Saturday, May 28, 2016

50 years ago: Ike & Tina Turner charted with “River Deep, Mountain High”

River Deep, Mountain High

Ike & Tina Turner

Writer(s): Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector (see lyrics here)

First Charted: May 28, 1966

Peak: 88 US, 91 HR, 1 CL, 3 UK, 57 CN, 14 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 18.1 video, 85.36 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Producer Phil Spector has said this was his best work. WK He wrote the song with the famed writing writing time of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, who also wrote “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and “Leader of the Pack.” Spector was known for his “Wall of Sound” technique in which songs had layers upon layers of sound. The approach made for “very dense recordings that required a strong vocalist to cut through.” SF The song was written specifically for Tina Turner because he knew “her flamethrower voice could handle it.” SF

Spector wanted total control over the production, which meant using his own session musicians. As a result, he paid Ike Turner $20,000 to stay away from the sessions, although his name still appeared on the record. SF Because Spector was such a perfectionist (and abusive), he made Tina sing the song repeatedly for several hours. WK The result? Record World called it “perhaps the greatest single of all time.” WK George Harrison declared it “a perfect record from start to finish. You couldn’t improve on it.” WK

At the time of its release, however, the song didn’t exactly storm the charts. It only reached #88 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ike Turner said “because Tina Turner’s name was on it, the white stations classified it an R&B record and wouldn’t play it. The white stations say it was too black, and the black stations say it was too white, so that record didn’t have a home.” WK Spector was reportedly so disillusioned with the song’s poor performance that he retreated from the recording industry for two years, largely becoming a self-destructive recluse and only returning to the studio intermittently after that. WK

The song did reach the top 20 on the U.S. pop charts and top 10 on the R&B charts in 1970, but it was a version recorded by the Supremes with the Four Tops. The Animals, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, Deep Purple, and Darlene Love have also recorded the song. A version was recorded for the television show Glee reached #41 on the Billboard Hot 100.


Related Links:

First posted 10/7/2021; last updated 7/11/2023.

No comments:

Post a Comment