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Tina Turner in concert.

October 13, 2008

FREE CD rock diva Tina Turners brilliant album Private Dancer.

This weekend's The Mail on Sunday brings readers another sensational FREE CD rock diva Tina Turners brilliant album Private Dancer. Featuring the classic hits Whats Love Got To Do With It and the awesome title track, this smash-hit album made Tina a worldwide star. Here, in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, Tina gives a remarkable insight into her troubled early life, how Private Dancer came about, why it remains so special to her and why, at the age of 68, she is out on the road again.

As her state of the art tour bus speeds down the Chicago highway, Tina Turner suddenly throws her hands up in the air and bursts out laughing.If you want the real truth, she says. I cant actually believe I am sitting here right now.

"I cant actually believe in a few hours Im about to step out on a stage, get on those heels and start shaking my bootie.Its something that was never the plan but just sort of happened. But, you know what? This is one hell of a ride.She is, of course, talking about her world tour.

The reviews (piled up in the back of the bus) have been outstanding, the show is bigger, better, slicker and more spectacular than anything she has ever done before. There are pyrotechnics, James Bond-style special effects, more costume changes than the Spice Girls and then there is Tina - and those legs. She throws her head back and laughs again.

Oh my my! she says in her deep Southern twang. The legs. Yes, theyre in good shape. Ive danced since I was a kid, Ive spend five decades dancing in heels and my legs are the result of years of exercising and very good genes.

It makes me laugh that I look at the reviews and they talk about my voice, they talk about the show but the thing they really go on about is still the legs. I once went on a TV show wearing a trouser suit and the audience was almost deadly quiet. I had no idea what the problem was then someone whispered to me: They want to see your legs. When we ask for Tina Turner we want her to bring her legs. It just makes me laugh.This was the tour that was never supposed to have happened. Eight years ago, at the age of 60, went into retirement to spend time with her long-term partner, music executive Erwin Bach, dividing her time between her homes in Switzerland and France.I just wanted time out, she says. I went away and I never looked back. I didnt miss it, I didnt crave that celebrity world, I didnt sit in my room surrounded by my stage costumes.

I just needed a rest. I did absolutely nothing but chill out for a very long time and I was happy. I had absolutely no plans at all to go back. But every now and again Id do a little performance here and there and people would come up to me and say: When are you coming back? Id just laugh a little and say this was it. Then, last year, at a Georgio Armani fashion show, I was seated next to Sophia Loren. We said hello and then she just looked at me and said: So, Tina. When are you coming back? I smiled and said: I needed to have a rest, Sophia. She looked at me again and shook her head. She said: Tina, you have had your rest. This is ridiculous. You are a star. Its your duty to get back out there.

An hour or so later, Georgio (Armani) came over to me. He said: Tina, its time. You got to go back now.

"For some reason those two just got to me. It was like this little ambush. I started thinking why was I apologising. I picked my head up and looked around at the world.

"I saw the Eagles were out on the road, the Rolling Stones. These guys are my generation. I just thought. Okay. If I dont do it now, just one last time, its going to be too late. Im 70 next year, if I dont do it now Ill never do it and my voice is good, my bodys still holding out. I think about my audience really, this tour is for them. Its my thank you for giving me my life back and its a sort of closure too.

Its a sort of flashback tour. I wanted to give people everything they love about Tina Turner which is why I went back to the short skirts, the wild dance routines, the wigs, the big numbers and, of course the legs. Its just my final great big celebration.But this is no ordinary artist. This is Tina Turner. This is a tour about a triumphant survivor. It is, perhaps, no coincidence that the tour was announced just a matter of months after the death of Ike Turner (he died in December 2007) - the man who discovered, married and almost killed her.

Born to a dirt poor family in Nutbush, Tennessee, all Anna Mae Bullock ever wanted to do was sing and dance. At the age of 16 she met rock n roll musician, Ike Turner and within a year she was singing in his band.

By 22 she was his wife. He changed her name to Tina Turner and by the end of the next decade Ike and Tina had become stars with hits such as River Deep Mountain High, Proud Mary and Nutbush City Limits. On the stage in her wigs, her shorts skirts with her lithe dancers body and the same rock n roll moves she would later teach Mick Jagger, Tina Turner was a star. Spectacular comeback: At 68, Tina proves she's still the Queen of pop.

But off stage, she was a victim of Ikes brutal behaviour. As his drug habit spiralled out of control, Tina was subjected to beating after beating often in front of their four children (Ike Jr. and Michael - from Ike's previous relationship - Craig But - from her earlier relationship with Raymond Hill, a saxophone player - and their son, Ronald). He broke her nose, her ribs, threw boiling water over her and forced her to perform with TB. It was about as bad as you can get, she says. I tried to get away several times but couldnt. I felt trapped which is why I then tried to take my own life. But one day I just woke up and realised there was a way out and it was just through the door, leave everything but the kids, and keep on walking.

