Tina Turner wrote in her autobiography “My Love Story” that her life definitely has “Dantesche” features. She meant Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, which tells of the rocky path through purgatory to heaven. The singer, child of a cotton farming family from the 300-person town of Nutbush in Tennessee, grew up experiencing poverty and violence.
To put it bluntly, her career consisted of comebacks. Turner has fallen many times, but always got back up. Her first husband Ike Turner, at whose side she rose to soul stardom, was violent. She spoke of brainwashing and torture. In 1976, she literally ran away from him from a hotel.
She gives up her royalties for freedom. She dabbles in small clubs until, with the help of a new manager, she gets a record deal with a big label. With the album “Private Dancer” she triumphantly returned to the charts in 1984. Her dream of filling stadiums like the Rolling Stones has come true.
Tina Turner later released many best-of records and announced her departure from the stage for the first time in 1992. And then go on tour again. Their shows are big nostalgic stagings, buoyed more by their ’80s synth-pop hits than the “Nutbush City Limits” enthusiasm of their ’60s soul. Irony is also involved.
At a concert in the multi-purpose hall at Berlin’s Ostbahnhof in 2009, she sang her song “Steamy Windows”, which is about sex in the car, from a steep steel frame. When she joins her dancers, it looks like she’s giving lessons.
She turns “What’s Love Got to Do With It” into a feminist anthem by allowing thousands of female viewers to accompany her in the chorus. “I need some female support,” she had called out. She doesn’t like the singing skills of the men in the hall. And when she performs “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from the “Mad Max 3” soundtrack, she reappears in a blonde wig, headband and mail with extra-wide shoulder pads as in the film. The future as imagined in 1985. Wow!
By the way, there were many Eastern Europeans among the visitors, but hardly any blacks. Tina Turner’s later successes didn’t have much to do with funk and soul.
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