Tina Turner’s Solo Career Started With a Song About Love

Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 for their contributions to music as a duo. From “It’s Gonna Work Out” and “Get Back” to their singles inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, “Proud Mary” and “River Deep Mountain High,” their impact on R&B, Soul, and Rock is unparalleled. Yet, Tina Turner’s solo career has been unjustly undervalued. Her absence from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as an individual act is a travesty and an insult to her later celebrated musical accomplishments. 

Tina Turner
Tina Turner | Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

From “Private Dancer” and “The Best,” several of Tina Turner’s Billboard-topping hits feature just the Queen of Rock — sans Ike. However, her solo career, ironically, started with a romantic song written and originally performed by Al Green. 

Tina Turner covered Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together,’ kickstarting her solo career in 1983

“Let’s Stay Together” is a song written and performed by Al Green, who released the title in 1972. The song was originally produced and recorded by Willie Mitchell and mixed by Mitchell and Terry Manning. Tina Turner covered the song in 1983 — and her version is widely deemed the hit that kickstarted her solo career. 

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The song served as Turner’s comeback single, charting at number 26 on the US Hot 100 in 1983. This was the third time Turner reached the UK Top 10, but the first two times were for songs that also featured her former husband, Ike Turner. At the time, the song was the most successful solo album Turner had released to date. With lyrics like “I’m so in love with you” and “loving you forever is what I need,” songs don’t get much more lovey-dovey.

The song was included on Turner’s album Private Dancer, which came out a few months later, and cemented her continued presence in the industry. 

Tina Turner’s Private Dancer album features several of the artist’s most-celebrated tunes 

The Private Dancer album, which came out mere months after Turner released her Al Green cover, went on to carry Turner into the mid-1980s and beyond. From “Private Dancer” and “I Can’t Stand the Rain” to “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” and “Better Be Good to Me,” the album features several of Turner’s top Billboard hits all in one place. 

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Who would have thought, after a tumultuous marriage fraught with emotional and physical abuse, that a love song would be the catalyst to Turner’s solo musical journey? In the end, she emerged from her marriage and musical partnership stronger than ever with tunes more than worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame.