Like everyone else, we were saddened to hear of the death of Tina Turner, a showbiz legend, proud Buddhist, empowered role model, actress, singer extraordinaire, and a stage couture icon as comfortable in fringes as she was in latex.
Born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee (as revealed in her autobiographical song “Nutbush City Limits,” one of the last hits she would have with ex-husband Ike in 1973), Tina fell into Ike Turner’s orbit in the late ’50s, and a legend began. Singing with Ike and his band, the Rhythm Kings, initially as one of his backing singers, then upfront (and changing her name to Tina in 1960) as has been recorded in her autobiography, I, Tina, the movie made of it, What’s Love Got to Do with It, Ike was an abusive, drug-taking megalomaniac, who Tina finally and painfully extricated herself from in 1976. Her singular genius evident in her incendiary stage performances, her stratospheric vocals on Phil Spector’s 1966 “River Deep, Mountain High,” and too-sexy take on “Proud Mary,” and most triumphantly during her solo turn back to stardom with her Private Dancer ascendency, there may have been stutter steps, but there never really was any stopping, Tina Turner.
This Page Six piece reveals nineteen of Ms. Turner’s startling couture turns. As much known for her presence and voice, there were also those fabulous sky-high wigs and stage costumes. From high slit dresses showing off her world-famous legs (and allowing the lady to lead her backing dancers) to her late 70s infamous Bob Mackie “flame dress” (she connected with Mackie for the first time when appearing on “The Sonny and Cher Show” and the man dressed Tina onward) to her various mid-60s fringe mini dresses, to countless leather mini’s, one of which Mick Jagger famously pulled off Tina during their duet at the Live Aid Festival in Philadelphia in 1985, to latex corsets, latex bodysuits, and dresses, this woman wore it all…and wore it all like the queen she was.
So much could be and is being written this week about Tina Turner, all of it deserved. Some performers pass through this life that we know will never be equaled: Tina Turner was simply the best.