The Legendary Tina Turner Passes Away At 83
In another lifetime, I owned a company that sold merchandise at special events including concerts. My contracts were with the building; when an artist like Tina Turner came through, they'd consign the merchandise to me. We'd count it, display it, sell it, count the returns at the show's end, and ensure everyone got their money. I probably worked 5–6 Tina Turner concerts; each was a magnificent show.
Because we were in the building working, we got to hear the artist's sound check. Usually, for an individual artist, it lasts 20–30 minutes as they check sound levels and mark spots on the stage for Tina, in this case, to stand/sit/dance as they perform certain songs. It's also a time to work out mistakes from the night before, if any. On one occasion, I watched Tina run a one and-1/2-hour sound check as she made sure everyone got things right. Maybe her ex-husband Ike Turner was a taskmaster, but Tina could be just as tough.
Most people's favorite Tina Turner song was "Proud Mary." She and her dancers started out "nice and easy," but by the middle of the song, things got "rough," which was always the plan. The last time I saw Tina live, she was in her late 60s but still had those legs. I will stop there as my wife may read this. She did look good, though. My favorite Tina song is "River Deep, Mountain High," which is considered by some the greatest rock song ever recorded.
I could choose from a dozen other songs and still not lose a beat. "Private Dancer" and "What's Love Got To Do With It," among others. Tina survived a tumultuous relationship with Ike to achieve the pinnacle of success. In 2013 she became a Swiss citizen, married Edwin Bach, and renounced her American citizenship. Three weeks after her wedding, she suffered a stroke and had to relearn to walk. In 2018, she revealed she had several life-threatening illnesses, including intestinal cancer and kidney failure. Tina had kidney transplant surgery on April 7, 2017.
Listening to Tina speak in her later years, she'd acquired a European accent and spoke with a touch of the upper class. She never forgot where she came from though, chronicling her beginnings in the song "Nutbush City Limits" about the unincorporated Nutbush, TN, where she was raised. Tina was the first Black artist to appear solo on Rolling Stone magazine cover. She also found success as an actress appearing in Tommy and Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome. Tina Turner was a force and will truly be missed. Rest in power!