The first concert I ever went to was a Tina Turner concert at Mt Smart Stadium with my mum. I can remember these long, strong legs stamping and dancing their way across the stage. Her energy, her pace, the way she bent half-over whenever she really belted out those lyrics – I was eight and I was impressed.
The start of her musical career is quite a cool story… Tina and her sister Aillene began to visit Club Manhattan, a nightclub in the East St. Louis area in the late ’50’s, where she first saw Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm, perform. Though not initially taken by his looks, she later said she was impressed by the music and Ike’s talent, claiming the bandleader’s music put her “into a trance”. Noticing that women volunteered to sing with Ike, she felt the urge to get on stage, despite the fact that Ike was not serious about allowing female singers in his band. One night in 1957, the Kings of Rhythm drummer Gene Washington pulled out a microphone from his drum set and handed it to the table Tina and her sister Aillene shared. After Aillene rejected the microphone, Tina took it and began singing while the rest of the band was in intermission. Stunned by her voice, Ike left his piano and asked her if she knew other songs. By the end of the night, she was singing lead for the band’s performance. Soon afterwards, Ike invited her to join the band full-time…
So, Ike and Tina Turner was born. Watch any footage from when these two performed on stage together – Ike keeping the groove on guitar while Tina sings with such gusto, and still manages to keep up, no, not keep up, lead the dancers on stage who are not just doing the ol’ step-touch – these girls are fit! And when she really goes for it, it’s a contagious thing, you just want to get up and shake your money-maker.
With all that glamorous hair, those lengthy pins, and that distinctive voice, Tina Turner is 100% muse-worthy.