Tina Turner 1989


The song “The Best” was originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler.

by Christopher Smith

“The Best” was written by Mike Chapman (b.1947) and Holly Knight (b.1960) and recorded by Welsh singer Bonnie “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” Tyler in 1988 and released as the lead single from her album “Hide Your Heart”. Whether it was poor marketing or lack of interest, the song bombed, failing to chart in the UK and the US, where Bonnie had achieved consistent chart success since 1977. It did, it should be pointed out, enter the top ten in Norway and was a minor hit in Finland.

The following year (1989), the song was picked up by Tina Turner and released as the lead single from her album “Foreign Affair”, becoming a massive global chart smash and giving Turner her biggest hit since “We Don’t Need Another Hero”. “The Best” quickly established itself as, arguably, her signature tune and standard bearer. A positive song lyrically that also refers to Tina’s long and unparalleled career as one of the greatest and most successful female artists in music history. The song lends itself effectively when looking back on Tina’s past achievements, most notably in the title her two greatest hits packages “Simply The Best” (1991) and “All The Best” (2004).

In 1992, Tina re-recorded her own cover version with Australian singer Jimmy Barnes, taking it to No.14 ‘down under’, and No.11 in New Zealand, where this new version proved more successful second time around!

“The Best” has been used for scores of TV commercials, sporting events, award ceremonies and presidential campaigns over the last thirty years. The song was ‘adopted’ by Scottish football team Rangers, played when the players come out onto the pitch and, of course, when they score a goal! When Rangers won the 2010 Scottish Premiership league, a campaign was launched to reissue “The Best” as a single, and it worked. The song made it to No.9 on the UK singles chart, its second top ten showing, twenty one years after it had last spent time there!

But which is best? BONNIE’s original or TINA’s cover…?

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!