What’s Love Got to Do with It
Writer(s): Graham Lyle, Terry Britten (see lyrics here)
Released: May 1, 1984
First Charted: May 19, 1984
Peak: 13 US, 13 CB, 2 RR, 8 AC, 2 RB, 51 AR, 3 UK, 13 CN, 11 AU, 4 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.4 UK, 1.5 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 105.8 video, 447.46 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Ike and Tina Turner were an active recording duo from 1960 to 1976 scoring notable R&B and pop songs with “River Deep – Mountain High” and their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary.” The pair married in 1962 and after years of spousal abuse, Tina left with “36 cents, a gasoline charge card and the clothes she was wearing.” FB After their split, Tina little success with solo releases in the latter half of the ‘70s and it looked like her career might be over.
However, in 1983 a remake of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” was a surprise #3 R&B hit and top 30 pop song. It launched what some have called the greatest comeback in rock history. The follow-song, “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” went to #1 on the pop charts, making Tina – then 44 – the oldest solo female artist to top the Billboard Hot 100. WK It also set a record for the longest time between the first chart entry by an artist (Ike & Tina Turner’s “A Fool in Love” in 1960) and first #1 hit. SF Billboard ranked it the #2 song of 1984, only behind Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”
The song was written from the point of view of someone who enjoys the physical aspects of a relationship, but doesn’t want the emotional attachment. Before it fell in Turner’s hands, it was offered to Cliff Richard, Phyllis Hyman, Donna Summer, and British pop group Bucks Fizz. The latter recorded it in 1984, but didn’t release it after Turner’s became a hit. She initially balked at recording the anti-love song but her manager, Roger Davies, was convinced it would be a hit. SF
Turner “invests the song with one of the most passionate vocal performances of her career.” AMG Mark Millan of the Daily Vault called it “three minutes and 48 seconds of pop perfection.” WK People magazine noted that the song had “the characteristic flair and energy that have made Tina the envy of every singer this side of Aretha.” WK The song took home Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. MTV gave her the Best Female Video award for the song in 1985. The song was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
First posted 11/26/2020; last updated 10/28/2022.