Private Dancer (Tina Turner song)
"Private Dancer" is a song by American recording artist Tina Turner. Initially recorded by British rock band Dire Straits, it was written by the group's lead vocalist Mark Knopfler and produced by John Carter for Turner's fifth solo album of the same name. Released as the album's fifth single, the track reached number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the US R&B chart. The song had moderate international success, reaching number 26 on the UK Singles Chart.
Cover art for U.S. vinyl releases
|Single by Tina Turner|
|from the album Private Dancer|
|B-side||"Keep Your Hands Off My Baby"|
|Released||October 28, 1984|
|Tina Turner singles chronology|
The song was originally intended for Dire Straits' album Love over Gold. The instrumental track was recorded, but Mark Knopfler considered the lyrics unsuitable for a male singer, so the track was cut. Legal restrictions prevented the original recording being used by Tina Turner; so, two years later, it was remade by members of the group. Terry Williams replaced the original drummer Pick Withers. Knopfler did not appear on the track and was replaced by Jeff Beck. Turner told DJ Roger Scott:
Roger [Turner's manager] knows Knopfler's manager Ed Bicknell, and Bicknell said, 'I think Mark has a song that could fit Tina, that he never used because he thought it was a song for a girl.' Mark produced the song and sang it, and after he did it he felt that it was not a song for a man, so it was just sitting on the shelf… He gave me the track and I copied it with Dire Straits people – most of them. At first I was going to try to just put my voice on Mark's tapes, but there was a record company problem, so we got Mark's musicians, Dire Straits, and went into the studio... Someone said, 'Why did you select "Private Dancer"? It's a song about a hooker. Is it because you've been a hooker?' And I was shocked... I didn't see her as a hooker... I can be naive about some of these things. But actually the answer is no. I took it because it was an unusual song. I'd never sung a song like it. And I wish you could hear Mark's version of it. He's got a very English-sounding voice... and it was really quite beautiful.... A very arty song... so I put the old soulful touch on it.
Mark Knopfler has said the song was ruined due to "them drafting in Jeff Beck to play the world's second ugliest guitar solo".
The music video, featuring dance choreography by Arlene Phillips, was directed by Brian Grant and filmed at London's Rivoli Ballroom. It features Turner as a disillusioned ballroom dancer, although the song has also been interpreted as being sung from the perspective of a prostitute.
Versions and mixesEdit
- 7" edit – 3:54
- Album version a.k.a. Full Length Mix (12") – 7:11
In 2015, Canadian electronic musician and performance artist Peaches performed a piano version of the song on The Strombo Show at the home of George Stroumboulopoulos. Peaches had previously played the song live at different concerts.
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