Tina Turner has it. Most singers can only dream of Turner’s sky-high vocal range, which helped her become one of the best-selling artists of all time. Since the 1960s, her career as a solo artist and with former husband Ike Turner has garnered critical and commercial acclaim with impressive accolades like a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, 12 Grammy awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award) and Kennedy Center Honors.
On this day in 1983, Turner performed at Grona Lund in Stockholm, Sweden, where she sang one of her signature hits, “River Deep – Mountain High,” from her 1966 album of the same name. Paste featured the song at #13 on our list of the 50 Best Title Tracks of All Time.
“Wall of sound” pioneer Phil Spector produced the song, and despite an impressive recording career with artists like The Beatles, The Ronettes and more, he considered this Ike and Tina Turner track to be his greatest work. It required dozens of musicians and vocalists to capture the echoing grandeur for Spector’s wall of sound. Interestingly, the track was credited to Ike and Tina Turner even though only Tina’s vocals appear on the record. Tina’s voice is soulful and smooth one minute and immensely raw and gripping the next as she digs for the most robust, moving vocal take she can possibly muster. The song was recorded repeatedly in order to achieve the level of perfection Spector always sought. Consequently, it features one of the most breathtaking vocal performances in the history of modern popular music.
Watch Tina Turner perform “River Deep – Mountain High” on this day in 1983 below.