On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Tina Turner – Private Dancer (1984)
We’re staying in the US, dear reader, but making our way over to Tennessee today. Tina Turner previously appeared on our list in 1966 with River Deep – Mountain High, credited also to her former husband Ike Turner. When we join Turner in 1984 she is a solo artist with Ike now old news. Many would argue that was a good thing. Turner hasn’t looked back though and her fifth album, Private Dancer, has been released. 1001 Songs have gone with the title track.
Originally written by Mark Knopfler and intended for Dire Straits, Private Dancer was scrapped with Knopfler insisting that the vocal belonged to a woman. Tina Turner ended up being offered the track and although music had been recorded, a legal issue meant it needed to be rerecorded in the studio. Dire Straits duly stepped in to back Turner with a track that focuses on what sounds like an exotic dancer. She describes the myriad of men that come into the club to watch her dance. She doesn’t know their names but dances all the same, earning good money as she goes along. She has dreams of better things such as marriage and a family but for now this is where she finds herself.
The Private Dancer album proved to be a breakthrough for Tina Turner and proof she didn’t need Ike to thrive in the music world. Helped by the likes of What’s Love Got to Do With It? the album sold well and was critically acclaimed. Private Dancer is a poignant and heartrending piece thanks to Turner’s powerful vocals while the inclusion of a sax solo is always a welcome treat. Though still active today with various projects at 80 years young, Turner retired from performing in 2009.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
Ultravox – Vienna (1980)
Don Henley – The Boys of Summer (1984)
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)