Thu | Jun 13, 2024

Gordon Robinson | Simply the best

Published:Tuesday | May 30, 2023 | 12:31 AM
Tina Turner performs in a concert in Cologne, Germany on January 14, 2009.
Tina Turner performs in a concert in Cologne, Germany on January 14, 2009.

If anyone still needs proof any adversity can be overcome the unanswerable evidence was named Anna Mae Bullock.

But you know her as Tina Turner. She was born, November 26, 1939, in Brownsville, Tennessee. Readers have an inkling (those closest to me have known for decades) that I take a serious interest in the ancient Hindu science of Numerology. My friends and family have learned to schedule their naps the moment I start talking about the Number 8.

In authentic Numerology (too many commercially-motivated versions bruiting about) the Number 8 influences persons born on the 8th, 17th or 26th of any month. Depending on the number of previous lives (Hindus are big on reincarnation) they are prone to sorrow, loss and humiliation. But in his seminal 19th century Book of Numbers, Irish astrologer and occultist, William John Warner (a.k.a “Cheiro”), summarised the Number 8 as follows:

“Number 8 is a strange, difficult number. It’s twice 4, so incorporates the rebellious contradictions of that number. Number 8 may mean sorrow, yet it’s also associated with worldly success. Number 8 people have great willpower and individuality, but they may appear cold. In fact they have deep and intense feelings and are often misunderstood by others.”

Later, Cheiro goes into the difficult number in detail:

“Number 8 people are either great successes or great failures; there appears to be no happy medium in their case….

It is not, however, from a worldly standpoint, a fortunate number to be born under, and such persons are often called upon to face the greatest of sorrows, losses and humiliations.”

Sounds like Anna Mae much? Happy medium rarely visited Tina Turner. She had the misfortune to be “discovered” by Ike Turner, a monstrous human being who terrorised, humiliated and abused her for 20 years first as “Little Ann” in Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm (1957). I’m sure the irony isn’t lost on female readers. By 1960, her popularity forced a band (and lead singer) name change to The Ike and Tina Turner Revue. Her first recording, the aptly named Fool in Love, was released as an “Ike and Tina Turner” duet. Tina looked stressed. Ike’s input wasn’t obvious.

Tina: There’s something on my mind.

Won’t somebody please, please tell me what’s wrong?

Back-up Vocals: You’re just a fool you know you’re in love

Tina: What you say?

Back-up Vocals: You’ve got to face it to live in this world.

You take the good along with the bad

Sometimes you’re happy and sometimes you’re sad

Tina: One more time!

Back-up Vocals: You know you love him; you can’t understand…

Tina: (Tell me about it)

Back-up Vocals: …why he treats you like he do

when he’s such a good man

Her public story is well-known. Tina wrote: “He used my nose as a punching bag so many times I could taste blood running down my throat when I sang.” Her standard introduction to live performances of signature song Proud Mary “We never do anything nice and easy” may have been Freudian.

After two decades of suffering battered woman syndrome followed by years in solitude working on her self esteem, Tina emerged in 1984, as the self-assured, defiant icon a new generation adored, with a seminal solo album Private Dancer featuring the auto-biographical What’s Love Got to do with it.

By all accounts she eventually found happiness with second husband, German music executive Erwin Bac, who she married in 2013 and with whom she lived in Switzerland (Tina took Swiss citizenship) until her death. But the Number 8 struck again in 2018 when her eldest son committed suicide.

On her passing Roger Davies, Turner’s manager of 30 years said: “Tina was a unique and remarkable force of nature…. From the first day I met her in 1980, she believed in herself completely when few others did at that time....”

Gloria Gaynor, ( I Shall Survive): “Tina paved the way for so many women in rock music, black and white.” Elton John said she was one of the world’s “most exciting and electric performers.” Mick Jagger revealed how much she had helped him when he was young.

Viola Davis praised Turner as “our first symbol of excellence and unbridled ownership of sexuality!!”

The Woman King nailed it! Whitney, Celine, Barbra all had superior voices. Aretha was soul personified. But when it came to the complete package including character, attitude, resilience, entertainment value, sass, oh, and, of course, talent, hot, sexy, fearless, baddass Diva Tina Turner was simply the best.

Peace and Love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Send feedback to