PERFORMING ARTS

Tumult! The Incredible Life and Music of Tina Turner

Backbeat: Rowman & Littlefield. Nov. 2020. 290p. ISBN 9781493055067. pap. $24.95. MUSIC
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Born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, TN, into a loveless marriage, Tina Turner (b. 1939) is one of the most famous singers of our time. Discovered by the older, already successful, but abusive Ike Turner, Tina became the lead singer in his band and eventually escaped their marriage and forged a triumphant solo career. Between biographies, memoirs, and the iconic biopic What’s Love Got To Do with It, Turner’s story is well known, but Brackett (Long Slow Train) updates readers on where Turner is today: a Buddhist, part of the spiritual group Beyond Foundation, the subject of the Broadway show Tina, and an anguished parent—in 2018, her son Craig died by suicide. More important, the author takes a scholarly approach that places Turner’s creative contributions (Ike’s, too) into the historical perspective of pop music; he depicts her as both a feminist icon and a sex symbol, and, above all, a tenacious artist who paved the way for singers such as Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj. Brackett is also a Turner fan, and the book is clearly a homage, at times a gushing one.
VERDICT Students of popular music and Turner devotees who want to know what Tina is doing now will enjoy this well-researched volume.

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