eary are we as a publication in bringing up the dearth of female voices in rock these days. We could say that what we need is another rock n roll hero like the woman born ANNA MAE BULLOCK in an unincorpated township in Tennessee called Nutbush, but you'd roll your eyes at the pun, as you are probably doing now, and thinking "There isn't gonna be another TINA TURNER." Who needs another TINA TURNER when we've still got the real thing walking this green earth? Retired, happily married and living in Switzerland, TURNER has boasted one of those few musical careers that have reached legendary proportions and had the sort of biblical backstory worthy of CECIL B. DEMILLE's TEN COMMANDMENTS. Forget the Old Testament stuff. The unwanted sharecroppers daughter from the backwoods of Tennessee made her way to St. Louis where she became enthralled with local music star IKE TURNER and his KINGS OF RHYTHM. It turned out the little girl from Nutbush had one hell of a RAY CHARLES growl and soon found herself at the center of the action. With that voice, BULLOCK cut the single A FOOL IN LOVE and the TINA TURNER (a name inspired by the amazonian heroine SHEENA QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE) persona was born. As a duo, IKE AND TINA TURNER enjoyed sporadic success on the charts with such classics as their high octane rendition of PROUD MARY to the all out ruckus of NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS, but it was their blistering live set that put them in a class all by themselves. And of course there is the dark matter of the violent marriage that TINA found herself in with IKE. Years of abuse came to an end of July 4, 1976 when following a bloody brawl with IKE, TINA walked away with 36 cents to her name and a resolve to take on the world on her own terms. Years of financial and professional struggle followed but the world would soon find out that TINA TURNER was a fighter. That fighting spirit proved useful when putting together a solo music career that would defy the odds of race and age. The often times elusive second act proved to more successful than the first go around and came complete with multi-platinum albums, record-breaking sell out tours, eight GRAMMY wins and a movie about the woman's life in which the actress playing her (ANGELA BASSETT) was nominated for an OSCAR. Now there is talk about a musical coming to the WEST END stage.http://www.janglingsparrows.com
To celebrate the icon's 78th birthday, we here at ROCKWIRED took it upon ourselves to share with you some our favorite moments from TINA TURNER's illustrious past. This listing is in no particular order.
er days as Mrs. TURNER were coming to an end and you can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel gleaming in her eyes. Or was that the woman's own fiery ambition? In any event, it made for one of the more memorable moments in THE WHO's ambitiuous rock opera TOMMY. It scared the hell out of me when I was a kid who only knew the TINA TURNER that was alive and cracking on MTV. By all reports, TURNER has lived a clean life so seeing her brandishing a syringe and the realistic facial twitching makes us wonder where the hell this woman's motivation was coming from. Was she studying the decline of her husband at the time? Who knows? Alongside enthralling us with her fiery, crimson presence and electrifying vocals, TINA TURNER - the actress - made her acting debut without speaking a word.
FROM THE FILM "TOMMY"
he United States had some cool music shows such as BURT SUGARMAN's MIDNIGHT SPECIAL and DON KERSHNER'S IN CONCERT, but GERMANY had one up on us with MUSIKLADEN, which featured videotaped live perofrmances of the days leading rock acts and gave the visuals some trippy, psychedelic effects. Who better than IKE & TINA to grace the screen with the energetic dance moves of TINA and IKETTES. PROUD MARY had put the band on the map but the performances of such rock standards as THE BEATLES' GET BACK, THE STONES' HUNKY TONK WOMAN and ARETHA's RESPECT (a stomping interpretation which owes more of a debt to OTIS REDDING than the QUEEN OF SOUL) showed viewers that IKE AND TINA were all about the live performance as opposed to being a studio band putting out the hits.
HONKY TONK WOMAN
n an appearance in SOUL TRAIN, TURNER had said that one of the things she enjoys is driving out to the country and feeling like a woman. When it came time for her to put out her first ever solo album, she did just that. Yes, her debut album was a country album complete with material from the likes of KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, BOB DYLAN, JAMES TAYLOR and DOLLY PARTON but the effort cooks with the gritty soulful approach that we've come to expect from TURNER. Unfortunately, the record buying public at the time wasn't having any of it and the album faded away. To this day, it has not been made available as a re-issue. In these times when Country is king, it would be interesting to see this album see the light of day once again. Of all of TINA's solo albums prior to PRIVATE DANCER, this one has aged the best with convincing takes on country music classics such as IF YOU LOVE ME LET ME KNOW and THERE'LL ALWAYS BE MUSIC. The one original cut - BAYOU SONG - is a sultry, bluesy number that deserved as much attention as anything by BOBBIE GENTRY at that time.
