. ^ "Tina Turner - Top Titel" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  23. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1984" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  24. ^ "Jaaroverzichten - Single 1984" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  25. ^ a b "The Year in Music: 1985" (PDF). Billboard. December 28, 1985. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  26. ^ "Review: Meshell Ndegeocello, 'Ventriloquism'". Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  27. ^ "Peaches covers 'Private Dancer' – and it's beautiful". DangerousMinds. 2011-12-13. Retrieved 2018-05-10.

External links[edit]