Episode 199. Tina and the Expats

Episode 199. Tina and the Expats



If you’re like me (and I hope that, at least in this way, you are!) you have adored Tina Turner since you first became aware of her. In my case, it was circa 1971, seeing her perform “Proud Mary” on television. At the time I was a pretty snooty (and snotty) kid much more prone to Mahler and Britten than I was to pop music. But something about Tina got to me. And when, against all odds, her star rose again in the 1980s, I was once again drawn into her orbit. So when she died last week in Switzerland, aged 83, I was really thrown for a loop. For a week I racked my brains about how I could pay proper tribute to a figure who, as one of the biggest pop stars in the world, not only changed the face of music, but also of our culture in general. Normally I prefer to stay focused on an artist’s work, but in Tina’s case, her compelling personal story also commanded attention, and in a way the two are inseparable. As much as we rightly revile Ike Turner for his inexcusable abuse and torture of his wife and everyone else around him, he was also a musical innovator in the rock ‘n’ roll scene and one who, one hopes at least, recognized the genius of Anna Mae Bullock, whom he plucked from obscurity to assume the persona of his wife and co-creator. Even if his contributions are now irreparably tainted, it was Tina who was the lifeblood of that duo, and who became known as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In my podcast I often focus on US artists, predominantly those of color, who chose to relocate to Europe and forge careers there. I have devoted a lot of time, space, and research to the Black opera singers who came here, but there is an equally fascinating story to be told about the pop singers of many eras and genres, who also chose to make Europe their home. Though this episode focuses primarily on Tina and some of the less-explored material throughout her career, I seek to contextualize her by also discussing the many African American singers, from Adelaide Hall to Joséphine Baker, from Donna Summer to Dee Dee Bridgewater, who either spent formative time in Europe or settled there permanently. Along with the aforementioned favorites, I also focus on lesser-known artists such as Beauty Milton, Vickie Henderson, Betty Dorsey, Salena Jones, and Bertice Reading (my latest mega-discovery). It has been cathartic and inspirational for me to create this episode; I hope it provides a similar experience for you.


Ike Turner: Tinaroo. Ike and Tina Turner [1963]

Holly Knight, Mike Chapman: The Best. Tina Turner [1989]

Ike Turner: Gonna Find Me a Substitute. Ike and Tina Turner [1963]

Sammy Fain, Irving Kahal: Two Little Flies on a Lump of Sugar. Alberta Hunter, Jack Jackson and His Orchestra [1934]

Cole Porter: Love for Sale. Elisabeth Welch, arranged and conducted by Zack Laurence [1976]

Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, Irving Gordon: Prelude to a Kiss. Adelaide Hall [1976]

J.C. Johnson: Bessie Smith Blues. Bertice Reading, Peter Knight and His Orchestra [1955]

Fred Neil: Everybody’s Talkin’. Salena Jones, arranged and conducted by Keith Mansfield [1970]

Claus Doll, Lotar Olias: Der große Bär hat sieben kleine Sterne. Vickie Henderson, Fontana-Tanzorchester und Chor [1959]

Barbara Ruskin, Peter Lahn [né Günther Tilgert]: Es liegt an dir. Beauty Milton [1968]

Ken Leray, Roger Spooner [German lyrics by Jürgen Phil, Ralf Cromy]: Sing, Silverqueen. Betty Dorsey [1975]

Jimmy Kennedy, Michael Carr: South of the Border; Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed: You Are My Lucky Star; Cole Porter; Night and Day. Olive Moorefield, Erwin Halletz mit seinem großen Tanz-Orchester [1955]

Manos Hadzidakis, Billy Towne: Never On Sunday. Felicia Weathers, Harold M. Kirchstein und sein Orchester [1968]

Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni, James Rado [German lyric by Walter Brandin]: Wassermann [Aquarius] (Haare). Donna Gaines [Summer] and Company, musical direction by Steve Gillette [1968]

Pierre Spiers, Roger Desbois: Quand je pense à ça. Joséphine Baker [live Bulgaria (Golden Orpheus) 1970]

Jacques Brel: Ne me quitte pas. Nina Simone [1965]

Ann Peebles, Bernard Miller, Don Bryant: I Can’t Stand the Rain. Dee Dee Bridgewater, produced and arranged by John Stoddart [2017]

Tina Turner: Nutbush City Limits. Ike and Tina Turner [1973]

Ike Turner: Too Much Woman (For a Hen Pecked Man). Ike & Tina Turner [1970]

Tammy Wynette, Billy Sherrill: Stand By Your Man. Tina Turner [1974]

Sylvia Robinson: Shame Shame Shame. Tina Turner, Cher [The Cher Show 27.IV.75]

Leon Huff, Gene McFadden, John Whitehead: Back Stabbers. Tina Turner [1979]

Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong: Ball of Confusion. Tina Turner, British Electric Foundation [1982]

Al Green, Willie Mitchell, Al Jackson, Jr: Let’s Stay Together. Tina Turner, Heaven 17 [live London television 1983]

John Lennon, Paul McCartney: Come Together. Tina Turner, Ike Turner [live Paris 1971]

Jamie West-Oram, Jeanette Obstoj, Rupert Hine: I Might Have Been Queen. Tina Turner [1984]

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