Tina Turner in five covers

Tina Turner
Tina Turner / Gary Merrin/GettyImages
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"Acid Queen" (originally by The Who)

Speaking of song skeletons that are waiting for better singers… 

"Acid Queen" was originally from The Who’s bonkers concept album, Tommy, about a blind and deaf and mute messianic pinball champion "who plays by sense of smell." Acid Queen is one of the strangest moments on an album full of them. It’s jarringly strange because of the way it’s presented. The song, which is about young Tommy’s father taking him to a prostitute to cure him of his ills, is an acoustic ballad sung by Pete Townsend from the point of view of said prostitute. Listening to a painfully earnest Townshend sing about turning young boys into men is one of the cringiest moments in all of classic rock. In addition to being wholly inappropriate, the Who’s version sounds like a demo yet to be completed. Townshend’s rough falsetto sounds like a scratch track, and the instrumentation is uninspired and basic.

When Tommy became a movie in 1975, Tina Turner played the role of the Acid Queen, and of course got to sing the eponymous song. At that point "Acid Queen" became the song it was meant to be. A year later it was the title track on her second solo album. Side A of the album is all rock covers, and "Acid Queen" is the standout, beefed up with big muscly instrumentation that matches the power of her voice.