5 Songs You Didn’t Know Tina Turner Wrote

Earlier in Tina Turner’s career, while she was still making albums with Ike Turner, she slowly began writing more of the duo’s songs. The first song she was ever credited on was “I Am a Motherless Child,” on their 1969 album, Outta Season, which she also produced with Bob Krasnow.

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She continued to pen more songs with most of their subsequent albums and—with the exception of a cover of The Beatles’ “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window”—Turner wrote nine of the 10 tracks on their 1972 release, Feel Good.

Though Turner went on to work with some of the best songwriters in the business and was never credited on any of her solo albums, she had already written a full chapter of stories from her past.

Here are just five songs Turner wrote during the early days of her career.

1. “Black Coffee” – Ike and Tina Turner (1972)
Written by Tina Turner

Originally released on Ike & Tina Turner’s 1972 album, Feel Good, “Black Coffee” was later covered by Humble Pie on their 1973 album, Eat It, and decades later by Rival Sons in 2015 and Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa in 2018.

Black coffee is my name
Black coffee is not a thing
Black coffee, freshly ground and fully packed
Hot black coffee, boys, mmm that’s where it’s at, mean it

Way back you all know since I don’t know when
See I got hungover before I was 10
You see my skin is white but my soul is black
So hot black coffee, that’s where it’s at

2. “Feel Good” – Ike and Tina Turner (1972)
Written by Tina Turner

Turner also penned the title track from their 1972 album, Feel Good, which was released as the lead single. The song was promoted with performances on Soul Train and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson that same year.

I got my good side on
I left my bad side home
I got my good side on
Said I left my bad side home

You know, my baby makes me feel good
Oh, he knows how to turn me on
He knows every trick in the book
And he use them to get me hook

3. “Nutbush City Limits” – Ike and Tina Turner (1973)
Written by Tina Turner

The title track from their 1973 album, “Nutbush City Limits” was a semi-autobiographical song for Turner. The song pays homage to all the memories and other imagery from her rural upbringing in her hometown of Nutbush in Haywood County, Tennessee — You go to the fields on weekdays / And have a picnic on Labor Day / You go to town on Saturdays / But go to church ev’ry Sunday.

Turner rerecorded “Nutbush City Limits” and a handful of songs from earlier in her career on her eighth solo album, What’s Love Got To Do With It, in 1993.

A church house, gin house
A school house, outhouse
On Highway Number Nineteen
The people keep the city clean
They call it Nutbush
Oh, Nutbush
Call it Nutbush city limits

Twenty-five was the speed limit
Motorcycle not allowed in it
You go t’the store on Fridays
You go to church on Sundays
They call it Nutbush, little old town
Oh, Nutbush
They call it Nutbush city limits

4. “Sweet Rhode Island Red” – Ike and Tina Turner (1974)
Written by Tina Turner

A majority of the songs on their 1974 album Sweet Rhode Island Red, were also written by Tina Turner, including its title track and lead single. In the song, Turner is playing the role of a woman who wants to leaves her small Louisiana town behind.

In 2011, John Waite covered “Sweet Rhode Island Red” on his tenth album, Rough & Tumble, and sings it in the third person.

Tried to live a life I thought I wanted me to
I went to church, been to school
But there never had to be a White near you? But on fast uptown I’d need the jobs?
They were just too hard headed to leave me alone
They said that I was sweet as honey
Cause on 34 38 and 22 at the tonky

They called me Sweet Rhode Island Red, Sweet Rhode Island Red
Sweet Rhode Island Red, Sweet Rhode Island Red
Sweety is what they said about Sweet Rhode Island Red

5. “Sexy Ida” – Ike and Tina Turner(1974)
Written by Tina Turner

The follow-up single from Sweet Rhode Island Red, “Sexy Ida” was released as two versions, a funkier “Sexy Ida (Part 1),” and a more uptempo “Sexy Ida (Part 2).”

The second part peaked at No. 29 on Billboard R&B chart and features T. Rex‘s Marc Bolan on guitar.

Don’t you give your love to Sexy Ida
‘Cause she’s the sister of a black widow spider
And if you give her your love
You might as well give it to the spider

Let me tell you she’s got long black hair
It hangs way down her back
Long black pretty legs
She walks just like a cat
Hypnotic eyes and stacked up love sacks
She wants your love and then your life after that
So don’t do it
Don’t give your love to Sexy Ida

Photo by Ross Marino/Getty Images

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