“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…?