Why Dire Straits Gave Tina Turner the Song 'Private Dancer'

“Private Dancer” became one of Tina Turner‘s most famous hits. Mark Knopfler of the band Dire Straits wrote the song. During an interview, Knopfler said he had a major issue with Turner’s version of the song that had nothing to do with her vocal performance.

Why Tina Turner was able to record the song

In 1982, Dire Straits released the album Love Over Gold. Love Over Gold includes the singles “Private Investigations” and “Industrial Disease.” According to the book My Life in Dire Straits, Knopfler wrote a song called “Private Dancer.” Band member John Illsley explained why “Private Dancer” was excluded from Love Over Gold.

“One song that didn’t make it on to the album in the end was ‘Private Dancer,’ mainly because, Mark rightly decided, it should be sung by a woman,” Illsley wrote. “The lines ‘I’m your private dancer, a dancer for money, I’ll do what you want me to do’ just didn’t sound right coming from Mark’s mouth! He ended up giving it to Tina Turner — with spectacular results.”

Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler revealed his issue with ‘Private Dancer’

Illsley said Knopfler gave “Private Dancer” to Turner. “In gratitude for the song, Tina had asked the band to put down the recording with her in a north London studio, and it was a joy to spend the day with her,” Illsley remembered. “It’s unlikely you’ll meet a lovelier woman on the music scene, and her infectious enthusiasm is all the more impressive with all the suffering she has endured in her private life.” Illsley said Turner’s vocal performance on the song was incredible. On the other hand, Knopfler told Stuff he hated Jeff Beck‘s guitar solo on the track during a 2009 interview.

Turner was a fan of “Private Dancer” as well. “She liked “Private Dancer” so much she gave its name to the title of her album,” Illsley said. Illsley said the members of Dire Straits were happy when the song became a massive hit for Turner.

The way the world reacted to Tina Turner’s ‘Private Dancer’

“Private Dancer” reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 18 weeks. It’s one of Turner’s biggest hits in the United States as a solo artist. The song’s parent album, Private Dancer, was even more successful. Private Dancer reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and lasted on the chart for 106 weeks. The album lasted longer on the Billboard 200 than any of Turner’s solo albums.

“Private Dancer” was a more modest hit in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song peaked at No. 26 in the U.K. and lasted on the chart for nine weeks. Meanwhile, Private Dancer peaked at No. 2 in the U.K. and lasted 150 weeks on the chart. “Private Dancer” didn’t become a Dire Straits song — but the members of Dire Straits were happy when it became a hit for Turner.

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