R.I.P. Tina Turner

Music icon Tina Turner died today at the age of 83. Turner had been ill with hypertension, intestinal cancer and kidney failure over the past decade. The acknowledged Queen Of Rock and Roll started her career in 1957 when she performed with her ex-husband in Ike Turner’s Kings Of Rhythm. They became one of the best live acts of the 1960s and had hit records with “River Deep Mountain High,” “Proud Mary,” “Nutbush City Limits” and “A Fool In Love.” They disbanded in 1976 after years of a tumultuous marriage and significant career success. Turner went solo and started appearing on television shows to pay her bills. At this time she was considered an act of the past because working in Vegas was seen as a retirement plan for musicians. It was after four albums and a cover of Al Green’s”Let’s Stay Together”she was able to attract a recording contract with Capitol Records. Private Dancer was released in 1984 and it was the start of the greatest comeback story in the music industry.

The album became the catalyst that transformed her from being almost obscure to being seen on a worldwide stage. Private Dancer had multiple singles to chart, sold millions of copies and kicked off a tour with 177 shows across the globe. Tina Turner proved that being a pop star was not reserved for the young and the album took home four Grammys out of the six nominations. Private Dancer became one of the best-selling albums of all time and Turner had become a worldwide star with tremendous crossover appeal. She would release four more albums that all did well on the charts. Her first memoir, I, Tina My Life Story came out two years after Private Dancer. She would receive accolades for the rest of her life after the success of this album. 

In 1991, she and Ike Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was famously portrayed by Angela Bassett in the 1993 film What’s Love Got To Do With It. Years later in the 2000s, she helped create Tina, a musical about her life. An appearance at the 2008 Grammys paired her onstage with Beyoncé and the following year she officially retired as a performer. There were two more memoirs, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award during the last two decades of her life. In 2021, Turner was inducted again into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. Tina, the documentary was also released that year and the following there was Barbie doll created in her likeness. The former Anna Mae Bullock was one of few Black women to take rock music to its next level in the ’60s onward. Her competence as a performer and famous legs set a standard for every woman rock singer that came after her. But her comeback story, perseverance, and longevity continue to provide inspiration for anyone struggling to become.


Throwback: The Isley Brothers-It’s A Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop)

The Isley Brothers’ “It’s A Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop)” was one of the rare times they made a club record. They were known for funk, rock and soul but disco was not a genre they had directly approached despite having helped lead the way to its creation. Winner Takes All was their 17th album and it was unusual in other ways because it was their only double album and there were no ballads. But their prolific creativity persevered in their versatility. They mastered a disco groove with the Isley funk percolating in the middle of a rhythm designed for satin slip dresses and oversized collars on the dancefloor. Ron Isley’s songbird falsetto gave smooth instructions to the dancers while his brothers Rudolph and Kelly commanded everyone to keep rocking. Winner Takes All became a certified Gold album and “It’s A Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop)” survived the disco backlash to emerge as another quintessential party jam. The Isley Brothers released their 31st studio album Make Me Say It Again, Girl in 2022 and are long overdue for a biopic. 


Otis Redding Multi-Colored Vinyl Box Set On The Way

Otis Redding Otis Forever



Otis Redding’s posthumous albums are coming out as a multi-colored vinyl box set. Otis Forever: The Albums & Singles (1968-1970) compiles six albums and 24 singles.  The ’60s’ soul star had a blazing moment during the decade with “These Arms Of Mine” and  “Try A Little Tenderness” in a repertoire which also saw Aretha Franklin popularize his single “Respect. Redding’s lone number one hit  “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” was released after his untimely death in a 1967 plane crash. The Dock Of The Bay, The Immortal Otis Redding, Love Man, and Tell The Truth, will be available in different colored vinyl as well as all black. The Singles 1968-1970 is a double album of 24 songs. Redding recorded a lot of music between 1962-1967 many times with Stax’s house band Booker T. & the MGs. His output for the label helped Stax Records achieve worldwide recognition and respect that still holds today. 

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” was the first song to posthumously snag the number one slot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Redding’s achievements after death continue with Grammys, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a postage stamp and being the subject of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Otis.” The release of Otis Forever: The Albums & Singles (1968-1970) comes not too long after the passing of Otis Redding III who died in April. The box set comes out on June 9th and can be pre-ordered through Rhino’s website. 

Throwback: Stevie Wonder-You ‘ve Got It Bad Girl

Stevie Wonder Talking Book album cover 19

Stevie Wonder’s “You’ve Got It Bad Girl” came out in 1972 and this time period was the beginning of his artistic voice breaking away from the Motown machine. Talking Book was Wonder’s 15th album, released later in the same year after Music Of My Mind. Wonder had a new contract with Motown, which gave him 100 percent creative freedom; both albums were the beginning of this new phase. These albums are where he started using synthesizers in his sound.  “You’ve Got It Bad Girl” emerged with supple waveforms that added a cosmic electronic layer to R&B five years before Bernie Worrell’s playing on Parliament’s “Flash Light.” Talking Book is one of the most noted albums in pop music celebrated by fans, critics and other creatives since its release in 1972. Wonder’s work in the ’70s is considered his most creatively prolific time and the music he produced continues to influence soul and RnB music of subsequent generations. Wonder is scheduled to receive a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Fordham University at their 2023 178th commencement ceremony.