IF YOU LOVE ME LET ME KNOW
THERE'LL ALWAYS BE MUSIC
ad TURNER's country debut been accepted by thre masses in the way that CHARLIE PRIDE or even THE POINTER SISTERS had, (anyone remember FAIRYTALE?) who knows what trajectory the woman's career would've taken. TINA TURNS THE COUNTRY ON was one hell of a first step creatively if not commercially. A year later, TURNER tried her hand at the approach that had seemed to work best - covering tunes from English rockers and giving the material a soulful varnish. The resulting album is ACID QUEEN - released a year before her captivating screen debut as that very same character in the rock opera TOMMY. Her version of LED ZEPPELIN's WHOLE LOTTA LOVE makes you want to really get down and make love with somebody. UNDER MY THUMB maintains a resilient soulful stomp worthy of the best of BOBBY WOMACK (that's KIM CARNES on the backing vocals) and BABY BABY GET IT ON is an electrifying soul rocker penned and co-sung by IKE. If you ask us that one song alone is one hell of a swansong from the once dynamic duo. In retrospect, the incendiary funk rocker is a house on fire signaling the end of the TURNER's union.
WHOLE LOTTA LOVE
UNDER MY THUMB
BABY BABY GET IT ON
hat do you do when you find yourself at the top of the world with a hit album like PRIVATE DANCER, a string of top ten hits, four GRAMMY wins and yet you still have people wanting to ask about your past - more specifically, your violent marriage? You call up KURT LODER and the two of you start working on a book about your life. Before I, TINA, rock n roll biographies were written after the subject of the biography was dead (ELVIS PRESLEY, JIM MORRISON, JANIS JOPLIN). With I TINA, the subject is very much alive and makes no apologies for the life that has lived and the mistakes that have been made. This tale of rock n roll survival was instrumental in crystallizing the epic story of TINA's rise from the backwoods of Tennessee to the top of the world. Sure, we would've mentioned the 1993 biopic WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? but the fellas at DISNEY treated this rich and engaging biography with a very light coat of paint and too many wailing histrionics from it's star ANGELA BASSETT. I TINA is an epic story with a Homeric heroine to root for.
STORY WiLL CONTiNUE
FOLLOWiNG THE ADVERTiSEMENT BELOW
his was the musical comeback that all musical comebacks have been judged by. Forget about ELVIS in '68. TINA TURNER in 1984 showed the whole damned world what survival of the fittest in rock n roll was all about with the release of her fifth solo album PRIVATE DANCER. The tumultuous relationship between her and husband and band leader IKE TURNER resulted in a climactic battle in Dallas Texas which according to pop legend had TINA running for her life. The marriage marked by years of physical abuse ended with TINA having to start over from square one but this time, the goal was world domination. The first release from PRIVATE DANCER was a pristine cover of AL GREENE's LET'S STAY TOGETHER but before long, TINA would have the world on it's ear with what has come to be her signature solo classic WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT – a reggae-fied piece of eighties soul pop marked by TINA's distinctive purr. Other performances include the positively churning BETTER BE GOOD TO ME, a EURYTHMICS-styled cover of the ANN PEEBLES classic I CAN”T STAND THE RAIN, the exquisite jazz rock title track brought to her by MARK KNOPFLER and the all out rock n roll rant STEEL CLAW featuring a fierce JEFF BECK on guitar.
LET'S STAY TOGETHER
WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
BETTER BE GOOD TO ME
t should be mentioned that TINA TURNER turned down the role of SHUG AVERY in STEVEN SPIELBERG's 1985 OSCAR-nominated film THE COLOR PURPLE in favor of working with director GEORGE MILLER for the third installment of the MAD MAX films. BEYOND THUNDERDOME took the series into uncharted territory with it's massive budget. The extra money helped and BEYOND THUNDERDOME was a box office smash where TURNER finally got to show what she was made of as an actress playing the morally ambiguous AUNTIE ENTITY - a villainess with a tremendous sense of fairness. It's been said that director GEORGE MILLER had to talk TINA out of doing her own stunts. The film also gave TURNER the chance to shine musically with two contributions to the film's soundtrack. WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER HERO is the subdued, cynical outlook on a messiah complex that people remember the most with it's pulsating reggae beat a'la WHAT'S LOVE... but the better moment is the HOLLY KNIGHT penned ONE OF THE LIVING. The strident, apocalyptic-themed rocker earned the woman her fifth GRAMMY for BEST FEMALE ROCK PERFORMANCE yet is not available on any greatest hits collection.
