Long Live The Queen

[This post is by Rosalind and seemed enough of a different nature from mine that it deserved its own space. So here we go]

The summer before my senior year at UC Santa Cruz I got a job at the local record store where one day a 12” EP arrived – Tina Turner’s cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”. My female co-worker and I wore that single out, and counted down the months to the release of Tina’s new album, “Private Dancer”.

Tina Turner at this point in her career was considered more an Oldies act, playing clubs, her hit songs in the past. That EP single re-awakened the world – and the music industry – to her talents, and led to a record deal that produced “Private Dancer”. This record and its multiple hit singles stormed up the charts and Tina took home Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the next year’s Grammy Awards.
Comeback is too small a word to describe what happened next. Tina vaulted into arenas then stadiums touring the world for years to come. She claimed that center stage spot and held it in her spike heels and sequins and oh those powerful legs. When the time came for her to step offstage, she returned to her home in Switzerland and her peaceful life with her beloved husband.

Her previous chapter in life has been covered in depth ad nauseam. She bore with resigned disappointment that the press would forever put that past into the first questions, the first paragraphs when she had goddamned earned that solo spotlight.

And in that light you will shine, forever.

Rest in Peace, Queen.

36 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    (thanks ew and bmaz for letting me post my thoughts)

    (and it makes sense to keep comments on Tina over at bmaz’ post…)

  2. LadyHawke says:

    We were just talking about the incredible Tina the other day, as “Two People” played – Save it for a rainy day…

  3. Eichhörnchen says:

    I remember watching a concert from her Private Dancer tour on TV (1985) with my mother and sister. It was triumphant, like she was getting the last laugh. She was not just a survivor, but a conqueror. This was reinforced by her shirtless (as I remember it) keyboard/sax player looking like a young Conan the Barbarian. Not that we could take our eyes off of her.
    She was one of most powerful performers of all time.

    • rosalind says:

      LOL! watching the video bmaz kindly embedded, at the 2:59 mark i’m like “who is that giant blonde dude?”. yes, the keyboard player. and oy, 80s fashion…we called it “flock of haircuts” after “flock of seagulls”.

  4. Ed Walker says:

    Our first date, in the fall of 1971, was at an Ike and Tina Turner concert at the auditorium at Indiana University. Terrific show. And we’re still together.

  5. theartistvvv says:

    “Comeback is too small a word to describe what happened next.”

    I loved her in *Mad Max: Thunderdome* with Rose Tattoo’s Angry Anderson as her sidekick, as well.

    • ducktree says:

      “‘Comeback?!’ I hate that word!! It’s ‘return’ .. .”

      Norma Desmond responding to Joe Gillis – in Sunset Boulevard.

  6. Norskeflamthrower says:

    Thank you Rosalind beautifully said. That tune was a gift to us Boomers who were too busy raising kids and trying to make sense of an irrational world and our place in it to pay attention to the tune (or the singer) and just took it for granted as pop background music. Of course, it didn’t take long, for me anyway, to recognize Tina for what she was: a perfect storm that lifted our collective consciousness and our awareness of all the women who came before her in music who also who brought their truth to a world that was just beginning to recognize it.

    I remember driving up to Santa Cruz with a friend in my senior year at UCI in 1975 and being blown away that such a place, the school and the area, even existed.


    • rosalind says:

      my single dorm room at UCSC had an unobstructed 180 degree view of Monterey Bay. ah, sitting in my hammock with a cold one staring out at the water. a stark contrast to the critical housing shortage students (and Santa Cruz residents in general) are facing today.

      • Norskeflamthrower says:

        Those were the days. I used to patrol Laguna Beach (Woods Cove in particular) when I needed to get away from campus and the library with my wife and son. Sigh, I haven’t been back to either Laguna Beach or Santa Cruz since 1975…too afraid of what I would find. Best to keep the memories safe.

      • Matt___B says:

        Was that a dorm at Cowell or Stevenson? I lived in a dorm at Merrill for my freshman year at UCSC, no ocean view from there, but easy access to the forest…

        • rosalind says:

          Parrington Dorm at Cowell. First year my roommate transferred to Berkeley after the first quarter and I had a double to myself the rest of the year, then snagged the single across the hall w/the views.

          and ah yes, schlepping up the hill to a post-lunch class at Merrill. good times.

  7. posaune says:

    Rosalind, Ah — the mention of a RECORD STORE! Do our kids even know that that is? What memories!

    I’m certain that mr posaune and I inhabited the Tower Records in the Village for at least 1000 hours, maybe double that before we finished graduate school. It was the cheapest hangout. Remember the bins? I think we went through every single one! And Tina Turner’s too. Thanks for the memories!

    • rosalind says:

      i’ve written about this before, but that first summer working at the record store was one of the best times of my life. new staff were encouraged to go through the different genres and pull a record to listen to. afterwards they’d re-seal the LP with the re-sealing machine in back (ahem) and i’d move on to the next musical discovery.

      then off to the clubs (Catalyst, OT Prices, Keystone Palo Alto) to see the music spring to life: X, Blasters, Los Lobos, Rank and File, Irma Thomas, Clifton Chenier, KoKo Taylor, John Hiatt, Riders In The Sky, Stevie Ray Vaughan…heaven.

    • -mamake- says:

      Record stores…?
      Tower Records, 16th & Broadway. Russ Solomon’s dad owned Tower Pharmacy and they started with a section of 45’s, IIRC. Then moved across the street, records and books – a dream for an introvert. Hours turn into days there, open till midnight. Work inventory and stay through the night – a fly on the wall – counting, tallying, listening and learning. The place to be for every kind of music. Great staff, many musicians, and a truly great place to grow up in and around.

      Too many intersecting life stories to begin to recount here. Defining and memorable…

  8. Nessnessess says:

    I can still remember seeing (Ike &) Tina opening for the Stones at Madison Square Garden in 1969, at one of the “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out” shows.

    How did I ever get this old?

    Big wheel keeps on turning….

  9. Lawyerbob says:

    Back in the 1990s, I represented a shelter for women fleeing domestic violence. The staff idolized Tina Turner. The only fee I ever took from them was that they took my wife and I to her show when she toured with Cyndi Lauper. It was phenomenal.

  10. Savage Librarian says:

    I never saw her IRL, but two things that dramatically impacted my life in 1970 were the tragedies at Kent State in May and the death of Janis Joplin in October. Here is what Janis and Tina had to say about each other:

    “Janis Joplin on Tina Turner”


    “Ike and Tina Turner-Land of a Thousand Dances-New York City’s Madison Square Garden 1969”


    “Rare Photos Of Janis Joplin And Tina Turner Performing At Madison Square Garden On November 27, 1969”


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