Thursday, November 26, 2009
A SUPREME ROCK BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUT TO JEAN TERRELL AND TINA TURNER
While many are celebrating Thanksgiving, there are two legends who are celebraring their birthdays today. Singers Jean Terrell and Tina Turner.
Both ladies have graced us with their God-Given Talents as well as blessed us with wonderful and timeless music that will live on forever.
Jean was born in Mississippi as one of ten children, who had later relocated to Chicago, and got into music at a younger age, due to the encouragement of her parents and siblings. After high school, she and her brother Ernie a former boxer had sung together with a group, and was discovered in Miami by Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, who was looking for a talented lady to become the new lead singer of The Supremes. When Diana Ross decided to pursue a solo career, many had wondered who was going to step into her pumps and gowns? Syretta Wright was going to take that spot, but Gordy decided to enlist Terrell, who brought a Soulful, yet hip sound to the group. With Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong, they scored many hits inlcuding "Up The Ladder To The Roof," "Stoned Love" (my second all time favorite song and the group's last # 1 hit) "Nathan Jones," "Touch" one of the group's sexiest and underated songs, "Floy Joy," and "Bad Weather" produced by Stevie Wonder. Terrell's ethnic and sexy looks symbolized Black pride and confidence and individuality, and while she dressed in the group's trademark gowns, she always loved to dress casual. When the group was on Soul Train in 1973, Jean wore a white dress, and matching hat and strutted down the Soul Train line. Shorty after that performance, Jean left the group, had two children, recorded a solo album for A&M Records, and has helped her brother operate their family owned business in California.
Tina has been dazzling music fans for over 50 years, and she has shown the world that no one should be pigeonholed or stifiled to do certain things due to age, race and sex, and she reminded the world of that last year, when she came out of retirement and performed another sold out concert tour.
Born as Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush Tennessee, Tina was the youngest of two daughters born to broken home, and after getting tired of her husband's abuse, Tina's mother left her father and her children to be raised by various relatives including her grandparents, and while she didn't receive much love from her paternal grandmother, her maternal grandparents, showed her lots of love as well as a White family who she worked for, who taught her class, and introduced her to having a grand lifestyle with or without much money. Her high school principal saw something in the teenager and encourgaged her to do well in school. When her mother came back to her mother's funeral, she asked her young daughter to move with and her sister Alieen to St. Louis, and Tina obliged. When she got there, she visisted various night clubs, and one night she met Ike Turner, who would become her teacher and husband. Ike would have women sing, and when Tina's sister refused to sing, she grabbed the mike and began to sing the BB King classic "(Darlin) You Know I love You, and blew everybody away. Soon, she began to perform with Ike's band, and when a singer tried to cheat Ike out of money, he asked Tina to sing the demo for the song "A Fool In Love" and when the head of Sue Records heard the track, he told Ike not to erase Tina's vocals. The duo was offered a record deal and Tina got more than a deal; she got a new name and persona: Tina Turner. The duo would become the hottest touring acts of the 1960's and 1970's performing Blues, Soul and Rock songs, including "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" and "Shake A Tail Feather." Wanting to grow and expand, Tina convinced Ike to add Rock covers to their repritore, and they became a huger hit, but the hit the jackpot when their rendition of "Proud Mary" became the biggest hit of their career going gold and earning a Grammy Award. They later scored with Tina's self-composed "Nutbush City Limits" while Tina won wave reviews in the movie "Tommy." A few years earlier, she recorded the classic "River Deep Mountain High" which flopped in the states, but became an international hit, and showcased her as a vocalist, due to the song's producer Phil Spector issuing a clasue that Ike could not be at the sessions. By the middle of the 1970's Tina had grew tired of Ike's physical abuse, aduletry and addiction to cocaine, so on July 1, 1976 Tina had decided that she wasn't gonna tolerate Ike's mistreatment any longer. After Ike struck her, Tina retailated by hitting, kicking and scratching, and cursing his ass out. When they arrived at the hotel,Ike fell asleep and she made her escape with only 36 cents and a mobile gas card. She ran to a hotel, explained her situation to the manager, who gave her a room and security. Tina then went back to LA and filed for divorced, and though she was entitled to half of their assets, she decided to let him keep everything over her laywer's objections. Tina didn't want to have anything further to do with that moron, and she knew that she was going to have her own coins. She began to perform at Casinos and on variety shows to pay off debts. In 1980. Roger Davies caught Tina's act, and was so blown away, he decided to become her manager, and when he asked Tina what she wanted to do, she tolc him she no longer wanted to sing the Blues. She wanted to sing ballads and happy love songs and she also wanted to sing Rock and Roll. Davies told her she needed to get a new band and to ditch the glittery gowns, and she did. With her new band and her look consisiitng of leather pants, jeans and red dresses, she opened for The Rolling Stones, and showed the kids that a Black woman in her early 40's can be Rock Queens.
After releasing several platnium albums and embarking on several tours, Tina decided to retire from performing in 2000, but after she won rave review for ripping the stage with Destiny's Child lead singer Beyonce Knowles, she decied to hit the road and her tour grossed over $100 million dollars.
Happy birthday to Soul and Rock singerr Jean Terrell and Tina Turner