River Deep - Mountain High

River Deep - Mountain High

Infobox Single
Name = River Deep - Mountain High

Artist = Ike & Tina Turner
from Album = River Deep - Mountain High
Released = September 1966
Format = 7" single
Recorded = Gold Star Studios, New York City, 1965
Genre = Pop/soul, Rock and Roll
Length = 3:40
Label = Philles
Writer = Phil Spector
Jeff Barry
Ellie Greenwich
Producer = Phil Spector
Chart position =
*#88 (US Pop Singles)
*#3 (UK Singles Chart)
*#1 (Spain 17-12-1966 "Los 40 principales")
Reviews =
Last single = I Can't Believe What You Say (For Seeing What You Do)"

This single = "River Deep - Mountain High" (non-US)
Next single = "A Man Is a Man Is a Man" (non-US)
(1966)Infobox Single
Name = River Deep - Mountain High

Artist = Deep Purple
from Album = The Book of Taliesyn
B-side = "Listen, Learn, Read On"
Released = February 1969
Format = 7" single
Recorded = August 1968 at De Lane Lea, London
Genre = Hard rock
Length = 2:35 (single edit)
10:12 (album version)
Label = Tetragrammaton (US)
Writer = Phil Spector
Jeff Barry
Ellie Greenwich
Producer = Derek Lawrence
Chart position = * #53 (US Pop Singles)
Last single = "Kentucky Woman"
This single = "River Deep - Mountain High!"
Next single = "Black Night"

"River Deep - Mountain High" is a 1966 single by Ike & Tina Turner. Considered by producer Phil Spector to be his best work [Ribowsky, Mark. "He's A Rebel." Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2007.] , "River Deep - Mountain High" was commercially unsuccessful upon its original release in the United States, but was a huge hit in Europe, peaking at #3 in the United Kingdom. It was re-released in 1969, and has since become one of Tina Turner's signature songs.

Original version

The single was among the first recordings that Ike & Tina Turner did for Phil Spector's Philles Records. Spector was well aware of Ike Turner's controlling attitude in the studio, and resultantly drew up an unusual contract: the "River Deep - Mountain High" album and single would be credited to "Ike & Tina Turner", but Ike was not to be allowed in the studio, and only Tina Turner's vocals would be used on record Fact|date=June 2008.

The terms were agreed to, and Spector began recording the LP, brandishing his full "Wall of Sound" production technique to support Tina's strong voice. "River Deep - Mountain High" cost a then-unheard of USD 22,000, and required two dozen session musicians and background vocalists. Written by Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich, "River Deep - Mountain High" compared a woman's love to the love that a child feels for a doll, or a puppy feels for his master. Tina Turner promises to "love [her man] just the way I loved that rag doll", and to love her man just like the puppy he had as a child did.

When the single and album were finally released, however, the public did not quite know what to make of it. "River Deep - Mountain High" was considered "too black for white radio, but too white for black radio" Fact|date=June 2008. The single stalled out at #88 on the pop charts, effectively crushing Spector's spirit and causing him to shut the label down.

The single had better fortune in the United Kingdom, however, peaking at #3 in the singles charts on first release. It was only held off the #1 spot by singles from The Beatles and The Kinks. George Harrison declared that it was "a perfect record from start to finish".

"Rolling Stone" put it at #33 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


Infobox Single
Name = River Deep Mountain High

Caption =
Artist = Eric Burdon & The Animals
from Album = Love Is
B-side = White Houses
Released = 1969
Format = 7" single
Recorded = October 1968
Genre = rock, soul, R&B, psychedelic
Length = 3:52 (single version), 7:26 (album version)
Label = MGM
Writer = Phil Spector
Jeff Barry
Ellie Greenwich
Producer = Tom Wilson
Certification =
Chart position =
Last single = "Ring of Fire" (1969)
This single = "River Deep Mountain High" (1969)

Eric Burdon & The Animals have also a cover of this song, on their 1968 album "Love Is" and on their 1969 compilation "The Greatest Hits of Eric Burdon and The Animals". It is considered by fans to be the best version of this song, with its length of 7:26. In 1985, Burdon recorded a live version of it and released it in 1992 on "That's Live". He still performs it on his concerts.

