Tina in London, 1966
Tina onstage by Chris Walter (1966)
Tina Turner recording “River deep, Mountain High” with Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, 1966.
Phil Spector offered $20,000 upfront to Ike Turner in exchange for total control over the production. Spector
made Tina Turner sing the song for hours on end until she got it just right. “I must have sung that 500,000 times,” she said. “I was drenched with sweat. I had to take my shirt off and stand there in my bra to sing.” Using Spector’s “Wall of Sound” production technique, it required 21 session musicians and 21 background vocalists
for the recording, including Hal Blaine, Leon Russell and Glen Campbell.
George Harrison praised the record, declaring it “a perfect record from start to finish. You couldn’t improve on it.” Though it peaked at 3 on the Billboard 100 in the United Kingdom, it was a relative disappointment reaching 88 in the United States. That drove Spector mad and he went into semi-retirement. “I think when it came out, it was just like my farewell,” Spector told Rolling Stone in 1969. “I was just saying goodbye, and I wanted to go crazy for four minutes on wax.”
Photos by Ray Avery
Ike & Tina by Dennis Hopper (1966)