Review by KATHY MEGYERI
From her unhappy childhood in Natbush, Tennessee to her five-decade career as the soul shakin’ Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner’s 79 years of life have been both dark and joyful, difficult and inspiring.
In her newest memoir, she unpacks stories of her meteoric rise to fame, her horrific relationship with her first husband, and her triumphant wins against sex, race and age discrimination.
You may feel like you’ve heard it all before — in her first book, I, Tina, and in the 1993 biographical Oscar-nominated film, What’s Love Got to Do with It? But there are new nail-biting stories loaded with vivid details and a very honest reveal of the problems she’s faced in her older age. Frankly, though, it’s her resilience and humility that will win your heart all over again while reading this book.
For instance, Turner admits she could never understand the fuss about her legs; after all, “a young colt is nothing but its legs.” And she admits that her stage presence wasn’t ever about sex appeal; the look was practical. She writes, “Fishnets didn’t run, short dresses made dancing easy and leather didn’t
show the sweat.”
Before she became a global star selling over 200 million records, she was Anna Mae Bullock. When she grabbed a microphone in a club, her voice drew the attention of bandleader Ike Turner – the bad boy who would give her a new name – Tina Turner. He’d make her his wife, the band’s singer and the mother of his children (not all of which were hers). Their honeymoon in Tijuana foreshadowed the horrors to come.
The Ike and Tina Turner Revue, which became one of the most successful acts in the late ‘60s, was filled with behind the-scenes physical and mental abuse, adultery and polygamy. One day she walked out on him and their life together with only 36 cents in her pocket.
At age 44, she made a comeback, but her real luck was meeting record executive Erwin Bach in 1985.
In the past few years, she’s suffered through a stroke, kidney failure, cancer, dialysis, and a kidney transplant. With unfailing support and love, it was Erwin who donated a kidney, but even so, her body is rejecting his kind act.
Last July, her son Craig committed suicide.
Tina waxes poetic when she summarizes her life by writing, “Good came from bad and joy came from pain.”
Fans of Tina Turner will be happy to know that Tina, The Musical, a jukebox review of her music, will have its Broadway premiere this fall.
Keep on rollin’, Tina.