Better Be Good To Me: Who Did it First Before Tina Turner?

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Song: Better Be Good To Me (1981)

Artist: Spider

Album: Between the Lines (Dreamland Records)

Writers: Holly Knight, Mike Chapman, Nicky Chinn

When Tina Turner left her tumultuous and abusive relationship with Ike Turner and decided to record and perform rock music, the rock world was forever enriched. Her first big hit off her 1984 Private Dancer album, What’s Love Got to Do With It, was a revelation and a no. 1 hit. Then, Better Be Good to Me was released, soared to no. 5, and she won a Grammy for best Rock Vocal Performance, Female. Surely, this was a personal song written about her relationship with Ike.

In reality, it was not, although she certainly must have personally identified with the spot-on lyrics. The song was originally released in 1981 by a New York group called Spider with a female singer from South Africa named Amanda Blue (aka Amanda Leigh). It was written by Mike Chapman, Nicky Chinn, and Holly Knight, keyboard player for the band. It did not chart at all in the U.S.

Spider had one top forty hit with New Romance (It’s A Mystery), and a minor hit with Everything is Alright.

The original version of Better Be Good to Me was good, but Tina Turner’s powerful vocals took a good song and made it great. Few can imagine anyone else singing the song besides her. But, before you start thinking it’s all Tina, you should listen to the original version. Tina was clearly influenced by Amanda “Blue” Leigh’s delivery, including her inflections.

This was not the only song by Spider that became a big hit for another artist. John Waite also had a hit with their song Change, also off the ‘Between the Lines’ album. Waite’s version was used on the soundtrack for the movie Vision Quest, starring Matthew Modine,

Clearly, Spider had good songwriting. It’s no wonder since Holly Knight was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. Her songwriting credits are amazing to behold. Besides the two songs already mentioned, she wrote The Best, which was recorded by Bonnie Tyler and also covered later by Tina Turner, Love is a Battlefield and Invincible, both recorded by Pat Benatar, and too many others to list. She also co-wrote many memorable rock songs, including Rag Doll by Aerosmith.

Mike Chapman and Nicky Chin, whom with whom McKnight cowrote Better Be Good To Me, have also written many hit singles. The three also wrote Tina Tuner’s song, The Best, as well as Love is a Battlefield.

As well, McKnight wrote One Of The Living, produced by Mike Chapman and recorded by Tina Turner the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Listen to Better Be Good to Me by Spider

Listen to Better Be Good to Me by Tina Turner

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