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Best Tina Turner Songs: 20 Classics From The Queen Of Rock’n’Roll
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List & Guides

Best Tina Turner Songs: 20 Classics From The Queen Of Rock’n’Roll

From gritty ballads to gospel-infused funk’n’roll, the best Tina Turner songs established her as an era-defining legend.


With a career spanning over half a century, and hits that range from pop to rock, R&B and soul, Tina Turner is a musical powerhouse who has inspired generations of musicians and fans alike. Born Anna Mae Bullock on 26 November 1939, in Brownsville, Tennessee, Turner’s first connection with music was in church, where, like many of the great vocalists, she sang in the choir. She began her musical career performing alongside Ike Turner, who would later become her husband. There’s no doubt that Ike and Tina Turner were a formidable duo who helped shape soul music in the 60s, but Turner was a musical force to be reckoned with all by herself. From the very beginning, her raw, gritty voice stood out from the crowd, and she could belt out songs at the top of her lungs, ensuring everyone heard her message. That voice took her from the studio to the stage, the big screen and the theatre, and ensured that the best Tina Turner songs still stand the test of time.

Listen to the best of Tina Turner here, and check out our best Tina Turner songs, below.

20: Ooh Poo Pah Doo (with Ike Turner) (1971)

Initially written and recorded by Jessie Hill, Ooh Poo Pah Doo was covered by numerous artists, and Ike and Tina Turner gave it a go on a number of occasions, featuring the song on 1965’s Live! The Ike & Tina Turner Show before cutting it in the studio for 1970’s Workin’ Together. Released as a single in 1971, Ooh Poo Pah Doo hit No.31 on the Billboard R&B chart. Heavy piano keys provide the intro to this funky blues track, with Tina’s vocals adding the spirit and soul.

19: Whatever You Want (1996)

This spellbinding track served as the lead single for Turner’s ninth solo album, Wildest Dreams. Though it enjoyed moderate commercial success, Whatever You Want earns a spot among the best Tina Turner songs thanks to its orchestral arrangement, dynamic production and Turner’s powerful vocals. Almost four decades after gaining commercial success alongside Ike, Turner proved she still had what it took to create great music.

18: It’s Gonna Work Out Fine (with Ike Turner) (1961)

Lifted for single release from Ike and Tina’s second album, Dynamite!, It’s Gonna Work Out Fine earned the duo their first Grammy nomination, for Best Rock & Roll Recording. A back-and-forth between two lovers reminiscing about their past, present and future, the cool, gospel-infused groove was one of Ike and Tina’s biggest hits.

17: I Idolize You (1960)

Written and produced by Ike, with Tina leading on vocals, I Idolize You is a classic blues jam sprinkled with soul. Tina’s raspy, intense vocals contrast beautifully with the smoothness of the beat and the soothing melodies of The Ikettes – The Ike And Tina Turner Revue’s backing vocalists. As the second single from Ike and Tina’s debut studio album, The Soul Of Ike & Tina Turner, the song shares some similarities with A Fool In Love, one of the first songs the duo recorded together. They later re-recorded it for their 1969 album River Deep – Mountain High.

16: We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) (1985)

Hot on the heels of the success of her Private Dancer album, Turner recorded We Don’t Need Another Hero for the 1985 blockbuster Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. She also starred in the film, alongside Mel Gibson, and received an NAACP Image Award For Outstanding Actress In A Motion Picture. Securing its place among the best Tina Turner songs, We Don’t Need Another Hero earned the singer a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song. Laced with dramatic lyrics penned by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, the power ballad was the perfect canvas for Turner to show off the strength and range of her voice.

15: I Don’t Wanna Lose You (1989)

A pop-infused ballad with lyrics that speak honestly about a woman’s experiences with love, heartbreak, betrayal and fleeting moments of passion, I Don’t Wanna Lose You is, as ever, bolstered by Turner’s vocals, which adds further emotion and passion to the song. Appearing on Turner’s 1989 album, Foreign Affair, it was also a Top 10 single in the UK and in Belgium.

14:  Baby, Get It On (with Ike Turner) (1976)

A big disco number with Ike and Tina’s notable funky take on rock’n’roll, Baby, Get It On was the first single to be released from Tina Turner’s 1975 solo album, Acid Queen. The song is distinctive for a number of reasons, including the fact it features vocals from Ike, who usually stuck to producing the duo’s hits. It was also one of the last records recorded by the pair before their musical and personal separation.

13: I Don’t Wanna Fight (1993)

Turner recorded this single for her 1993 biopic, What’s Love Got To Do With It, and it has subsequently appeared on various compilation albums, including 2005’s All The Best. Bold, dramatic and cinematic, this groovy 90s love ballad is the perfect concoction for a Hollywood movie, while Turner’s voice is decidedly more mature and fuller than before. Immediately taking its place among the best Tina Turner songs, I Don’t Wanna Fight charted at No.9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and subsequently garnered several Grammy nominations.

