Maybe you have heard about the releasometer, the latest invention of the old-world brick-and-mortar music industry where record companies actually sold records and not playlists. And in that outdated world, you used to be bombarded with various releases of albums incl. different covers (that is the house in which the record used to live because it could not survive on a hard drive alone), B-sides (that used to be tracks from the other side of the record´s children, the LP singles and maxi singles which again were the bigger brothers of the LP single…), and maybe unreleased tracks (ah, finally something our young readers know!). Well, back to the core of our subject: with that releasometer, you can measure how famous an album was because there was the following rule of thumb: “The more releases the more famous”.
And guess what, “Private Dancer” is preeeeetty famous because it scored very well on the releasometer. Read here, how well it scored, and we can only hope that it will score even better in the future.
1984 – The First Wave
In the 1980s, we had all kinds of formats for storing audio and playing music over and over again. No wonder then, that during the first wave of releases, you would find LPs, CDs, and cassettes. It is a bit sad that the world saw two different releases of the “Private Dancer” album because it is now difficult to say which is the official release that everybody can relate to. The US album cover differed from the European one, and only Europe got introduced to the one and only black cat on a Tina Turner album. Not that she had other animals on her covers so far… And not only that, even the track order was different, while far away in Australia, they included “Rock´n´Roll Widow” as the last track on side 2 of the LP – which featured the US album cover. So, everybody had their own “Private Dancer” album.
1985 – The Picture LPs
Vinyl LPs used to be black and simple – normally. But sometimes, you could buy colored vinyl like red or white. We had to skip that fashion, but we still had our chance to buy a so-called picture LP in a sleeve which merely consisted of the nothingness of a big hole so that you could see Tina´s photo on one side while the second side contained the track listing plus more promo and live photos from the on-going “Private Dancer Tour”.
1995 – The xrcd Edition
During the 1990s, JVC (Victor Company of Japan, Ltd) patented a new and optimized mastering and manufacturing process for CDs and called it “eXtended Resolution Compact Disc (XRCD)”. First, the analog source material was converted to digital material using a JVC’s patented K2 20-bit or 24-bit analog-to-digital converter. Second, it is then encoded on a magneto-optical disk so that further sound enhancement and cleansing could be applied. In a third and final step, the resulting CDs were finally stamped directly from a glass master which was produced from the corrected and optimized version.
This all sounds very promising, and I can assure you, some people got really crazy about the improved sound. But somehow, I was never among the few who actually could tell the difference between the diverse systems and quality levels. I only observed how my pocket money was absorbed by them. The xrcd CD turned out to be as expensive as 3-4 regular albums.
1997 – The EMI Centenary Edition
Electric and Musical Industries Ltd was formed in March 1931 and developed into one of the biggest and most successful record companies of the 20th century until it was dismantled and sold in various parts to Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Universal Music Group in 2012.
In 1997, EMI released several famous albums in a so-called EMI Centenary Edition, and Tina Turner´s “Private Dancer” album was among those CDs. It contained nearly all the B-sides (except for the live tracks and – not quite understandable – “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby”) plus some of the extended / 12 Inch versions which you can also find on the Australian “Private Dance Mixes” CD from 1985. The CD was accompanied by a very nice booklet containing promo photos from 1984.
2009 – “The Mail On Sunday” Edition
The Mail on Sunday was first published in 1982 and is a British conservative newspaper, published in a tabloid format and has a sister paper called the Daily Mail which was launched in 1896. As a supplement, the Sunday edition sometimes distributes CDs in paper-sleeve. Tina Turner was featured twice, with the first time being the Private Dancer album (2008, Oct 18th) and the second time with a best-of compilation (2010, Oct 3rd). You can still read the articles online:
- Free CD of Tina Turner’s Private Dancer in today’s Mail on Sunday
- Tina Turner’s greatest hits… chosen by you
20XX – The DeLuxe Version
Unfortunately, we had to skip another format which was invented in 1990s and caused some hoopla back then: music recorded on golden CDs called Gold Compact Discs. Like with the xrcd, the ideas around that technology were nearly the same: to improve the sound quality, and also to prevent CD rot/laser cancer. “Private Dancer” was never released as a Gold CD even though it would have been a perfect pick for that technology as typically the best-selling album of artists like ABBA, Bryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Elton John or Michael Jackson were released in that format.
And today, we are still waiting for the advent of another format which enjoys great popularity among music lovers: the deluxe version of successful albums, typically released on the occasion of an anniversary. The 30th anniversary of the “Private Dancer” album would be a perfect moment for such a release. I imagine something like EMI´s Centenary Edition – meaning the regular album plus the 12 Inch versions and B-sides – plus either another CD with even more rare tracks or a DVD with all the video clips. In case anyone from the record label reads this: that includes the video of “Help”, of course, and it also includes “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” which was not released in 1997 because the CD was already full…sigh… And while you´re at it: why not release a 3-disc box incl. all 12 Inch versions, all the B-sides and all the video clips or the Grammy Awards appearance? And the video clips maybe in HD? BluRay? Digitally transformed into BluRay 3D? What do you think? Online petition necessary?