They made very different music, however, Ace of Base and Tina Turner crossed paths in a major way. One of Ace of Base’s biggest hits was meant for Turner. Here’s how Ace of Base got hold of Turner’s track — and the interesting way Turner’s original version reappeared in popular culture.
A Tina Turner song which got covered by so many artists
Diane Warren is a legendary songwriter who has penned tracks for Celine Dion, Aerosmith, Cher, Britney Spears, and numerous other artists. According to Billboard, she wrote a song called “Don’t Turn Around” which Turner recorded. It was included as the B-side to her single “Typical Male.” Warren thought it was “stupid” the track was not included on one of Turner’s albums. However, it became a staple. A number of artists covered the track, including Neil Diamond, Luther Ingram, and Aswad. Enter Ace of Base.
According to Billboard, Ace of Base’s label asked them to record a version of “Don’t Turn Around.” Ace of Base’s Jenny Berggren listened to Aswad’s version of the song and liked it but felt her band should make the track their own.
How Ace of Base changed ‘Don’t Turn Around’
“I thought it was too much in major,” Berggren recalled. “We thought, ‘If [Arista Records] really wants us to do it, why not?’ The lyrics were good. We thought if we can transform it a bit into minor, in the chorus and so on, it could be OK.” In addition, Ace of Base added some rapping to the track.
“I think [Ace of Base member Ulf Ekburg] had something to do with that,” Berggren recalled. “But also because he looks good, and he’s very good on the stage. So it’s perfect to have a part for him. Happy ending.” Ace of Base’s version of “Don’t Turn Around” would combine dance-pop, reggae, and rap — making it a perfect crossover hit.
The legacy of Ace of Base and Tina Turner’s versions of ‘Don’t Turn Around’
Ace of Base’s version of “Don’t Turn Around” would reach No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It would become the band’s biggest hit besides “The Sign” and “All That She Wants.” Thanks to those songs, Ace of Base’s album The Sign became one of the definitive albums of 1990s pop music.
In addition, it’s easy to hear the influence of Ace of Base’s “Don’t Turn Around” on subsequent pop hits like Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro.” Warren told Billboard the song’s delayed success proved you cannot keep a good song down.
While Turner’s version of “Don’t Turn Around” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, it still had a legacy. Decades after its release, Turner’s version of the song appeared in Tina, a musical about Turner’s life. Warren was right — you can’t keep a good song down — regardless of who performs it.
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