This woman's life story is easily confused with most 20th century events, both in music and cultural change, during a period as furious as the singer herself. Tina was born Anna Mae Bullock in Tennessee, at the end of the 1930s (in the middle of racial segragation) to working class parents. Her parents were absent most of the time and, as the working journey was so strict, so Anna and her sister spent large portions of their youth at their aunt and uncle's in a different city.
St. Louis was a peaceful city. What upset her were the hysterical screaming of night club goers who fought each other for a look from Ike Turner. Anna was only 16 years old when his eyes found her and nothing, from that moment on, would be the same - not in her life, in her name, in music or even St. Louis. A very specific wonder that captured audiences she never thought existed.
Ike Turner was some sort of Mississippi god, a blues hero who was forced to take the girl on his band because he had given her too many matches and Anna Bullock was a good incendiary. They were married seven years later in Tijuana, Mexico, when the band Ike & Tina Turner Revue was already a musical phenomenon of its time and whose style had influenced, at least, Janis Joplin and Mick Jagger. Together, they made “Proud Mary” a classic, captured rock, soul and funk, created dances of pure religious trance... And the husband was the firm-handed entrepreneur, so demanding that musicians in the band resigned weekly. Ike smelled the tour money, but his cocaine addiction was no secret, as opposed to his abuses against Tina, which were kept private for the years to come.
Their break-up at the end of the 1970s was scandalous and her escape during a trip to Dallas has become a sort of personal epic. Tina Turner had tried to commit suicide at some point in her marriage, taking sleeping pills so as not to wake up during tortures and now she was leaving through the back doors of the hotel, taking 36 cents and a Mobil credit card with her. She had broken up with Ike Turner and the Revue, but contractual fees for cancelling their shows would be overwhelming, so she carried the tour on her own and kept her married name. Nevertheless, life after Ike&Tina Turner Revue was not easy. Albums tanked and, although she enjoyed some receptivity in Europe, her name was soon forgotten.
It's no wonder she has been dubbed the comeback Queen. How to explain the right events and personal efforts that led Tina back to the top? They must be a complex mixture that is not really important now, at least not as important as her appearance as The Queen Of Rock at the 1984 Grammy Awards. The truth is, Capitol Records was behind it, because for the months leading up to the awards they had done their best at promoting the single “What’s Love Got do Do With It” and Tina Turner spent the rest of the year sweeping the Billboard charts, the MTV Awards, American Music Awards and the Grammy Awards themselves. Then along came the apocalyptic MadMax and there she was with her white wig and those temporal horns, as an actress and a singer. She took part in duets, campaigns, more movies, wrote a book and became the artist who has sold more concert tickets in history.
Her current tour “Live in Concert” is the most prestigious of the year and she stepped, once again, on stage at the Grammy Awards, after a beautiful tribute by singer Beyoncé, with whom she sang that evening. The arrangements for her 70th birthday in November this year have already begun, as fans want a never-before-seen party that will be up to the untouchable myth.
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