In 1967, Harry Nilsson (who had worked with Spector as a songwriter early in his career) released a cover version of the song on his first RCA Victor album, "Pandemonium Shadow Show". This was followed by an epic, ten-minute version recorded by Deep Purple for their 1968 album, "The Book of Taliesyn". An edited version was released as a single in the United States and reached #53 in early 1969 and #42 on the Canadian RPM charts. The original Ike and Tina Turner version of the song was re-released the same year to a more receptive public and since then has gained the recognition Spector wanted from the record. Numerous versions have been recorded since, including two different recordings by Ike and Tina Turner that do not feature Spector's "Wall of Sound" production style, as well as some by Tina Turner herself without Ike Turner.

The Shadows performed an instrumental version of these song in there 1970 album Shades of Rock.

The most successful cover was a 1970 duet between the post-Diana Ross Supremes and The Four Tops. Produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, the single was one of several recordings that paired the two Motown groups. The Supremes/Four Tops cover, included on the 1970 LP "The Magnificent 7", peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971, making it the highest-charting version of the song in the United States.

Australian punk band The Saints did a wilder version on their "One Two Three Four" EP, which is also included in the "All Times Through Paradise" box set. Another Australian band, The Easybeats, did a cover version.

The Flamin' Groovies also covered the song in the early '70s, which can be found on their compilations "Grease" and Groovies Greatest Grooves.

Neil Diamond released a version on his album "" in 1993.

The Bob Seger System also did an extended cover version on their album "Mongrel". Jimmy Barnes did a cover of this song on his early '90s album "Soul Deep". His delivery is very powerful and soulful POV-statement|date=September 2008, much like Tina's 1960s version.

A live cover was performed by Céline Dion on the "Late Show with David Letterman", which resulted in a studio version for her "Falling into You" album.
Fefe Dobson covered the song for the TV series American Dreams, where she portrayed Tina Turner as well.

Tarisai Vushe performed this song in the semi finals of Australian Idol 2007 Series 5.

The English synth pop duo Erasure covered the song on their 1988 album, "The Innocents".

The Top of the Poppers covered the song in their Top of the Pops, Volume 18 album, which hit No. 1 on the UK charts during 1971.

Annie Lennox performed the song live on her MTV Unplugged Special and released the audio track on the "Walking On Broken Glass" EP.

A live cover was performed by Céline Dion on the "Late Show with David Letterman", which resulted in a studio version for her "Falling into You" album. She performed this song from November 2006 until the end of her A New Day... show in Las Vegas in December 2007 being one of the best moments of the show.The song is part of her currently Taking Chances World Tour as well.

On April 22, 2008, Mary Wilson (who recorded it a a Supreme with the 4 Tops in 1971) took the stage with Australian vocal group Human Nature, on the Seven Network television show It Takes Two. They performed two duets from Human Nature's Get Ready album: "It Takes Two" and "River Deep, Mountain High".


*In his Discworld novels, Terry Pratchett mentions a version of "River Deep, Mountain High" sung by the dwarves as "cavern deep, mountain high". It is believed by the characters in the novel to be one of the more original pieces of traditional dwarvish music.
*Art Brut's "Post Soothing Out," includes the lyrics: "River deep and mountain high / There's some lyrics that'll never apply / 'Cause I don't lie awake at night / With thoughts of river depth or mountain height"
*Sting claims to have lost his virginity to this song. [ [http://www.webwombat.com.au/entertainment/dvds/tturn60.htm DVD & Movie Reviews: Tina Turner: Celebrate! ] ]
*Meat Loaf sang a duet version of the song with former backup singer Karla Devito for his concert "Live at the Bottom Line"


*Lead vocals by Tina Turner
*Written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich
*Produced by Phil Spector
*Arranged by Jack Nitzsche
*Instrumentation by Leon Russell keyboards, Jim Horn Saxophone, Barney Kessel guitar, Glen Campbell guitar, Hal Blaine drums, Carol Kaye bass

External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/soldonsong/songlibrary/riverdeep.shtml BBC.co.uk: Sold on Song - "River Deep - Mountain High"]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/music/story_behind/riverdeep.shtml Ralph MacLean]


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