Tribute to Tina Turner – The Epic of Black Music

Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee, Tina Turner was one of the first African-American women to enter the world of rock. If her voice carried all the gospel and soul identity of yesteryear, she stood out thanks to her attitude, her natural ardor, her irresistible energy. From the 1960s, under the impetus of her future husband, the guitarist Ike Turner, she revealed herself and fascinated her audience.

AT At the time, the record market was not yet mature and progressive enough to celebrate a black artist at its fair value. Racial segregation does not allow promising talents to emerge internationally. Rhythm & blues is a new form of expression that nevertheless arouses the curiosity and enthusiasm of an audience that is increasingly receptive to the hectic sounds inherited from the swing of its origins. The formidable Ike Turner’s impatience to be able to enjoy his real know-how leads him to excess. His consumption of very caustic substances no longer forbids him any limits and his desire to shine in the spotlight pushes him to always ask more of the young Tina who gradually finds herself the prisoner of an intractable conductor. For 20 years, their relationship will continue to deteriorate. The violence of their exchanges will lead to a divorce. Tina Turner will only demand one thing: keep her stage name!

Tina and Ike Turner, in London, in October 1975.

At the turn of the 80s, it had to reinvent itself, to offer a new show that was scintillating enough to seduce the crowds. The disco floods the radio waves and, although she tries to blend into this sanitized landscape, she realizes very quickly that she is not in her place. It will take the support of Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, for hope to be reborn. The small world of show business suddenly remembers this sparkling singer who had thrilled fans of authentic soul music 10 years earlier. A simple 45 rpm will decide its fate. She adapts Reverend Al Green’s classic, let’s stay together. We are in 1983. Its unique range suddenly rebounds and its destiny accelerates. In the space of a decade, her aura propelled her to the top of the charts, she performed in increasingly prestigious concert halls, soon in stadiums. His notoriety is at its zenith and will remain so until his death.

Tina Turner on stage with The Rolling Stones, November 6, 1981.

The story of Tina Turner is that of a combative woman who never gave up. His strength of character has faced indifference, lack of consideration, social and artistic injustice. She fought to exist, to believe in herself, to contradict fate. Tina Turner left us on May 24, 2023. She was 83 years old.

Tina Turner in Gent, Belgium on May 10, 1996.