On July 4th 1976, Tina walked out with just 36 cents and a gas station credit card. She spent the next few months sleeping on the floors of various friends, hiding from Ike. Her marriage was over and her career had stalled. It took another eight years for Tina to claw her way back.You know, she says. At that time I never felt unhappy or like Id lost something. Yes the work had started to go away and Tina Turner wasnt the big name anymore.

But I didnt care because Id had fame, Id had money and Id been so unhappy I wanted to die. Whatever was going on after I left Ike, I didnt worry because I was just happy to be out of that, happy to be alive. After all those years I had my freedom. It felt so good. It felt exciting and energizing and I felt after what Id been through nothing could stop me now. Without a record deal, Tina hooked up with a young Australian rock manager, Roger Davies, who persuaded her to do a European tour but insisted she make an album first. That album was Private Dancer. It was 1984 and it was the album that changed her life and turned her into the biggest selling female artist of the decade.

The five times platinum album, which spawned seven top ten hits, four Grammies and sold 20 million copies worldwide. Incredibly, it took Tina just one week to record vocals and a second week for producers to mix the finished version. It was all done and dusted within two weeks and out within four, laughs Tina. It was the fastest album ever. It was an incredible time for me because I was racing around from studio to studio, having meetings with record labels and both Roger and myself hustling to get a deal.In between meetings Id see songwriters and record. It was all new for me. I had my ideas what I wanted to sing and Roger wanted me to explore other ideas.

"When I heard Whats Love Got To Do With It for the first time I thought that was just some funny little song. I kept saying: But this isnt rock n roll. I just dont get it. I still didnt get it after I recorded it.

"It was only after it went out and became this hit and I was sitting in my car and this young girl was sitting in a car opposite me. She rolled the window down and yelled out: Hey Tina. Whats love gotta do with it? Right on! And it just clicked. That was the message. After that I knew what it was all about.It was the same with Private Dancer. Mark Knofler wrote it and he sang it for me. I told him to his face that it just made me laugh, his voice and those words. But I listened again and I liked it. I still never expected it to be as big as it was. In fact it was David Bowie who helped clinch Tinas comeback. With an album ready, UK record executives were not quite ready to gamble on a 45-year-old American singer whose career seemed already over.

We had the album and the tour but we still didnt have a deal and that deal probably wouldnt have happened if it wasnt for David Bowie. Hed just signed to Capitol Records who were stalling on taking me on. He was in New York and the record company wanted to take him out for a celebratory dinner. He told them he wanted to go and see me perform at the Ritz instead.

On that night they all turned up and for some reason the whole rock n roll world was there. Keith Richards and Rod Stewart were there and there were musicians just dripping from the ceiling. David brought the guys in and they just looked around and thought: This woman must be hot. The next day I had a deal. I always thank David for that. Now worth 50 million and an icon to female musicians including Beyonce who asked her to perform alongside her at the Grammies this year (Shes a lovely girl. She watched me as a young girl and shes taken on the mantle.), Tina refuses to look back at the bad times. When Ike Turner died, she didnt comment.

I became a symbol for a lot of women who have been badly treated by men. I didnt ask to be this symbol but Im proud to help other women in their lives.I never wanted sympathy. I didnt ever think, poor me, Ive had such a bad time. I always thought: Lets just move on now and make the most of the time I have left.

Its an attitude that has stood her in good stead. Right now Tina is making the most of her tour. Im just back in the groove, she says. I took a few months of intensive rehearsals where I got back into shape but after a few weeks of aches and pains it was just like getting back on into the saddle and it felt good.

I can still wear the skirts, I can still do the kicks because Ive spent a lifetime doing this thing. Ive never had plastic surgery because I dont believe in it. I think women are beautiful when they have their own life force. I never thought at any point: Im too old to be doing this. When you get on stage you are ageless. Mick Jaggers still out there and hes still amazing. Madonna is incredible and if youve got it and youve worked at it and you want to do itwell, youve just got to get out there and give it one last go. I have a great life. Im so proud of my music and Im so thankful to all the people who have supported me over the years. I have my home, I have my partner and life is wonderful but right now I have my tour and Im loving it.

I dont feel Ive got older. I feel Ive got more experienced and Ive got something more to give.

"Once this is through Ill go back to my gardens and my home but for now Im loving being Tina Turner again.

Something Beautiful Remains
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