Remembering Tina Turner

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Posted 2023-05-25 by Steven Gfollow
It is with some sadness that I was greeted by the news this morning that Tina Turner, rock icon had passed away.

Tina Turner: born November 26, 1939; died May 24, 2023.

There was something about Tina Turner and her stage presence. She was a dynamic performer. Though I never got to see her live in person, I have watched videos from her years on stage, going back to the 1960s, and she was the most captivating stage presence you could imagine. Even watching her perform in the 2000s, when she was past retirement age, she could still hold the audience in the palm of her hands.

I guess, like many people my age, I first came to know her through going to school discos and doing the dance we called 'The Madison' to the glorious 'Nutbush City Limits'. That did it for many of us – we wanted to hear more from this fantastic performer. From her early days with her then-husband Ike, through to the power-pop 1980s, she released smash after smash and we just wanted more.

So, to remember one of the most iconic female rock performers of all time, are my favourite Tina Turner songs.
'A Fool In Love' by Ike & Tina Turner (1960)

One of Tina's very first songs, showing that, from the word go, she had that indefinable "it" about her and the way she delivered her songs. That powerful voice was already there and this is such a great start to a career.
'River Deep, Mountain High' by Ike & Tina Turner (1966)

This song is one that has gone down as an all-time classic, and yet at the time, it did not do as well as everyone had hoped I would. In fact, it made producer Phil Spector so depressed, he abandoned his 'Wall of Sound' not long after. Shame, because this is glorious.
'Proud Mary' by Ike & Tina Turner (1971)

This song became a staple of her live shows, from what I can gather, and she performs it so well. But going back to the studio version, it rivals the Creedence Clearwater Revival original version for just how good it really is.
'Nutbush City Limits' by Ike & Tina Turner (1973)

The one song guaranteed at every disco to get the entire congregation up and dancing. From school discoes in the late 1970s through to my Blue Light Disco years in the 1980s, and even going to the Arkaba in the 1990s (she released an updated version of the track in that time frame), this song made everyone get up and just dance, in time, doing it wonderfully. Oh, and it's apparently autobiographical!
'Acid Queen' by Tina Turner with The Who (1975)

Turner recorded this as part of the film version of The Who's Tommy, and later, the year of the film's release, re-recorded it with her own band for the album of the same name. She does this song proud and, yes, her vocal chops means she outdoes the Who's original version. So good.
'Let's Stay Together' by Tina Turner (1983)

This was the first Tina Turner song I bought, on 12" because I loved the extended mix of this track. It was released as the precursor single to the Private Dancer album, one of the best in her discography. Her voice was just so powerful here. From the slow start through to the powerful ending, this song still sends shivers down my spine.
'Private Dancer' by Tina Turner (1984)

I bought the album (well, cassette) this is the titular track from not long after it came out because all the songs I'd heard from it were so good. At the time, Tina was competing against a resurgent Pat Benatar, and yet Tina held her own in the quality stakes with ease.
'What's Love Got To Do With It?' by Tina Turner (1984)

This has become the song most associated with Tina, especially after the biopic about her life was named after it. A sad song, but delivered with such conviction you know she means every single word of it.
'We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)' by Tina Turner (1985)

The theme song from the film Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome, where Tina had a co-starring role, this song was the first Turner track I bought on 45. It has since become the theme for many YouTube videos about people trying to be heroic and failing. The song lives on.
'Typical Male' by Tina Turner (1986)

A bit of a fun track here, which was, at the time, seen as odd, but which now stands out as something worthy of listening to and just enjoying. I do remember a friend being "serenaded" by his ex-girlfriend with this track after their rather acrimonious break-up, and that has placed it fondly in my memory.
'What You Get Is What You See' by Tina Turner (1986)

Another fun track here, one that pops along. This is one of those songs that I remember hearing – and have in my collection – and I enjoyed at the time, but I just don't hear that often any more.
'(Simply) The Best' by Tina Turner & Jimmy Barnes (1992)

One of her best solo tracks, I've put the version with Jimmy Barnes here because I think he adds something to it that just makes Tina's voice pop all the more. Either version is really good, but the Barnes one – recorded for the National Rugby League – just does "it" for me.
And there we are, a dozen songs to remember Tina Turner by. She was a trailblazer for women in rock and I feel her music will live on for a very long time

Vale, Tina; you really were the best.

82701 - 2023-06-11 06:33:40


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