Let's Stay Together - Tina Turner
In the UK , Ike and Tina Turner had only two hits: "River Deep - Mountain High" (1966) and the Tina Turner composition "Nutbush City Limits" so it was ironic that after her split with Ike in 1976 and subsequent divorce from two years later, a key moment in her resurrection as a solo singer occurred in Newcastle upon Tyne. Initially Tina's solo career struggled to take off as she was often regarded merely as a nostalgia act. This changed in 1983 when she collaborated with Sheffield synth-pop outfit Heaven 17 to contribute to their British Electric Foundation project. In 1983 Heaven 17 were British pop cutting edge, and had strong links with the the cult tv Newcastle-based music programme "The Tube". This weekly Friday night show featured the latest up and coming bands and was squarely targeted at the youth market, so it was quite a risk for Tina, a forty-four year old sixties diva, to perform on it before a live, "new wave", post-punk audience. She has since stated that she was wracked with nerves before the performance, but it doesn't show as she literally blows the room away with the intensity of the opening verse of Al Green's, "Let's Stay Together", so much so that the relief when the drums come in is almost overwhelming.
Since her break-up with Ike, Tina had gone through many lows, not least of which was a stint of office cleaning, just to make ends meet. So what you see here is not so surprising when you realise you are watching a woman who is literally singing for her life.
At 3 minutes 48 seconds in, an ecstatic Annie Lennox can be seen dancing and singing along, unlike the stunned zombies behind her. When Tina Turner's death was announced in May, Lennox's tribute on Instagram included the following statement:
".....if you want to understand anything about the ‘power’ of music - gospel, soul, r n’b, rock, pop - then watch any of Tina Turner’s performances.. It’s ALL there. Tina was - IS and ALWAYS will be the Female Shaman and Goddess!!!"
Today Annie Lennox is recognised as the best selling British female music artist of all time, so she should know.
In 1983, there were only four tv channels in the UK, and the new Channel 4's ultra-hip "Tube" had massive influence.
and Tina's performance sent reverberations across the nation. Two weeks later "Let's Stay Together" entered the charts, setting her on her way as a solo artist. She never looked back.