How can I withdraw like Tina Turner

Tina Turner for her 80th birthday : Self-empowerment against all odds

In her darkest hours, when she was connected to a dialysis machine in a Swiss clinic with severe kidney disease, Tina Turner read again and again in her favorite book: Dante's “Divine Comedy”. In it the poet describes the stony path that the dead have to cover to get to paradise.

“Whether I will ever experience the enlightenment described by Dante is uncertain,” the singer writes in her autobiography “My Love Story. “No matter how difficult it is to get there, I am determined to keep trying.” Her husband, the German music manager Erwin Bach, finally freed her from the life-threatening illness by donating a kidney to her. The professing Buddhist sees a Passion Path through the hospitals as an examination.

Turner admits that her life has “Dante” traits. The first half in particular was like a ride into hell. Born on November 26, 1939 in Nutbush, a 300-soul nest in Tennessee, under the real name Anna Mae Bullock, she was soon deported to her grandmother. She felt like an unwanted child and was often beaten by her mother.

Music was their counterworld from an early age. “I've been singing for as long as I can remember.” When she was four or five years old, the shop assistants lifted her onto a stool to sing a song she had heard on the radio. How she escaped the narrowness of her origins, she later described in the self-composed hit "Nutbush City Limits". By then she had already fled from her mother's beating into an even more violent relationship with the eight-year-old guitarist Ike Turner.

The beginnings of success

The man who wrote one of the very first rock'n'roll titles with "Rocket 88" was a soul genius, but also a psychopath and drug addict. He discovered her singing qualities in a club in St. Louis, gave her the first name Tina and immediately secured the rights to the Tina Turner brand.

The wedding night after the flash marriage in Tijuana they spent in a brothel. "I felt so miserable all the time that I wanted to cry," she recalls. "But there was no escape." Ike beat her bloody for trivial reasons. But Tina couldn't find the strength to leave him, not only because of their son, but also because she was economically dependent on him.

But some of the best soul songs of all time grew out of the mesalliance, such as their hit “A Fool In Love”, the CCR cover version “Proud Mary” or the four-minute symphony “River Deep - Mountain High”, the commercial climax.

To record it, the megalomaniac producer Phil Spector gathered no fewer than 75 musicians and 25 singers in the studio in 1966 in order to build his famous "Wall of Sound" behind Tina's lead vocals. The subsequent tour of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue through Great Britain as the opening act for the Rolling Stones was a triumph.

From pop music Cinderella to superstar

“I carried on, continued on my way,” is the laconic creed of the woman standing up, which runs like a motto through her memoirs (the German edition was published by Penguin Verlag). After she finally got rid of Ike in 1976, a new life began for her that was "great from the first moment".

In financial terms, however, this cannot be said, because the singer had to pay six-digit dollar compensation for failed concerts. For the time being, she appeared in casinos and variety shows with her old numbers, but her self-confidence did not suffer.

She already lived the principle of self-empowerment when nobody knew the term. When Tina Turner met her new manager Roger Davies in 1979, she told him that she wanted to fill halls as big as the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. Guest appearances with Tom Jones, Rod Stewart and David Bowie earned her a record deal with Capitol Records.

At 44, she was considered a “middle-aged artist”, but eight million copies of her epoch-making synthpop album “Private Dancer”, released in 1984, sold in the first year alone. From pop music Cinderella to superstar, this fairy tale came true for the woman who, after Marlene Dietrich, has the most famous legs in music history. In 1988 she sang in front of 188,000 spectators at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, a record that has never been achieved to this day.

After Tina Turner retired into private life after a sold out farewell tour, she rarely shows herself in public, for example at the beginning of 2018 at the premiere of the "Tina Turner" musical in London. As a result of colon cancer and dialysis treatment, she can hardly write any more, not even autographs.

She is happy anyway. "Most people think I am constantly on the move," she writes. “But that's not true. I understand that the most meaningful moments are when there is peace, when I sit and meditate and let my mind wander. ”Today, Turner is celebrating her 80th birthday. Contemplation is granted to her.

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