Tina Turner is the definition of an icon. Starting her career in 1958 as a featured singer with Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm, she stepped into the spotlight properly when she joined forces with Ike for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in 1960. The pair married in 1962 and their tumultuous, and abusive, marriage has been well-documented. Following their divorce in 1978, Turner properly launched her solo career in 1984 with Private Dancer, an album that was certified 5x Platinum in the US and 3x Platinum in the UK. Her success continued with hits such as What’s Love Got To Do With It, Private Dancer, We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) and The Best. On the eve of her 80th birthday, Turner’s iconic 1991 greatest hits collection Simply the Best has been reissued on vinyl.
Originally released in 1991, Simply the Best was a hit across the world hitting 8x Platinum in the UK alone. The first greatest hits collection from Turner, the release contains Turner’s most popular songs from her solo comeback in the 80s through to the early 90s. It opens, fittingly, with The Best (not Simply the Best as the song is often incorrectly named) and the minute you hear Turner’s distinctive and powerful voice you’re drawn in. There’s no denying she’s influenced plenty of female singers that came after her (yes we’re looking at you Beyonce) and she ripped up the rule book for female singers. Leaning much more into rock than many of her contemporaries, she built on her legacy with her solo career and elevated it to the next level.
With Turner having been retired for a number of years now, it’s easy to forget just how many hits she has and what a force of nature she was during her career. 1985’s I Can’t Stand the Rain, taken from Private Dancer, allows Turner’s iconic voice to soar with sparse instrumentation and it was sampled by Missy Elliott for her song The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) in 1997. 1984’s What’s Love Got To Do With It is one of Turner’s most recognisable hits and it still sounds incredible 35 years on, while 1985’s We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) taken from Max Max Beyond Thunderdome, which Turner starred in alongside Mel Gibson, set the standard for soundtrack cuts that followed.
The hits come thick and fast on Simply the Best, and they showcase Turner’s remarkable versatility. Her version of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together shows her soulful side, the rocky Steamy Windows highlights her seductive side, and River Deep – Mountain High is Turner in full-on diva mode. The catchy Private Dancer, a song that broke taboos on its release, has aged very well and it sounds crisp and fresh on vinyl.
Simply the Best also housed new tracks and a live version of Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love. Nutbush City Limits was given a 90s remix, Rod Stewart features on a cover of Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston’s It Takes Two, and the final three tracks on the album – I Want You Near Me, Way of the World and Love Thing – were all released as singles to promote the original release of Simply the Best. Of the three Love Thing is the standout, taking Turner back to her rock roots and providing a platform for the husky, gorgeous tone of hers to let rip.
The new vinyl reissue of Simply the Best is available as a limited edition blue double LP-set and a standard black double LP set. Both are gatefold and feature the original Herb Ritts artwork. It’s pressed onto 140g vinyl and to my ears, these songs have never sounded better.
Simply the Best is a must-have LP for your collection. These songs are iconic, classic and timeless, and they should be part of everyone’s vinyl stash. Tina Turner is one of those once-in-a-lifetime artists and her impact on the music world was hugely significant. Listening to all of these classic songs is a timely reminder of just how incredible she is and it makes you wish she was still recording now. With no filler in sight, Simply the Best is quite possibly the best greatest hits collection of all-time.
Track list: Side A – 1. The Best 2. I Can’t Stand the Rain 3. What’s Love Got To Do With It 4. I Don’t Wanna Lose You 5. Let’s Stay Together Side B – 1. Steamy Windows 2. Typical Male 3. We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) 4. Private Dancer 5. Better Be Good To Me Side C – 1. Nutbush City Limits (The 90s Version) 2. It Takes Two (duet with Rod Stewart) 3. River Deep – Mountain High 4. Be Tender With Me Baby Side D – 1. Addicted to Love (live) 2. I Want You Near Me 3. Way of the World 4. Love Thing Record label: Rhino Release date: 22nd November 2019 Buy Simply the Best