12: Private Dancer (1984)

Written by Mark Knopfler, of Dire Straits, Private Dancer was initially recorded for his group’s 1982 album, Love Over Gold. Deciding that the lyrics were unsuitable for a male vocalist, Knopfler dropped the song, making way for Turner to give it the treatment only she could give, claiming it as one of the best Tina Turner songs in the process. Edgy and sensual, her version appeared on the Private Dancer album and was accompanied by a music video featuring the singer as a disillusioned ballroom dancer.

11: GoldenEye (1995)

One of Tina’s many soundtrack contributions, GoldenEye was originally recorded for the 17th James Bond movie, and appeared on Turner’s Wildest Dreams album, released the following year. Written by U2’s Bono and The Edge, this smooth and sultry track remains one of the best James Bond theme songs, thanks in no small part to Turner’s unique voice.

10: Better Be Good To Me (1984)

After half a decade of silence, Tina Turner made an explosive re-entry into the music world in 1984. Recording her fifth studio album, Private Dancer, at the age of 44, Turner’s comeback marked an empowering moment for women everywhere – and ushered in the age of her razor-sharp hairdo and bold new attitude. Taken from Private Dancer, Better Be Good To Me is a cool, smooth rock ballad which peaked at No.5 on the Billboard Hot 100, earning its place among the best Tina Turner songs. It also scored a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 1985.

9: Acid Queen (1976)

Time and again, Turner has proven herself worthy of the title of Queen Of Rock And Roll, and her rendition of Acid Queen, released as a single from her Ike Turner-produced second solo album, Acid Queen, is one of those remarkable moments. The album was inspired by Tina’s role as The Acid Queen in the 1975 film version of The Who’s Tommy, and the title track’s release marked a poignant moment in her career: it was the last single she issued before leaving both the Ike And Tina Turner Revue and her abusive husband.

8: It’s Only Love (with Bryan Adams) (1984)

Peaking at No.15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and featuring on Bryan Adams’ multi-million selling 1984 album, Reckless, this phenomenal rock duet showcases both singers’ gritty vocals, paired with screeches, ad-libs and harmonies. Turner recorded her own version of the song for her 1988 live album, Tina Live In Europe, while the original single’s music video was filmed during a live performance on Turner’s 1985 Private Dancer tour, winning Best Stage Performance In A Video at the 1986 MTV Awards.

7: Typical Male (1986)

Also standing among the best Tina Turner songs of the 80s, Typical Male was the first single from her 1986 album, Break Every Rule, and narrowly missed out on Billboard’s No.1 spot. Keyboards dominate this funky, electro-pop track, while Turner brings all the drama with her vocals, celebrating feminine power and seduction.

6: Tonight (with David Bowie) (1984)

Originally written by David Bowie for Iggy Pop’s 1977 album, Lust For Life, Bowie gave the song a reggae overhaul and made it the title track of his 1984 album, drafting Turner in for a duet. The two icons performed the song live on a number of occasions, including during Turner’s concert at the National Exhibition Centre, in Birmingham, in 1985. That version would go on to appear on Tina Live In Europe.

5: The Best (1989)

You haven’t lived if you’ve not found yourself belting out “You’re simply the best, better than all the rest”. One of the best love songs ever, this empowering ballad was initially recorded by Bonnie Tyler in 1988, before Turner claimed it the following year for her album Foreign Affair. At the age of 50, Turner showed no sign of slowing down and proved she could still put out great music that could rank among the best Tina Turner songs.

4: River Deep – Mountain High (with Ike Turner) (1966)

This uptempo song was originally met with a lukewarm reception, especially in the US – white stations dismissed it as R&B and refused to give it airtime; black stations considered the track to be “too white”. Now rightly hailed as a classic, it has been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and named one of the 500 greatest songs of all time by both NME and Rolling Stone. Tina’s dynamic vocals carry the track, alongside the backing vocalists and over 20 musicians who brought it together.

3: Proud Mary (with Ike Turner) (1971)

One of Ike and Tina’s most iconic songs, Proud Mary won the pair a Grammy for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group; it also sold over a million copies worldwide and hit No.4 on the Hot 100. Written by John Fogerty, the song was initially recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969, but soon became a staple of the Ike And Tina Turner Revue – and, later, a mainstay in Tina’s solo setlist. Live performances captured on What You Hear Is What You Get and Live In Paris: Olympia 1971 begin at a slow pace before Ike and Tina assault their audiences with an explosion of funk, rock and gospel.

2: What’s Love Got To Do With It? (1984)

Tina Turner’s only Billboard chart-topper, What’s Love Got To Do With It? also scored three Grammys: Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2012, the mellow, jazzy ballad, paired with Turner’s raspy voice, remains one of the best Tina Turner songs of all time, and cemented the singer as a musical icon. It later gave its name to Turner’s 1993 biopic, starring Angela Bassett as the defiant, era-defining singer.

1: Let’s Stay Together (1983)

Turner’s cover of Al Green’s 1972 hit Let’s Stay Together served as her comeback moment following her split from Ike and her stint singing in ballrooms across the US. Topping our list of the best Tina Turner songs, it broke the UK Top 10, hit No.1 on the US Dance Chart and setting Turner on the path of superstardom. Included on the following year’s Private Dancer album, Let’s Stay Together proved that Tina Turner would never go away.

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