This song is about either a prostitute or stripper who prefers to consider herself a "private dancer," describing how empty she feels inside. It was an unlikely title track to Turner's wildly successful comeback album, as the subject matter didn't relate to her life or her return to fame.
Tina wrote some songs in the '70s when she performed with her husband, Ike Turner, notably "Nutbush City Limits
," which describes life where she grew up in Tennessee. But after leaving Ike and going solo, she recorded songs written by others based on their hit potential or inspirational qualities. She used other media to tell her own remarkable story: her autobiography, I, Tina
, was a bestseller, and the movie based on her life, What's Love Got To Do With It
, was a hit at the box office.
In a nutshell, Tina's marriage to Ike quickly turned abusive, but it was years before she could find the strength to leave him. To get the divorce settled, she ceded to Ike's demands, walking away with just her name (born Anna Mae Bullock, Ike named her "Tina Turner" when they started performing, and claimed rights to that name). She was 42 when she started her comeback in an industry that prizes youth, especially among female performers. Through hard work, talent and determination, she overcame the odds, landing a #1 album with Private Dancer
at age 44.