Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It” is perhaps the most played song on the radio I can remember. I swear, in 1984-85 I’m not sure I ever heard 45 minutes of radio without this coming on.
That’s not a complaint.
It was popular—as in Tina Turner is dominating the Grammy’s popular. This song won three Grammys in 1985: Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Turner also won the MTV award for Best Female Video.
Anyway, even without knowing Turner’s story on her abusive past, I was all kinds of into this song as a 13-year old. Turner had a sassiness to her voice I liked hearing, and being extremely hot middle-aged woman when this came out didn’t hurt either.
As I got older and learned about Turner I came to appreciate her even more. A star in the 1960s with her husband Ike, Tina had sort of faded into obscurity since her big “Proud Mary” (cover song) hit in 1971. She endured years of beatings by Ike before finally getting divorced in the mid 70s and stayed out of the spotlight until this song became her comeback hit.
I suppose if you’re the hopeless romantic type the lyrics won’t suit you so well, as the song is about her being intimate but having zero emotional connection with her suitor. To that I say, whatever—there’s worse things in life.
Chart Success: Not surprisingly, this song reached number-one on the Billboard Top 100 and stayed at the top for three weeks before being supplanted by John Waite’s “Missing You”. It finished 1984 second on the year-end Billboard Top 100 (“When Doves Cry” by Prince was number one) and finished the decade 20th on the Billboard charts.
Great Lyrics: Tina was out there looking for a booty call.
“What’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken”
Fun Fact: According to Songfacts.com, Turner wasn’t a fan of recording this song. The page says “It’s really an anti-love song, and Turner hated it. She balked at recording it, but had the good sense to defer to her manager, Roger Davies, who was engineering her comeback and was sure the song would be a hit. Davis got the song from his friends, the songwriters Terry Britten and Graham Lyle (who was in the duo Gallagher and Lyle), and it was Britten who produced the track.”
100. Hall & Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can D0)
99. Michael McDonald – I Keep Forgetting
97. The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Does Is Magic
96. Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach
94. Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
93. Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
92. Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
91. Night Ranger – Sister Christian
89. Journey – Don’t Stop Believing
87. Debbie Gibson – Foolish Beat
86. Glen Mederios – Nothing’s Going To Change My Love For You
85. John Cougar – Jack and Diane
81. Billy Squier – Everybody Wants You
80. Debbie Gibson – Only In My Dreams
79. Shelia E. – The Glamorous Life
77. Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All
76. Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson – Say Say Say
75. Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
74. Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It
73. Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie
72. The Police – Every Breathe You Take
71. Survivor – The Search Is Over
70. REO Speedwagon – Keep On Loving You
69. Hall & Oates – You Make My Dreams
68. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
67. Kenny Loggins – Meet Me Halfway
66. Irene Cara – Flashdance…What A Feeling