The Best

Album: Foreign Affair (1989)
Charted: 5 15
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Songfacts®:

  • Also known as "Simply The Best," this became a signature song for Tina Turner, but it was originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler on her 1988 album Hide Your Heart (released as Notes From America in the United States). Tyler's version went to #95 in the UK and wasn't released as a single in America. Turner released it as the lead single from her Foreign Affair album and her version was an international hit.
  • This was written by Mike Chapman and Holly Knight, who have written a number of other successful songs, including "Better Be Good To Me" (also Tina Turner) and "Love Is A Battlefield." When Turner heard Bonnie Tyler's original version, she called Knight and said she'd record it if they could make a few changes. Instead of the guitar solo, Turner had Knight add a bridge ("Each time you leave me I start losing control...") followed by a saxophone solo. She also changed the key to go up in the last part of the song.
  • When you think of this song, you probably go right to the chorus, which tells it in certain terms: "You're simply the best." The rest of the song, though, is pretty saucy and very romantic, with lines like, "You speak a language of love like you know what it means."

    "It can be so many things, and that's why it has taken on a life of its own," co-writer Holly Knight said in a Songfacts interview. "It can be a love song, it can be love for anything. But it also is very marketable and it has different trajectories depending on who is singing it and why they are singing it."

    "I think when you find something, whether it's a thing or a person, when you've finally found something that's the masterpiece of whatever it is, 'The Best' really describes that," she added. "Part of me was writing it as a love song because I had someone in mind that I was writing it for, but we had no clue it was going to be a song that made the kind of impact that it did."
  • The music video was produced by Lol Creme (of 10cc and Godley & Creme) and directed by Lexi Godfrey. Turner's love interest in the video was played by... a horse. It's a broad but valid interpretation of the lyric, which could apply to anything you might feel passionate about, even a horse.
  • "The Best" has been used in countless tribute videos on sundry occasions. It became Tina Turner's anthem - a title she earned by rising to fame with Ike & Tina Turner and then staging a spectacular comeback as a solo artist - but the song was also adopted by both the English boxer Chris Eubank and the late Brazilian motor racing driver Ayrton Senna as their theme songs.
  • Holly Knight told Songfacts: "'Simply The Best' is one of those rare gems that's a positive song, and it's not cheesy. But the hard part is to write something in a positive mode that really is sincere - that's a tall order."
  • Holly Knight and Mike Chapman wrote this for Paul Young of "Every Time You Go Away" fame, but he passed on it.
  • In America, "The Best" peaked at #15, but it endured thanks to a constant run of placements and because Turner kept it in her setlist for the rest of her career.
  • The sax solo is by Edgar Winter, whose band The Edgar Winter Group had an American #1 in 1973 with the instrumental "Frankenstein."
  • Artists to cover this song include James Bay and Wynonna, who did a country version for her 2005 album Her Story: Scenes from a Lifetime. Certainly the most unexpected cover is by the figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who recorded it for the 2004 album What's Love? a Tribute to Tina Turner. As far as we can tell, this was the end of Kerrigan's singing career.
  • Turner sang this in Pepsi commercials soon after the song was released in a cross-promotion for her Foreign Affair tour. Other brands to use the song in commercials include T-Mobile and Applebee's.
  • Starting in 1990, Tina Turner sang this in promos for the New South Wales Rugby League in Australia. These proved so popular that in 1992 she teamed up with the Australian singer Jimmy Barnes to record a new version of the song, which was released as a single and used to promote that year's season. This version charted at #14 in Australia.
  • The song is played at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland when the players of Rangers Football Club and the visiting team run on to the park. As a result of a campaign by Rangers fans to get "The Best" to #1 in the UK singles Charts coinciding with the team taking the Scottish Premier League title, the song returned to the Top 10 in April 2010.
  • This was used twice on season 4 of Schitt's Creek in 2018. On the episode "Open Mic," Patrick (Noah Reid) serenaded David (Dan Levy) with an acoustic rendition. Reid's version reached the Top 10 on the iTunes Canada chart. On the episode "The Olive Branch," David gave a lip-synched performance to Tina Turner's version to make amends with Patrick after a breakup.
  • This was also used on The Simpsons in the 2016 episode "Much Apu About Nothing."

Comments: 8

  • Sall from Melbourne, AustraliaCan anyone confirm the correct lyrics - does Tina sing "In your heart I see the star of every night and every day" OR "In your heart I see the stars of every night and every day" OR "In your heart I see the start of every night and every day"

    I've seen all three printed in lyrics online and I'd love to know the correct lyric for this line - I'm looking at getting it tattooed and would hate to get it wrong :-)

    I've watched a live video of Tina singing it and I am sure she says star - but just listening to Noah Reid sing his version from Schitts Creek and I am sure he is singing start.
  • Dzo from AtlantaTina I love you from the bottom to the top of my heart. I appreciate everything you've done for us. You showed a young boy long ago what a classy woman with power was and I will never never forget it. I love you, I love you, I love you. You will ALWAYS be my first rock star. Happy retirement peace be with you. You will ALWAYS be my private dancer. You're simply the Best!
    Dzo.
  • Phil from Youngstown, OhThis song reminds me of Mario Lemieux's first retirement from hockey. They would play this all the time at the Pittsburgh Penguins home games when he would score in his final season.
  • Alexis from San Francisco, Cayou should try to sing this song on SingStar. FUN STUFF!
  • Ben from Gosford, AustraliaAhhh, reminds me of the old NSWRL adds. "Winfield Cup- making the big game, even bigger!"
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumSimply The Best : Phil Spector I Presume.
  • Natalie from Austin, TxMy girlfriend wants this sing to be played at her funeral - HILARIOUS!! I'd prefer See you at the crossroads by Bone Thugs.
  • Rennie from Sydney, AustraliaThis song was adopted as the Australian 1990 Rugby Laegue season anthem.
    Tina Turner also sang this song in duet with Australian singer Jimmy Barnes.
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