Remaking "What's Love Got to Do with It" - Iconic Song Finds Its Fragile Side


New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/18/2016 -- When What's Love Got to Do With It was first demoed, producers deemed the track unsuitable for a female vocalist. Tina Turner's 1984 release disproved this notion; it was a massive hit and the most successful single of her career. Tough, confident, and above all honest, Turner's recording presented listeners with a fresh version of female sexuality.

Today the song is still capturing imaginations, including the imagination of singer/songwriter Adena Atkins. In 2014, 30 years from song's debut, Atkins released a remake of it that is very different from the original.

Atkins stated "I love this song so much that I wanted to explore it from a whole new perspective. I basically made up a character who could do this". This character is suggested by the cover art, directed by Atkins. The image features her white­haired, standing in front of a backdrop of pale pink rose petals, dressed in an elaborate white gown, and eyeing the camera warily.

The real character is found in the music itself. Produced by Fion Rossi for Istar Records, the track opens with a far off piano, reminiscent of a Chopin etude. The hypnotic verses contrast sharply with the driving synths of the chorus, and the sudden groove change in the bridge. The extreme changes in treatment within the song suggests an emotional volatility that is new.

Weaving together all of these changes is Atkins' voice. It's a breathier voice than Turner's, with a distinct air of vulnerability. In contradiction to this vulnerability, the slow lyric delivery sounds deliberate and in control.

Overall, the version Atkins presents is full of rich contradiction. It seems that 30 years after the debut of this song, love and everything it has to do with remains complicated.

Adena Atkins' What's Love Got to Do With It is available on iTunes, google play, and Amazon. Learn more about Adena Atkins at

Adena Atkins