Better Be Good To Me (1984)

Tina Turner - Better Be Good To Me - Single

Better Be Good To Me is a rock song, originally from the US band Spider and the fourth single from the album Private Dancer. Tina promoted the song at several tv shows in Europe and America and performed it live at every concert tour. Live versions are available on the album Live In Europe from 1988 and TINA Live from 2009. The previously unreleased b-side track „When I Was Young“ is a cover from Eric Burdon and was already recorded and produced by John Carter in 1982. For this vocal performance, Tina won her third solo Grammy Award in 1985.

Writer: Holly Knight, Mike Chapman
Producer: Rupert Hine
Release: August ’84 (USA) / September '84 (UK) / January '85 (Germany)
Label: Capitol / EMI
Format: 7“ Vinyl (picture) / 12“ Vinyl / Cassette
Charts: USA: #5 / UK: #45 / Germany: #52
Grammy: Best Rock Vocal Performance Female (1985)

7“ Vinyl Single
  1. Better Be Good To Me (Edit) 3:40
  2. Written by Holly Knight, Nick Chinn, Mike Chapman / Produced by Rupert Hine for Gestalt
  3. When I Was Young (Previously Unreleased) 3:11
  4. Written by Eric Burdon / Produced by John Carter
12“ Vinyl Maxi
  1. Better Be Good To Me (Extended Version) 7:47
  2. When I Was Young (Previously Unreleased) 3:11
12“ Vinyl Promo
  1. Better Be Good To Me (Live) 4:36
  2. Better Be Good To Me (Live) 4:36
  3. Recorded live at Park West, Chicago 1984 / Mobile Recording by Westwood One
  1. Better Be Good To Me (Extended Dance Edit) 8:53
  2. Hot Tracks: Remix by Steve Algozino
Holly Knight

This is the first song I ever wrote with Mike Chapman and it was a life changing moment for me, the whole experience. (The writing credits also include Mike’s longtime partner, Nicky Chinn, but the truth is Nicky wasn’t in the country when we wrote Better be Good To Me. Because of his contractual agreements with Mike, I had to agree to let his name go on as a writer. I was never happy about that). My band Spider was in the finishing stages of the second record, and I wanted Mike to produce a track this time. (I had always wanted Mike to produce us from the beginning, but he had other commitments so he designated Peter Coleman, his longtime engineer as our producer). I thought that if I wrote the song with Mike, I could convince him to produce the track as well, which he did. It was soon after its release, when I left Spider that it was played to Tina Turner in an A & R meeting at Capitol Records. Legend has it that she jumped out of her seat and said, 'this is it, this is what I want to sing, and the message I’ve been wanting to say'. Nine songs later, it has been my experience that Tina does not like to sing songs where she is perceived as a victim. She only wants to sing positive, empowering songs. I love that about her.


Click / Tap on any picture to open it in full-size view

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Music Video

The music video was filmed in June 1984 at the Beverly Theater in Los Angeles, while Tina took a day off from her tour with Lionel Richie. It was packed with fans, invited to the venue by advertisements on local radio stations and shows Tina with a black leather jacket and trousers together with her band (including guitarist Jamie West-Oram from the British rock band The Fixx) on stage. Cy Curnin dances the part of Turner's mendacious lover, which was choreographed by Toni Basil. A short version of the clip was originally released on the Private Dancer EP on VHS, but is also available on the Simply The Best video collection on DVD. A longer and officially never released version shows more of Curnin’s special appearance.

The American music magazine CashBox reported on July 07, 1984 about making the video and mentioned in their article, that also a music video for the song „I Might Have Been Queen“ was filmed, although this song was never released as a single.

Director: Brian Grant
Producer: Adrian Irving
Home VideoSimply The Best (DVD)
Time: 4:03

CashBox Review

September 15, 1984

This third single from Tina Turner’s sensational „Private Dancer“ LP for Capitol is certain to become its third hit. Turner’s inimitible rough sassiness is rougher and sassier than ever on this cut, with a gutsiness that illustrates Turner’s uncontested stature as rock's first lady. Better Be Good To Me grinds with a menacing beat that rolls and charges with the energized Turner vocal. A certain CHR winner, Better Be Good To Me should see chart action to match its strength as a first class rocker.

Previous: What's Love Got To Do With It (1984)

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Next: Private Dancer (1984)