“What’s Love Got to Do with It” by Tina Turner

On “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, award-winning singer Tina Turner is addressing someone she is romantically interested in. And it can be deduced that she is in fact feeling him. However, she is also letting him know flat-out that she is not keen on the idea of falling in love. Or as she puts it, “what’s love got to do with” their relationship?  And the lyrics don’t read as if she is looking for a quick, uncommitted thrill. Rather, the singer sounds as if she has had her heart broken before. And due to suffering from such a devastating event, she does not want to put herself in an emotionally-vulnerable position again.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do with It? at Lyrics.org.

Music Video

The main music video to this song had Mark Robinson as its director. The video itself won an MTV VMA in 1985 in the category of Best Female Video. And interesting to note is that it features actress Pamela Springsteen. Pamela is the younger sister of iconic American singer Bruce Springsteen (aka the Boss).

Release Date of “What’s Love Got to Do with It”

Amongst the many hits which Tina Turner has dropped, this is considered to be her signature song. “What’s Love Got to Do with It” can be found on her fifth-solo album, “Private Dancer”. And the song came out, via Capitol Records, on 29 May 1984.


In terms of the track’s success, it marks the only song from Tina Turner’s heyday which actually topped America’s celebrated Billboard Hot 100. And it was such a big hit that it was actually placed on Rolling Stone’s 2011 list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

Moreover the song went on to win a whopping three Grammy Awards for Tina Turner in 1985. It won in the following major categories:

  • Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
  • Record of the Year
  • Song of the Year

And later in 2012, it was enshrined in the Grammy Hall of Fame itself.

Moreover in reaching number 1 in America, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” set a couple of records in the process. For example, Tina was a ripe 44 years old at the time. Thus she became the oldest-solo female to top the Hot 100. Moreover the first time she ever charted was back in 1960, alongside her ex-husband Ike Turner with a song called “A Fool in Love”. So with 24 years transpiring between that effort and this song, she set a record for the longest duration between initially charting and finally hitting number 1.

And we’re not finished with its chart success just yet, for the song also scored a number one in Australia and two numbers ones in Canada. And overall it charted in nearly 20 countries and has also been certified Platinum in Canada.

Well-known Covers and Usage

Interesting to note is that hip-hopper Warren G also experienced considerable success when he covered this song, alongside Adina Howard, in 1996. Moreover rapper Fat Joe relied on a sample of “What’s Love Got to Do with It” for his 2002 hit “What’s Luv?

Additionally in 1993 a biopic, starring Angela Bassett, was released of Tina Turner’s life.  And said film was entitled “What’s Love Got to Do With It”.

Amongst the television shows it has been used on throughout the years we have the following:

  • “Miami Vice” (1984)
  • “Knight Rider” (1985)
  • “Perfect Strangers” (1986)
  • “Desperate Housewives” (2006)

And it was also featured on the 2015 film “Pitch Perfect 2”.

Did Tina Turner write “What’s Love Got to Do with It?

No. The writers are Graham Lyle and Terry Britten. Terry also produced the song. Both of those are from the UK, and at first they offered the tune to one of their countrymen, hitmaker Cliff Richard, who rejected it. Next the song was given to American singer Phyllis Hyman, whose label rejected it. Then it was offered to the legendary Donna Summer, who basically procrastinated in recording it.

Also a band called Bucks Fizz recorded a version prior to Tina Turner in 1984. However, it was not actually released until the year 2000.

As can be imagined, Tina herself did not approve of the message of this song. However, Roger Davis, her manager, convinced her it would be a hit. And it actually went on to become the most successful release of Tina’s entire musical career!

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