Ike and Tina Turner: River Deep – Mountain High


AS a tribute to the pop genius Phil Spector, who has died at the age of 81, here is the record he considered his best. I disagree, but that doesn’t matter. It was written by Spector and his regular collaborators Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, and recorded in March 1966 with Spector producing and 21 session musicians. (Although credited to Ike and Tina Turner at Ike’s insistence, he did not feature.)

It was released in May 1966, but flopped miserably in the States, reaching only No 88. It did well in Europe, getting to No 3 in the UK, but Spector was so disappointed that soon after he withdrew from the music industry for two years, starting his descent into mental illness.

In 1968 Eric Burdon and the Animals covered the song on their album Love Is

and Deep Purple did a ten-minute version on their album The Book of Taliesyn.

I don’t care for either.

In 1969 the Tina Turner original was re-released but was even less successful, making 112 in America and 33 in Britain.

In 1970 the Four Tops and the Supremes combined to make a recording which became the most successful single version in the States, getting to No 14 in 1971. It reached No 11 in Britain. I think it is terrible.

Since then Spector’s record has acquired the recognition he thought it deserved. Rolling Stone ranked it at No 33 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

RIP Phil Spector. 


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