Such was Turner’s confidence, the fact that Bonnie Tyler’s version was less than a year old never fazed her. “It’s an old-school approach,” Knight says. “It never bothered her because she knew that, when she got her hands on it, she was going to make it her own. A good song can be played in any number of ways and produced any number of ways and still really shine, so I don’t think she ever worried about that.
“I’ll tell you something fantastic about Tina,” Knight continues. “She always copied the demos to a T. Anything that we would throw in, she used it all… I loved that about her because I can’t tell you how many times I would hand a hit song to a producer, and they would change it – I don’t know if it was an ego thing or if they felt like they were putting their stamp on it – only to fuck it up… So if we did a demo, yeah, it was rough, it was simple. It didn’t have all the bells and whistles. But it had the essence of what the tune was about. And Tina was always able to extract that. So that was part of her input.”
“The Best just hit the motherlode”
Released on 2 September 1989, two weeks ahead of the Foreign Affair album, The Best left no uncertainty over Turner’s status as the “Queen Of Rock’n’Roll”. Beyond its earworm melodies and Turner’s soaring performance, however, the song’s life-affirming message – simple, direct and heartfelt – immediately connected with fans and casual listeners alike.
“I didn’t write a lot of ballads because I was a rocker,” Knight says. “A lot of times, when you’re writing something that’s positive, it can sound a bit vanilla – oh, this is so goody-goody. How do you say something that sounds beautiful? That is so well-written it just hits you in the heart? One of the things is: you have to be real. You have to come from a very honest place and be willing to – whether it’s show your warts or your flaws – be relatable. And I think, in a positive way, The Best just hit the motherlode.”