26. May 2023

Tina Turner in 10 songs

Tina Turner singing

An inspiration in every way.


I came home from an evening out with a friend on Wednesday to the sad news that Tina Turner, the legendary rock singer, had died at age 83.

Even though this did not come as a surprise — I knew Tina had been in poor health for a while — I still felt an immediate and heavy sadness. Tina had blessed us over decades with her voice, her energy, her unstoppable life force — and we are all the richer for it. It is hard to believe she is gone.

Dad, who is THAT?

I have been a Tina Turner fan since I was 7 years old. My dad had recorded a concert from the Foreign Affair tour on the old VCR and — without anything better to do — I sat down and watched it with him. I was instantly smitten by the lady on stage. The voice! The legs! The hair! The moves! I’d never seen or heard anything like it. But I definitely wanted more.

I had no idea of her previous career with Ike Turner at this point, of course. Tina’s rock reincarnation was, for me, quintessential. I soon had the Foreign Affair album on a non-stop loop on my little portable stereo. I seem to remember wearing that cassette out in short order.

34 years later, she’s still inspiring me

Beyond her music, Tina’s life story and her implacable resilience in the face of setbacks and tragedy continues to inspire me to this day. I am currently going through what I will optimistically term a “mid-life career adjustment”. I won’t lie — I often feel a little down and uncertain about where it’s all going.

In my blue moments, I think about how Tina left Ike with just the clothes on her back, a few cents and crushing debts. A complete life crash — and yet she came back in her mid-40s: bigger and brighter and better than ever. I can do that too! Tina’s example of strength in adversity is a shining light for me — and many others too.

Tina in 10 songs — my personal favourites

And so here — in no particular order — are my favourite Tina Turner hits. Which, by the way, I plan to have on heavy rotation in the coming days as I celebrate the life of a true legend.

Steamy Windows

Without doubt my favourite Tina hit. You hear that raunchy guitar riff at the start of the Foreign Affair album…and you know you aren’t going anywhere for the next hour. This brilliant live performance from her 2009 tour is testament to how Tina was still setting the showbusiness standard when she was 70. Seventy!

The Best

Isn’t this just a must for any Tina Turner playlist? It has been played and parodied so much in the last 30 years that it’s easy to forget just what a banger it is.

Proud Mary

Another “quin-Tina-ssential” song. Tina must have performed this song thousands of times over the course of her career. And many would say the duet with Beyoncé is definitive.

As for me, I prefer this 1982 performance. I can’t get enough of Tina’s raw energy on stage. I also can’t believe that she didn’t headbutt her microphone or fall off her heels during the performance.

Addicted to Love

Seriously, can anyone rock a red leather dress like Tina Turner did in this video? This performance is the 80s, distilled to their very essence.

Falling Like Rain

As I mentioned, the Foreign Affair album was my gateway drug to the wonderful world of Tina Turner. It figures that several of my favourite Tina hits come from it. The drum/bass intro gets me moving every time.

I Can’t Stand The Rain

When it comes to a song like “I Can’t Stand The Rain” — you’ve got to have vocal agility. It’s not easy to sing.

That Tina would do justice to the Anne Peebles classic was never in doubt. The stunner is rather how, with that fabulous gravelly voice, she put her own stamp and authority on the song while leaving the original in a class of its own. Sublime.

It Takes Two (duet with Rod Stewart)

From my point of view, the best of Tina’s duets.

What’s Love Got To Do With It

To say that Tina didn’t like this song at first, she did a pretty fine job of turning it into an 80s classic. Thank goodness her manager convinced her to take it on.

Undercover Agent for the Blues

Another from the Foreign Affair album — and probably the song which best encapsulates the album’s sexy, sultry theme.

Cose Della Vita (duet with Eros Ramazzotti)

Two classic voices in two languages coming together to form one huge 90s hit. For best effect, follow up with Eros Ramazotti’s smash hit “Piu bella cosa”. Magnifico!

Rest in peace, dear Tina — and thank you for the music x


Related articles:

My favourite albums…and the best tracks on them

15 songs that bring back the blazing 90s

My 5 favourite lyrics of all time

The 5 best concerts I’ve been to

A walk down music memory lane


Photo: Helge Øverås, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons