In the spoken introduction to their hit “Proud Mary,” Tina Turner guarantees audiences that at the beginning, she and then-husband, Ike Turner, will take issues “nice and easy” with the track, however guarantees the ending will likely be “rough.” A promise the singer delivered on time after time for many years, with the track changing into indelibly linked to the performer born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, in 1939.
The track was written by the frontman for Creedence Clearwater Revival
While many nonetheless solely affiliate “Proud Mary” with Tina’s rasping growl and horn-packed 1970s association, the track was truly written by Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty on the day he obtained his discharge papers from the military in 1967. In a celebratory temper, he started strumming the guitar and his blues-rock anthem was born.
“’Left a good job in the city’ and then several good lines came out of me immediately. I had the chord changes, the minor chord where it says, ‘Big wheel keep on turnin’/Proud Mary keep on burnin,’” Fogerty recollects in Bad Moon Rising: The Unofficial History of Creedence Clearwater Revival by Hank Bordowitz. “By the time I hit ‘Rolling, rolling, rolling on the river,’ I knew I had written my best song. It vibrated inside me.” Released in early 1969, the track peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Leaving a gentle however low-earning job behind, the topic of “Proud Mary” bids farewell to the town and hitches a experience on a “riverboat queen” the place the individuals “are happy to give” even “if you got no money.” The track portrays a brand new life obtainable on the river; the promise of like-minded camaraderie and the prospect for rebirth as a person whose life exists on the ever-moving river.
Ike and Tina discovered success masking “Proud Mary” and different songs
Ike and Tina started masking “Proud Mary” on stage, reimagining the track Tina had cherished since first listening to it on the radio in 1969. Tina and Ike’s rendition blew up Fogerty’s authentic association in favor of a grittier, funkier model completely matched to Tina’s earthy then hovering vocals.
As a gap act for the Rolling Stones in Europe and once more for the band’s 1969 U.S. tour, Ike and Tina found first-hand the moment attraction their cowl variations of songs comparable to “Proud Mary,” the Beatles’ “Come Together” and the Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women” had for audiences.
Released in 1971, Ike and Tina’s “Proud Mary” rendition was the second single from their album Workin’ Together (1970). That it was ever recorded and included on the LP was fortuitous. While chopping the album, the duo was nonetheless in want of extra songs when Tina recommended recording a couple of issues they had been at the moment having fun with success with on stage.
“And that’s how ‘Proud Mary’ came about,” Tina instructed Rolling Stone in 1971, recounting how hearing an earlier audition performance of the song lead them to reconsider the recent hit. “Ike said, ‘You know, I forgot all about that tune.’ And I said let’s do it, but let’s change it. So in the car Ike plays the guitar, we just sort of jam. And we just sort of broke into the black version of it.”
After the success of “Proud Mary,” the connection between Tina and Ike deteriorated
Ike and Tina’s “Proud Mary” would promote greater than one million copies, attain No. four on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 5 on the R&B chart in 1971, a mere two years after the Creedence Clearwater Revival authentic charted. Backed by the hip-swiveling back-up singers the Ikettes, the track turned a staple of their dwell reveals and earned the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1972.
Its success would embolden Tina to put in writing the semi-autobiographical “Nutbush City Limits” (1973), one of many ultimate hits Ike and Tina — who had been collectively because the late 1950s — would have as a performing duo. By the time “Proud Mary” had charted, Ike’s substance abuse issues had elevated, as had his use of physical violence towards his wife.
In 1976, shortly after getting right into a bodily altercation whereas en path to a Dallas lodge, Tina fled her abusive state of affairs. The mom of 4 hid at a buddy’s home earlier than she started slowly rebuilding a brand new life with nothing however her performing title as collateral. Their divorce was finalized in 1978 and Tina would by no means once more meet publicly with Ike, who died in 2007 from a cocaine overdose at age 76.
Tina went on to have successful solo profession
Throughout the late seventies and early eighties Tina carried out small golf equipment and accommodations as she created a brand new skilled and private life. Her cowl of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” (1983) was an surprising hit and led to the recording and launch of the album Private Dancer (1984), which contained the eponymous monitor in addition to “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” The album was licensed Platinum 5 instances within the United States and has bought greater than 10 million copies worldwide.
No longer a nostalgia act buying and selling solely on previous hits, Tina turned a world phenomenon, packing arenas and stadiums with followers new and previous who got here to respect her ongoing private journey as a lot as her evolving musical prowess. But the songs of her previous had been as a lot a cherished a part of Tina’s onstage work as ever earlier than, mixing covers comparable to “Proud Mary” in amongst her newest hits.
“Proud Mary” would turn out to be a staple of her dwell reveals — usually the penultimate track previous to encores — as much as and together with her farewell tour which culminated in a ultimate dwell bow on the U.Ok.’s Sheffield Arena on May 5, 2009.
What the track represents to Tina little question has modified relying on time and circumstance, however “Proud Mary” has remained a visceral connection to her five-decade-spanning profession and its affect on musical stars of right now continues to endure. Beyoncé carried out the traditional monitor in 2005 when Tina was acknowledged on the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw you perform,” Beyoncé said in her speech as she gazed up at Tina seated within the balcony. “I’d never in my life seen a woman so powerful, so fearless, so fabulous.”
In 2020, Tina was requested by Haute Living journal to play a phrase affiliation sport, saying what got here to thoughts when she was reminded of her hit track titles. “The Best” was all about “the power of authenticity.” “Private Dancer” associated to “dreams come true.” And “Proud Mary”? Tina solely had one phrase for the track that has been a relentless nearly her whole life: “Freedom.”
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