Missing You is a song featured on Tina Turner’s 1996 record Wildest Dreams, and the third single of that album. The song is a John Waite cover, who had a number one hit with it in 1984. The video for the song was filmed by photographer Peter Lindbergh, and was part of Tina’s promotional campaign for Hanes Hosiery. The song was also performed live during every night of the 1996/1997 Wildest Dreams tour. In this post, we look back at the origins of this song.
Billboard Hot 100
John Waite is a British musician and singer, who originally recorded the song back in 1984. It has been his only big hit single. Coincidentally – when Tina scored her only US number one single, What’s Love Got To Do With It, on September 1, 1984, John Waite’s song was number two on the charts. What’s Love stayed at the top position for three weeks, but it was Missing You, which finally took its place in the week of September 22, pushing Tina’s single to number four.
Tina’s last cover?
Wildest Dreams was Tina’s last studio album which included covers of previously famous songs; Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ and of course, Missing You. Tina is of course not unfamiliar with covering other people’s material: some of her biggest hits are cover songs: Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival), Let’s Stay Together (Al Green) and The Best (Bonnie Tyler), among others. Covers have been a mode of survival for Tina: she has always performed songs of others during her live shows, when she didn’t have a recording contract with hit singles of her own. Even after her comeback, she has always included cover songs in her live shows. Tina’s last studio album, Twenty Four Seven in 1999, contained only original material, making Missing You, the final cover song that Tina released as a single.
While Tina’s cover versions are often dramatically different from the original, in a 1996 interview, she still claims to be as loyal as possible to the intentions of the songwriter.
“I heard recently, and I like the expression, ‘the mother of the song’, the giver. The life of the song. It should not be taken away. One should not be very far from the original song somehow. I think the change should only be the vocals.”
Indeed, the studio version of Missing You stays very close to the original song, Trevor Horn’s production being very grounded in the New Wave sound of the eighties.
The mother of the song
Tina asked about Missing You in the 1996 ‘open ended’ interview
“The life of the song. It shouldn’t be taken away. It should not be taken away. One should not be very far from, or very very far from, the original song somehow. I think the change should only be the vocals. Especially in this song. Because I felt the pain, I feel that when John wrote this song. I just felt that it needs to be sung loud, you know what I mean?! I’m sure there are other terms that can make it sound nicer. But I just felt it should be yelled out, sung with the pain he had. Because I think he sung it in thought. I think he was thinking of what was happening at that time. I understood that he wrote it, lying about whatever, as he was recording it. So, in thought was one thing, and then with the reality, it was the reality obviously because it was what was happening in his life. I’m also hoping that this song would do something for him, because he is such a great singer. It’s a shame we don’t have more work from him. But, the song, aside from that, the song itself is a very special song! I think, anyone with heartbreak, and there are a lot of people out there with the pain, one way or another, will take onto this song. The way that I’m singing it, because I only sung it from the feeling of the song itself and just how he did it. Just in my voice, and in my feelings for what I felt that was portrayed in the lyrics.”
Release and promotion
Missing You was released as a single in June of 1996, while Tina Turner was touring her ‘Wildest Dreams’ across the UK. Therefore, there was not much time for promotion. The only promotional appearance was on the UK National Lottery TV show. She lip-synched the song, but was backed by her whole touring band (who were not playing live either). She appeared on the TV-show during a stop-over between her concerts in Dublin and Edinburgh, on June 29.
Missing You National Lottery
Missing You was also the first single of the Wildest Dreams album in the United States, which was released there several months after the European release, in a completely re-worked format with different track list and slightly different composition. The release of the single and album coincided with the launch of Tina Turner’s campaign for Hanes Hosiery.
Legs, Peter Lindbergh and a rainy set
When advertising panty hoses, you’ve got to show a lot of leg. Famous German glamour and fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh was the right man for the task. The recording of the video, and the shooting of the photos for the Hanes campaign, took place on a rainy set in Los Angeles in the summer of 1996. American celebrity TV show Entertainment Tonight caught up with a very elegant and youthful looking Tina during a break in the filming session.
Making of Missing You video Entertainment Tonight
The results were particularly good – Tina dancing in the streets surrounded by male models half her age. Also have a look at some of the shots that were used for the Hanes campaign.
We can not repeat it often enough: Tina is best live. And as is mostly the case with her songs; the live version topped the studio version. Maybe the most powerful recording of Missing You was captured on video during Tina Turner’s concert in Amsterdam in September 1996, which was later released on DVD. The power ballad had a rare quality to mesmerize the audience every night, and it appeared to be a song that also Tina particularly liked to perform. Another great rendition was recorded by a fan in the audience of one of Tina’s concerts in Dortmund in October of 1996.
The last time Tina performed the song live (to this day…) was during her concerts in Las Vegas in December 1999, to welcome in the new millennium. The arrangements were a bit different from the 1996/1997 incarnation, and Tina’s voice also slightly changed after not touring for two years, giving the song an overall different feel. Despite being included on the many compilation albums that were released in recent years, it unfortunately wasn’t part of her 50th anniversary farewell tour. We’ll have to satisfy ourselves with one of the 150+ performances from the Wildest Dreams tour, and this one time (okay, two-time) performance in 1999.
Live in Las Vegas 1999