Re-Tina Turner

Around 1982 I got the coolest call from Roger Davies that he and Tina loved our clients Heaven 17’s records, which they produced, and wanted to talk to them about working on her new album. The band were in LA promoting their new record for Virgin/Arista “Let Me Go.”  We went up to the house in Bel Air and met with them. We sat on the floor. It was dark, and as gigantic fans of Tina we just sat in awe of her magnetism and beauty matched with total humility. Anyway, we made a deal. Roger was such a great manager and there was no bullsh*t. They went in the studio and cut  “Let’s Stay Together”  and “I Can’t Stand The Rain.” The record sold a zillion copies, and  we were so proud to have been involved. We all throw around the words greatest and icon all the time but come on, then there’s Tina Turner.

Bill Gerber


In our interview, you asked about one of my greatest career moments and afterwards I thought of this and regretted not telling you:

I was in Dortmund Germany  in the 1980s, right after I started representing Tina, to see her perform at the local arena.  Backstage, before the show,  Graham Lyle and Terry Britten came to see her with a song they’d just written tucked her their arms.

Tina looked at it and started singing “We Don’t Need Another Hero” for the first time, a capella, in an echoey hallway with that overpowering voice.  It was a truly magical moment and I still get chills thinking about it.

Don Passman


She really was simply put. THE GREATEST!

The one and ONLY! I was fortunate enough to promote one event for Tina a long time ago. It was 1978 and I booked her at my club in Dallas named the Palladium of Dallas. It was for 4 shows in 2 nights and all performances were completely sold out. The Palladium was a rather odd setup in that the dressing rooms were located in the back of the venue behind the audience. The only path from the dressing room to the stage was a long flight of stairs from the dressing room up to a catwalk over the audience to another long flight of stairs down to the back stage area. Upon the completion of her 4th performance I met her as she came off the stage and helped her get up the 1st flight of stairs to the catwalk going back to the dressing room area. When we got to the other side she said “boss man I can’t make it down those stairs. Can you turn around?” I did and she immediately jumped up on my back and I carried her down the stairs to the dressing room. Tina was really and truly the epitome of leaving it all on the stage and she did it every time she took the stage for many decades after that. She was a real life hero and my hero 100% for sure. May God rest her beautiful soul.

Danny Eaton


While on staff as an engineer at Capitol Studios, I’d have occasion to cut demos with A&R staff producer, Carter. One of them was with Melissa Etheridge, who years later, I’d end up producing. But that’s another story for another time.

Carter brought Tina into the studio in hopes of cutting demos, not only to get her signed but to inspire songwriters to submit songs for her. She wasn’t the “new, young, hip” thing, having had success in the 60’s and 70’s with Ike and Tina Turner revue. But that was years ago. Songwriters didn’t want to give up their best songs to a has-been. Carter had a vision and the demos helped the ball rolling.

We were wrapping up overdubs on the demos late into the night. Tina had a red eye to catch at LAX, flying to Japan for some industrial solo gig. We had gotten 2/3 of the way through her vocal when the microphone crapped out (probably succumbed to the power of Tina.) It was a vintage Neumann and we had to take time out to revive it. The tech shop set about their task, estimating maybe 45 minutes.

I told Tina the estimate and she said, “OK, I’m just gonna catch a little cat nap.” She grabbed a packing blanket from one of the gobos for a pillow and proceeded to lay down at the mic stand. Minutes later, she was asleep.

Once the mic was back up and tested, I nudged her, “Hey Tina, we’re ready to go”. She popped up, and proceeded to blast through the rest of the song in time to catch her flight.

Total pro. Gentle soul.

Carter produced the title track, “Private Dancer”. A couple of the demos we cut ended up as B-sides and were included on later compilations. One of my favorites:

“Don’t Rush the Good Things”:

You can hear the room sound of Studio B on the drums… And that VOCAL! And her backgrounds. Goosebumps.

That “debut” solo album would go on to earn 4 Grammys and sold 20 million copies. Carter was right.

The last time I saw Tina was with Carter when she wrapped her touring career at the Staple Center. High kicks and high notes intact. She was special. I treasure the Polaroid we snapped during the demo sessions…

David N. Cole


You know I am a fan of your writing, and your tribute to Tina nails it. You not only encapsulate Tina Turner’s remarkable rollercoaster career, but in doing so explain the history of the music business through her ride.

