RIP Queen Of Rock 'n Roll
The One & Only, Tina Turner
1939 - 2023
Thoughts about the legendary Tina Turner
by Abbe Davis
"This is what I want in heaven... words to become notes, and conversations to be symphonies"
It's odd how we sometimes forget about legends until they pass away. Then, we automatically reflect on moments where they once inspired us along the way. That's how it was for me a week ago when I learned of the passing of Tina Turner. My mind raced and my heart dropped. The Queen of Rock 'n Roll was gone.
I remember the first time I ever saw Tina Turner when I was a kid. There I sat perched in front of the TV, and there she was, on fire. I watched her muscles popping, head of hair shaking, her self-assured dancing, and the soul and sound of her voice. This woman was a force of life, unstoppable. I could not take my eyes off of her powerful performance. Growing up I was just a kid in my room, singing songs, trying to sound like the recordings and playing piano. “Tina Turner IS the music! Look at her go,” I thought with my young mind. She was rocking out with Mick Jagger. Her moves and bold voice were the band’s rhythm, too. I was mesmerized.
Years went on, I broke up with an abusive musician one night, and sat in my car, and on a classic music channel there it was, “I Don’t Wanna Fight,” and I sang along and thought, “That’s right, DONE! I hear you, Tina. I will just do my music and to hell with this drama. Thank you, woman.”
Flash to years later when I lived in NJ and was driving across the George Washington bridge one night to get to an original rock gig in NYC. I look up as I drive into the city and there's Tina Turner, looming larger than life on some huge billboard. I laughed about the poster, “Nobody can say that that is not sexy. Tina, you rock!” We played our show that night with more soul and it went well. She inspired me again, and of course her concert sold out.
A remarkable performer, a spiritual person, and an inspiring story. The abbreviated version is this (as seen on HBO's "I, Tina" movie) She and her family worked in cotton fields in a small town in Tennessee. Her mom left them when she was just a kid. When she was a teenager, her sister brought her to a club to see Ike Turner with the Kings of Rhythm one night. After asking Ike for many nights, trying to get him to let her sing with the band, she just grabbed the mic on the stage one night during the band's break, and belted out a song. Ike was shocked that she had a big voice, and he immediately had her join the band.
Soon their show was called Ike and Tina. They married, and she endured his drug addiction and abuse of her. One night he physically hurt her again, and she left him at a hotel in the 70’s. Post divorce, she had only $35 dollars left to her name, so she did the Vegas circuit to earn money.
"My legacy is that I stayed on course... from the beginning to the end, because I believed in something inside of me."
In 1986, she published her autobiography I, Tina: My Life Story, which was adapted for the 1993 film What's Love Got to Do with It. Finally, by age 50, Tina emerged with a remarkable solo career, Grammy's for her hit songs and performances, and then found love with Irwin Bach.
An original HBO documentary from 2020, “I, Tina” encapsulates her life beautifully. There are even interviews of her a few years ago, speaking candidly about her music and life path.
Hard to believe our Rock ‘n Roll queen has passed. A black woman who, during segregation, followed music as her beacon. It was her passion. She found a way to show us the best of her gifts, and then gave us her life story, too.
She inspired women, she inspired black women, she gave strength to so many who were encountering abuse, and inspired dreamers to go after their dreams. Queen of Rock, may you rest in peace and thank you for giving us so much of yourself. Namaste
Abbe Davis, Editor of TRR / Musician
Abbe Davis is a pro singer/songwriter. Her band's singles will release in the Fall.Abbe will co-MC the TRR new series,Tru Rock Live, streaming this summer. Abbe's background is Blues, Classical, Jazz and Rock. She performed alongside legendary Blues artist, Buddy Guy, at the Riverwalk Blues Festival. Abbe also played at the Parkland Memorial concert in South Florida. When not doing music or healing people at One of Asheville, she enjoys hiking and cycling with the family.