ONE OF THE LIVING
WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER HERO
o say that expectations were high following PRIVATE DANCER was an understatement. They were to the moon! Was it possible to capture lighting in a bottle twice? The answer is 'no' but TINA and her producers and songwriters have a lot of fun trying. BREAK EVERY RULE repeats the multiple producer approach of PRIVATE DANCER and boasts songs from rock n roll giants such as DAVID BOWIE and MARK KNOPFLER. Even the sound is more varied this time with some country and western flourishes (WHAT YOU GET IS WHAT YOU SEE). You've even got BRYAN ADAMS pushing TURNER into metal territory with the glorious rocker BACK WHERE YOU STARTED which is probably the album's finest moment. The introspective title track plays like a sequel to I MIGHT'VE BEEN QUEEN from PRIVATE DANCER and TYPICAL MALE demonstrates the woman's finesse at delivering seamless Adult Contemporary Pop in the vein of WHAT'S LOVE...Like the mid to late eighties, the music on BREAK EVERY RULE is all over the place and thirty years after the fact, that is what makes it such an enjoyable listen.
BACK WHERE YOU STARTED
WHAT YOU GET iS WHAT YOU SEE
ike her 1966 solo single RIVER DEEP MOUNTAIN HIGH, TINA's 1989 solo album FOREIGN AFFAIR proved that the woman's faithfull audience was the European audience. The album only reached Gold status Stateside but her single THE BEST - which has become the woman's signature tune - did manage to become a top twenty hit. The album went platinum throughout much of Europe and a 1990 world tour for the album never made it to the States. FOREIGN AFFAIR is a return to some of the gutbucket sensibilities of the woman's youth with songs like STEAMY WINDOWS which recall NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS and UNDERCOVER AGENT FOR THE BLUES - a blues rock number that could've gone head to head with ALLANAH MYLES' BLACK VELVLET. Both songs were penned by blues rocker TONY JOE WHITE. If the album boasted more material such as this, TINA would've had a classic on her hands but unfortunately, FOREIGN AFFAIR reached for more bland Adult Contemporary numbers that could've been done by anyone. Outside of THE BEST, where was that devil-make-care, incendiary rocker that was going ot come in and save the day? It never shows up.
UNDERCOVER AGENT OF THE BLUES
f it hadn't been for TINA recording RIVER DEEP MOUNTAIN HIGH, Europe's love affair with the girl from Nutbush would never have been kindled. The woman's bellowing, soulful voice over the lush WALL OF SOUND orchestra singing of the joys of a first love sounds like a dynamite pop moment on paper. Unfortunately, songwriter and producer PHIL SPECTOR's desire to record in mono as opposed ot stereo hurt the song sonically, causing the single to fail inthe U.S. Others have cited such reasons as the sound being to white while the vocals sounded too black or that the song was simply out of step with black music at that time. In any event, the failure of the song sent SPECTOR into a retreat from the music business. However, the single found a home on the airwaves throughout Great Britain, inspiring the ROLLING STONES to offer IKE & TINA a spot on their tour of Europe that year.
ORIGINAL 1966 PROMO FOR RIVER DEEP MOUNTAIN HIGH
KE and TINA could take a song by anybody and put "some muthafuckin' stank on it" but there were time when the duo felt they needed to rely on themselves to come up with a hit. The only time that it ever proved successful in a commercial sense was the 1974 hit NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS - a punchy, soul rocker delivered with screaming abandon that tells of the god foresaken rustic setting that ANNA MAE BULLOCK grew up in. Real life has also informed some of the other songs that TINA TURNER has penned such as FEEL GOOD with it's telling lines "I had trouble with my father/ I had problems with my mother / and discontentment with myself." In the song UP IN HEAH, TURNER tells a story of backsliding on ones faith, living a life of sin without a friend in the world and being the "Daughter of evil". Given the woman's situation, who better to pen a song about being damned if you d and damned if you don't? Sadly, the woman's songwriting never continued after leaving IKE.
NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS
UP IN HEAH
BRiAN LUSH (FOUNDER, EDiTOR-iN-CHiEF)
CONTACT BRiAN LUSH AT: email@example.com