Top 10 Tina Turner Songs

25 May 2023 | 10:02 am | Mary Varvaris

To celebrate the lifetime of hits released by Tina Turner, we’ve rounded up her Top 10 songs.

Photo of Tina Turner

Photo of Tina Turner (Source: Facebook)

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Today, we mourn a true music great: Tina Turner. The American-born rock and roll singer shaped not only the music world with her era-defining hits but soundtracked the childhoods of generations.

Born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, Tina Turner found early success in July 1960 with a hit alongside her ex-husband, Ike Turner, A Fool For Love. The duo released more singles and toured consistently from 1963 until 1965. The following year, the pair released the iconic track, River Deep – Mountain High.

By 1969, Turner became a household name after opening for The Rolling Stones on their US tour. In 1971, she found her biggest hit to date in the Ike & Tina Turner cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic, Proud Mary. The couple released Nutbush City Limits in 1973 – a classic here in Australia. In July 1976, Tina Turner applied for divorce from Ike after suffering from his abuse for 16 years. She detailed the marriage, divorce and how she rebuilt her life in her 1986 biography, I, Tina: My Life Story.

The 80s provided Turner’s resurgence. In 1984, she released the Private Dancer album, featuring the song of the same name and monolith single, What’s Love Got To Do With It. In 1985, she starred in her first film in ten years, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and provided two songs for the movie: We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) and One Of The Living. 1989 saw the release of her international #1 single, The Best.

Tina Turner passed away at age 83 in her Swiss home following a long illness. She had spoken of her battle with kidney disease on Instagram in March to bring awareness to the issue. To celebrate the lifetime of hits released by Tina Turner, we’ve rounded up her Top 10 songs.

10. Private Dancer

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Private Dancer was written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame and was originally recorded by the band. In anybody else’s hands (or voice), Private Dancer could come across as cheesy or sleazy. In Tina Turner’s hands, though, it’s an empowering hit.

9. Typical Male

Typical Male was the first single from her 1986 album, Break Every Rule. Written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, Turner made the track into a funk-rock banger that powered up the dancefloors and stages alike.

8. I Can’t Stand The Rain

Tina Turner knows how to nail a cover. Originally released by Ann Peebles in 1973, Turner covered I Can’t Stand The Rain in 1984. Turner’s version contains the kind of synth and keyboard work you only hear on pop songs from the 80s, and the grandiosity only she could bring to music.

7. Proud Mary

In 1970, Ike and Tina Turner put their own spin on Creedence Clearwater Revival hit, Proud Mary. They made it completely different to the original, and CCR’s John Fogerty loved it. “I loved her version of Proud Mary! It was different and fantastic. I was also so happy because she chose my song and it was her breakthrough record,” Fogerty wrote on Twitter this morning.

6. Goldeneye

We talk about what the Best Bond Songs are on the regular, and thinking about it now, there’s no competition: Tina Turner not only hit the brief, but she soared over it and redefined the movie soundtrack tune with Goldeneye.

5. Better Be Good To Me

Like its counterpart Private Dancer, Better Be Good To Me wouldn’t work in anybody else’s hands. The fact that it’s such a driving pop/rock song with mega vocals from Turner is an achievement in itself.

4. What’s Love Got To Do With It

What’s Love Got To Do With It is an undeniable song – if you didn’t already know that Tina Turner was back and her solo career would change her life, you did with What’s Love Got To Do With It. A funky pop tune, Turner utilises her vulnerability and toughness to inspire generations with a song that follows heartbreak and destructive patterns.

3. We Don’t Need Another Hero

Like Goldeneye, Tina Turner’s Mad Max hit is a powerful and memorable song to feature in a movie soundtrack. Accompanied by a dramatic music video, her Thunderdome single is a superstar moment in a career filled with them.

2. Nutbush City Limits

Ah, Nutbush City Limits – a song that’s embedded in Australian culture and an infectious, unforgettable tune, Ike & Tina Turner’s 1973 single is packed with a self-aware wit.

Last year, the Birdsville Big Red Bash music festival smashed the world record for the largest Nutbush City Limits dance, gathering 4,000 punters to put their best foot forward and do the iconic Aussie dance. The new world record nearly doubled the previous mark of 2,878 dancers which was set at the 2021 Birdville Big Red Bash.

1. The Best 

Bonus: (Simply) The Best

Despite Nutbush City Limits’ influence on Australian culture, one can’t simply look past The Best. It’s Tina at her very best – a commanding and empowering melody, outstanding vocals, and an underlying feel of soul music.

In 1990, The Best was used in the NSW NRL commercials to great effect. In 1992, the league decided to refresh the ads and go one better, adding in national treasure Jimmy Barnes (and the word Simply in brackets to the title) to collaborate with Tina. (Simply) The Best hit #14 in Australia and became the game’s unofficial national anthem.

In his autobiography Working Class Man, Barnes stated, "In 1992, the NRL asked me if I would consider joining Tina in the TV ads. This meant I would have to travel to Holland to record and make a film clip with her. They would pay me a fortune. I had to bite my lip from laughing. I would have paid them to get me to sing with her. It was one of the great moments of my life to stand next to Tina as she sang in the studio."