Christiaan Hermans - River Deep, Mountain High: a 50 year Milestone Anniversary – Part I
50 years ago
In the spring of 1966 a lot of people heard an intro of a song followed by a powerful voice that wasn’t heard like that before. "When I was a little girl……". Who’s that girl? Where does this voice come from? The song finished…. "This was Ike & Tina Turner with their new single: River Deep, Mountain High."
In 1965 Ike & Tina were signed to Loma Record under construction of Bob Krasnow.
He knew who Ike & Tina were, hitting it off and that their Revue shows were sensational.
The Ike & Tina Turner Revue were touring 365 days a year and even did 7 shows a night. It was a money machine created by Ike. By the end of 1965 Bob received a phone call from a huge producer, with the request to record songs with Tina. His name was Phil Spector, the creator of The Wall Of Sound. He already made his mark with acts such as Darlene Love, The Ronettes and The Righteous Brothers.
Phil was alarmed to see this sensational Ike & Tina Turner Revue and that they were playing in The Galaxy Club in L.A. When he saw the show he was blown away. He was highly interested in Tina. Spector was looking for a new voice for his next project, but he had to write a song first. Darlene Love was already alarmed and wanted this song so bad. But Phil wasn’t interested in Darlene for recording this particular song and simply said: "No, No, this song is for someone else". The song is better known as "River Deep, Mountain High. "
Phil invited Ike & Tina to The Big T.N.T show to perform live in front of screaming teens and National Television. When Ike & Tina were on, they saw that they also screamed for Tina and it was a success. Phil Spector wanted Tina and Tina only. He made negotiations with Krasnow and offered $25.000 for Tina’s services.
Krasnow contacted Ike, who of course did the business side of their Revue and just had dollar signs in his eyes and agreed. $25.000 was a lot of money in those days. After Phil and Ike made arrangements, Tina was allowed to sing for Phil and this is how Tina’s continental fame all began.
Tina didn’t know who Phil Spector was. She was excited and felt like a professional for the first time in her career. She was allowed to drive to Spector’s house for the recordings and when she first came in she was stunned. Spector lived very exquisite but at first was a strange looking man to her. Tina was happy about the No Ike arrangements. She was free for a little while.
Phil Spector gave her the song and started playing the song on the piano and singing for Tina. Tina loved the song, because it was very different to the music she was used to do. No sad R&B songs. This song had a melody. For the first time she felt like she really was singing, and not screaming her lungs out like Ike thought her. Ike thought that screaming would sell records. When Tina fell back into her old routine of singing, Phil would correct her to just sing with the melody. This went on for a few weeks. Tina couldn’t easily handle the song and Phil was very patient with her. Ike asked Tina many times what the song was like and she couldn’t even remember the song. She totally blanked out until Ike drove her to the studio and Tina suddenly start singing the song. Ike was very impressed by Tina.
When Tina was asked to come down for singing her final vocals to the song, she just was there with Spector, Krasnow and Levine. To this day, Tina still doesn’t know if she did the intro as Phil wanted her to, but she sure did work her butt of. Tina was electric that night and they turned down the lights accept for a few lights on every wall. Tina said "One more time Phil", after Phil wasn’t satisfied with her intro again.
Tina ripped off her blouse, grabbed the microphone and gave it all to them, standing, sweating and singing the song just in her bra. They were completely blown away about what they just experienced. After this final session, the song was ready to be mixed and would be released. The price of the production of this song and only this song would be over $20.000. Nobody had ever experienced this.
Read the next part of the 50th anniversary of "River Deep, Mountain High". We have 5 parts for you! 😀
Andrew Lee - You Were There
Linda Scheppink - Concert De Doelen - Rotterdam, the Netherlands - 13 Nov. 1982
Miriam Rouw - Tina fan since I was 14 years old
Scotty Stillman - Why I love Tina Turner's "Foreign Affair"
Sjors Arts - Seeing Tina perfom in the Gelredome - Arnhem, the Netherlands - 2009
Esther Vastenhout - Proud Mary, Lets stay together Dancing in my dreams!
Esther Vastenhout - Anna Mae Bullock – The girl in the field with no name
Bartosz Jagodzinski - Berlin – January 2009
Angie Spencer - Private Dancer Tour – Perth – 24 Dec. 1985
Christiaan Hermans - I heard it through the grapevine
Johanna Ouwerling - Proud Mary - 45th Anniversary - 2016
Johanna Ouwerling - Simply the Best - 25th Anniversary - 2016
Johanna Ouwerling - Review Concert Wembley Stadium - 16 July 2000