I will say that I was aware of “River Deep, Mountain High,” and to this day, when that Ike and Tina record comes on, (Ike’s a**hole-ness notwithstanding), I drop what I’m doing, crank it up loud, and feel my arm hairs stand tall. Tina’s vocal covers so much ground. Its innocence draws you in, but that phrasing, ahead of the beat, teasing at the urgency of what is coming. Then she hits you with “And it gets stronger…,” and tears your heart out. That chord change into the chorus spins you for a loop, her scream at the end of the bridge is so crazy sensual. No wonder pop radio was afraid to play that record. It was simply too good. What could they play after it? Everything else would have sounded weak by comparison. I don’t know of another record (Phil Spector’s a**hole-ness notwithstanding) which was so far ahead of its time. No female vocalist had ever laid her pain, as well as her sexuality so bare. I listened to the record again just now, three times in a row, and I am on the floor…again!

Tina Turner transcended all stereotypes. She was a powerful African American woman who could out-rock the Stones. (Face it, Mick was the white male version of Tina!) “What’s Love” blew out the boundaries of what kind of music black artists “should” make. Her duet with Bryan Adams on “It’s Only Love” showed her to be a true rock singer. When I watched Tina’s recent documentary, and learned that she was living a quiet life in Switzerland, I put two and two together. But like you, I am proud of her for leaving us with only memories of her strength, fearlessness, relentless courage and drive, and selflessness. It takes a lot to go out on top, and that is what Tina did.

We are losing so many of our heroes. When David Crosby passed it broke my heart. I know Tina is gone. But the picture of her shimmying across the stage, fringe flying, every muscle in her body feeling the rhythm, and the sound of that voice, expressing emotion with every ounce of power in her being, are so ingrained in me that I can’t feel sadness. She is not gone, will never be gone, her spirit is simply too strong, her river simply too deep…she is simply the best. … kc

Kevin Cronin


We were signed to Capitol and were recording at Mayfair Studios in London. Sitting in the lobby drinking tea when the doors blew open and in walked Tina along with her manager, bodyguards and surprisingly our friend Lisa Dalbello (who was about to be managed by Roger Davies, Tina’s manager). We had a chat, then 20 minutes later I had my ear to the studio door, listening to Tina laying down vocals on “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” 10 minutes later she was gone.

“Total pro” the producer later said. “She did 2 takes but nailed it on the first one.”

One of a kind.

Drew Arnott
Strange Advance


As usual, an excellent and an insightful remembrance of a brilliant artist.
But you’ve forgotten to mention or give props to an absolutely essential element of the amazing career renaissance of Tina Turner, an “element” which I had the great honor and pleasure to experience & collaborate with first hand.

Namely the brilliant, always strategic and incredibly intuitive and supportive work of Tina’s longtime personal manager Roger Davies.

Right around the time that the Private Dancer album broke through on the strength of the “What’s Love” hit single, I worked very closely with Roger on a national marketing and media celebrity rebranding project for McCalls magazine.

The campaign featured several female music and entertainment icons which included Bette Midler, Carly Simon, Cher and of course Tina.
Developing and structuring the partnership with the ad agency and the client with Roger demonstrated not only his keen business and creative savvy, but above all his total dedication to doing only and precisely what he thought was best for his artist; and to making sure that she was both comfortable, relaxed and pleased with the project at all times.

You could feel Roger’s depth of understanding about how often Tuna had been previously mistreated and misunderstood and he wasn’t going to have any of that again.

And so he maintained appropriately firm but fair control of all aspects of her participation in the project throughout.

No ask, no decision was made without Roger’s direct and careful evaluation and approval.

And because Tina clearly trusted Roger so completely, everything went 100% according to plan. Which almost never happens in those sorts of multi party partnerships!

In all of the years in which I’ve had the opportunity to work with a wide array of great musical talent from every music genre, I’ve never encountered a more thoroughly professional and cooperative artist.
Nor have I found a kinder, more down to earth, honest and well balanced human being than Tina Tuner, who weathered many personal storms and traveled the hardest of roads in her earlier days and came out of it all as a true superstar & a one of a kind talent.

And, I’ve never worked with or observed a more perfectly well suited and “in tune” artist/manager team than Tina Turner and Roger Davies.


Stephen Dessau


Bob, once again it’s Sammy Hagar, your every five year friend, ha ha.

First of all. what you wrote about Carter’s iinvolvement in Tina’s comeback put tears in my eyes! You obviously know how I feel about Carter and what he did for me in my career & our long time relationship. Carter did the same thing for Bob Seger, as he did for Tina, me and many others. always fighting for the artist. Carter was Our friend & champion in the corporate world of the music industry.

But his involvement with Tina, was so special and your acknowledgment and understanding of all the moving parts was just wonderful, esp In the midst of all the sad news, your article gave me a happy moment.

Thank  you.
Here’s to. Carter & Tina in rock ‘n’ roll Heaven.


Sammy Hagar

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