Better Be Good To Me

Album: Private Dancer (1984)
Charted: 45 5
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  • This song was written by Holly Knight and Mike Chapman. In a Songfacts interview with Holly Knight, she told the story: "I was seeing a guy at the time who kind of had this adorable little crush on me, this German guy. He came to my house and left me some flowers and a note, and it said something like, 'If you're good to me.' And I'm thinking, you know, if I can twist that around I can make it into a song."
  • Chapman and Knight wrote this for Knight's band Spider, who released the original version in 1981. Chapman and Knight wrote several hits together, including "Love Is A Battlefield" and "The Best, but this was the first song they ever wrote together. Chapman was an established songwriter, but this was new to Knight, who quickly learned she had a talent for composing songs. Says Knight: "I didn't know I was a songwriter 'til Mike Chapman told me I was. I was playing keyboard since I was 4, but I only wrote because everybody else in my band Spider was doing it, and they kind of sucked."
  • Tina Turner hewed close to the original Spider version of this song. Holly Knight told Songfacts: "You can see how much she respects the way the song sounded, because she's not a writer. Although in my opinion the only song she wrote was one of her best ('Nutbush City Limits'). She's very good at hearing something and appreciating how it was done, and leaving it that way. So you can really hear the original singer doing it, who's a white girl, that had a very soulful voice. And you know, our record didn't do anything. The production is similar, but ours is more like Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side," hers is a little bit more upbeat and stuff. But nonetheless, it's very similar."
  • Holly Knight also wrote the Animotion hit "Obsession." She explains: "That song is very similar to 'Obsession' in as much as it's two chords. It shows you the ability to write a hit song with very little, sometimes the fewer chord changes you have the better, because then you can really write anything you want on top of it. And when you start writing a lot of chords, you have to follow the chords with the melody and you're limited. So it's a very simple tune where the chorus and the verse are the same, but the melody is different, and the instrumentation's different, and the chord inversions are different. So it doesn't necessarily occur to you that it's the same chords."
  • Nicky Chinn received a songwriting credit for "Better Be Good To Me" even though he didn't work on the song. He had a deal with Mike Chapman where they shared credits.
  • Rupert Hine produced this track and played all the instruments except guitar. He was working with the Fixx at the time recording their Phantoms album, but agreed to take a week off to work on Tina Turner's Private Dancer, where he produced "Better Be Good To Me" and "I Might Have Been Queen," which he also wrote. According to Hine, Turner's manager Roger Davies sorted through hundreds of songs searching for the right ones to get her comeback rolling. The only song that was written specifically for Turner was Hine's "I Might Have Been Queen."
  • Since their producer was taking some time off to work on the Tina Turner album, the Fixx guitarist Jamie West-Oram got in on the action and played on this track. Fixx lead singer Cy Curnin added backing vocals along with Rupert Hine, who played the rest of the instruments. The male backing vocals were unusual and gave the song an edgier sound that helped set it apart from similar productions.
  • This won for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female at the 1985 Grammy Awards. Turner also won that year in the category of Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "What's Love Got To Do With It." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • In the book Classic Albums, Turner said: "This song was very me. I could just see myself performing it. It was just right – the words and the delivery, the performance of it - and what I liked about what Rupert Hine did with it is his style of keyboard. It just blared through, and wherever you heard it, the first thing you got was that bass line that he added. That was what made that song a hit. It was my vocal and Rupert Hine's keyboard. He's got something, and it works."
  • This song was used in the season 1 episode of Miami Vice, "Give a Little, Take a Little," which aired December 7, 1984. The song peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 just two weeks earlier, so it was still very hot when the show aired. This was a boon for Miami Vice, which was fashioned after MTV and relied on contemporary music from big-name artists. In an unusual move, NBC released a soundtrack album to the series that featured this track along with others used in season 1, "Smuggler's Blues" and "In The Air Tonight" among them. It was wildly successful, going to #1 on the Albums chart in November 1985, where it stayed for a remarkable 11 weeks.

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 13th 1984, a video of Tina Turner's "Better Be Good to Me" was aired ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #28 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; a little over five weeks later on November 18th it would peak at #5 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 21 weeks...
    It reached #6 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart, and also at #6 on the Canadian RPM Singles chart...
    Also at the time her only #1 record on the Top 100, "What's Love Got to Do With It", was at #15, but she almost had two more #1s when "We Don't Need Another Hero" in 1985 and "Typical Male" in 1986 both peaked at #2.
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