Tina Turner, a queen of rock and roll covers
The most famous example, of course, is her and Ike’s reimagining – “cover” seems almost too reverent a word – of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s mid-tempo Southern rocker ‘Proud Mary’. The 1970 recording opens with Turner declaring that despite what the public would like them to do, “we never do anything nice and easy”. She then issues a warning, as if that galloping tempo change in the middle of the song would have been too shocking without it: “We’re going to take the beginning of this song and take it easy, but then we’re going to rough the finish. That’s the way we do ‘Proud Mary’.”
That was also the spirit behind her versions of “Help!”, “Come Together” and “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” — just to name a few. few of the Beatles songs she positively Tina-fied. Led Zeppelin And the rolling stones got the treatment, too, and so did “Louie Louie,” with a sultry, little-known rendition that — I’m not even making this up — dubbed louielouie.net (“The blog for all things Louie Louie”)” one of the essential Louie Louie recordings!” with some capital emphasis, Amen that.
Tina Turner was a seismic, once-in-a-lifetime musical force, but I don’t need to tell you that; I’ll let this playlist do the talking. And I’ll let my colleague Wesley Morris, who wrote an appraisal worthy of the Queen, have a say too: ‘They say she was 83? Nobody buys that. The ingredients made her seem immortal. Making music for seven decades, it all bubbled up in her. That energy. It’s hot by hair – from her feet, thighs, hands, arms, shoulders, from her hair, from her mouth.
Listen along on Spotify as you read.
1. “Come Together”
Released as a single in December 1969, just two months after the Beatles’ own version, this soulful version of the first track of “Abbey Road” showcases the raspy intensity and melodic control of Turner’s voice. (Listen on YouTube)
2. “Honky Tonk Women”
In late 1969, Ike and Tina toured with the Rolling Stones—an opening performance immortalized forever in an unforgettable scene in the documentary “Gimme Shelter,” when Turner unleashes a transcendent “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” Around the time of the tour, the duo began playing their own revamped “Honky Tonk Women,” in which Tina flips the titular character from object to subject. Especially in Stones songs about sexual conquest, Mick Jagger wasn’t exactly known for writing nuanced female characters (“Some Girls,” ahem), but here Tina brilliantly transforms mildly chauvinistic source material into a passionate demand for equal partnership: “I’m a honky tonk woman,” she hungrily sings. “Gimme, gimme, gimme a honky tonk man.” (Listen on YouTube)