What word springs to mind when the name Tina Turner is uttered? For me, it’s survivor! That’s not the only word though, because hero closely follows and superstar is never far behind. Every week day I publish a music news digest so I am always on the lookout for interesting articles on the music business and this week I came across ‘The Story of a Soul Survivor, Private Dance at 25.’ Now, this article was first published in November, 2009 yet it’s still an incredible read.
In 1976 armed with 36 cents and a Mobil gas card, Tina finally escaped her abusive marriage to Ike, but she was mired in debt to concert promoters due to a number of shows having to be cancelled. With the help of Rhonda Graam, a former business partner of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, Tina embarked on a solo career. It’s clear by her actions that Tina is a woman of integrity because in those early years of her solo career, she took whatever work that was offered in order to clear her debts and her name that she fought so hard to retain. From the Sonny & Cher Show to Hollywood Squares to Laugh-in, Tina worked and by 1978, her first solo release after her divorce, Rough, was released on the United Artists label. That release didn’t sell well and was followed up by another album, Love Explosion released in 1979 which didn’t fare that well either.
Fast forward to the 27th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in LA, 26 February 1985 and Diana Ross opening the envelop and proclaiming “What’s Love Got to do With It’ as album of the year and the world witnesses the Phoenix rising from the ashes in much deserved and hard earned triumph! The crowd erupted in ovation and the next chapter for this amazing woman began.
I was watching the Grammys that night, just a year out of high school, watching Tina accept the music industry’s greatest honour not knowing then that the Spirit of Tina Turner would play a huge role in my future. I think I was subconsciously preparing to step into her persona even back then having read her autobiography, I, Tina, co-written by MTV news correspondent and music critic Kurt Loder, and watching the 1993 film, What’s Love Got to do With It, more times than I can remember. I’ve watched countless live performance on the telly and even had the pleasure of seeing her live on 28 June 1997 during her Wildest Dreams Tour on her stop at the New World Music Theatre in Tinley Park. What a night.
I even remember catching Tina at the start of her Wildest Dreams Tour on the Oprah show and envying Oprah who got to dress up like Tina and perform with her when Tina appeared on the Oprah show. She even went on the Road with the tour during the North American leg travelling from Houston to New York City. Talk about your wildest dreams coming true! So like Oprah, I am obviously a huge fan and that’s one of the reasons why it’s an absolute pleasure to step in Tina’s shows for my Simply, Tina Turner Show.
Here’s a link to the article that spawned this bit of ranting about the fabulous Tina Turner. I found it interesting to remember her heroic and brave journey from victim to victor. Reading this article encouraged me to push through any obstacles or difficulty I’m facing with determination. Maybe this article will speak to you in some way too. If so, do share your thoughts!