This one got me a little teary. She was such a force, such an inspiring and thrilling performer. We know more about her personal life than we maybe had any right to know, and her combination of personal tragedy and artistic force made me think (of all people) of Judy Garland. I feel like they both overcame immense private suffering by tapping into their internal source of power and lucky for us, they channeled that power into their work.
Miss Turner was 83. I was startled by two statistics in her NY Times obit: "In 1988 she appeared before about 180,000 people at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, breaking a record for the largest paying audience for a solo artist. After her 'Twenty Four Seven' tour in 2000 sold more than $100 million in tickets, Guinness World Records announced that she had sold more concert tickets than any other solo performer in history."
She joined Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm in 1957, at the age of 18. She soon became a star attraction in the group and married Turner. He changed the name of the ensemble to The Ike and Tina Turner Revue. Here they are on Ed Sullivan. Her dancing throws me into another state of being. Was fringe ever more thrilling.
She hit the hardest of hard times in the 70s but emerged triumphant, becoming a juggernaut in the 80s as a solo artist. My friend Jere saw her at the War Memorial in Rochester NY at her 1980s peak and said there was nothing more exciting than seeing her strut across that stage, those legs doing their business across the full width of the arena. Impossible sexiness and personal magnetism. To quote Jere, "Just a dynamo!"
Here's her video for "What's Love Got To Do With It?" It makes me a little sad to see the Twin Towers in the opening shot of this video.