Tina TurnerThe 83-year-old, who died on Wednesday, rarely managed to excite the audience not only in person, but also with cameras as a channel. long time Grammys producer ken erlich She worked with Turner on programs from the late 70’s to the late 90’s and shared her memories. Variation from three particularly memorable TV performances.
The first of these was in 1985 when she sang “What Love Should Do” at the Grammys, the same year that she won the record for the year with that song – probably the pinnacle of her career, although she was respected. A quarter of a century ago, and in the next 25 years, he would become an even bigger superstar. The second appearance she chose is a duet with Turner. Elton John for the 1999 “VH1 Divas” special, which, although probably for its own benefit, got too hot behind the scenes. Finally, she was an integral part of one of Turner’s last major TV commercials, a highly entertaining duet with Beyoncé in the 2008 Grammy telecast.
“I was very lucky,” says Ehrlich. “I’m not sure if he considered these three of his best performances, but we certainly did. And personally, he was lovely and very nice to work with. He was very quiet, always listening, had his own ideas, was open to ideas and always came ready to work. …Obviously she got married and moved to Switzerland. He didn’t need Hollywood; He didn’t need the music industry lifestyle. He was shy off stage. Yet when he was on stage, he really opened the stage.”
Watch three performances below with annotation from the producer:
Tina Turner at the 27th annual Grammy Awards in 1985
“You almost can’t think of that song without thinking about that moment when she dominated that scene alone,” Ehrlich says. “Or at least I can’t; True, I was close to him. I had an idea that I wanted him to go through those steps, reveal his full profile, and then go down and do the song. No orchestra, no band, nothing (no one else on stage), just that. I didn’t even want to make an entry, I just wanted it to appear there. I’ve only done this a few times, and he didn’t need it when I felt it was more effective than a host or host saying ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome…’. It was just her on stage for the entirety of the song—a bold move on her and maybe our part, but when you think about it, if Tina Turner can’t hold her own on stage, who can? I think about it when artists with far less charisma insist on being surrounded by productions of all kinds, only proving their distrust.”
But there was one obstacle: those heels and those stairs, the tandem. “He said at first he didn’t think he could do it, which is very rare because he could do anything,” Ehrlich recalls. “Or that’s what came from his manager Roger (Davies). I couldn’t believe he’d never done stairs like this before because he knew how great his legs were and there was no better way to show them off than going up and down a ladder like that. I said, ‘I’ll make a ladder unit, if he doesn’t want it I won’t use it.’ I guess because I knew he’d love it. And he went in, he looked, he passed out… and then he bought the stairs to take them on tour! I’m not sure they actually released the same unit but they took the idea and it became a big part of the tour that took place after ‘Private Dancer’ this happened.
“I wouldn’t say it was career-defining for him, because ‘What’s Your Love Got to Do?’ it had already been a huge hit – it won the record of the year that year. But when you see her going up and down those stairs, she was larger than life, albeit not a tall woman.”
Turner and Elton John sing “The Bitch Is Back” on “VH1 Divas Live”
Turner and John performed many duets over the years and were friends…at least until the night of this recording. Elton wrote of their fallout during these rehearsals in his memoir, “I.” Turner tried to guide him and his band on how to perform “Proud Mary” correctly as he recounted the events, and Elton didn’t have it. Ehrlich remembers the trouble started when Turner was late while John and Cher (who joined them in a song) were waiting. The producer believes that the two have finally reconciled. But in any case, a fire broke out on stage, and the audience did not believe that Ehrlich would necessarily harm the performance unless they knew what had lit the fire.
“They got into a fight, then he got off the stage, he ran to the dressing room, and I had to reunite the two of them so they could make ‘The Bitch is Back’ more poisonous than I’ve ever heard before. when she walked in… it was a rough start to rehearsal and it didn’t go so well. And they loved each other but this was really a diva show. Elton and I have been talking about it ever since… she wasn’t ready yet. It was tough for both of them, but the result was an amazing performance. ”
In his book, John went so far as to say that the excitement at that show led to the cancellation of a joint tour the two had planned. Still, Ehrlich didn’t regret the way the heat went that night, at least for the purposes of the show. “We could see there was tension on stage, but it wasn’t public. It’s probably not recorded, but there were times when he sang the chorus a few times and was looking directly at her as the strings were tossed back and forth. It got pretty hot. But what could be better in life than having Tina Turner perform ‘The Bitch is Back’ with a man who truly believes in the lyrics?
Turner and Beyoncé reunited at the 2008 Grammy Awards
Says Ehrlich: “I was there for rehearsals in the middle of the stage when they really saw each other for the first time. And although at the time Beyoncé was a force to be reckoned with and had already become a world-class superstar, she was so reverent, so respectful, and admired for Tina Turner, and they got this thing done together – and that was masterful.
“It was this mix that Beyoncé basically put together. She couldn’t believe she had this opportunity to perform with him. And it was great. Tina was fine from the start, and I don’t know if she retired for it—I think she was still performing. [The telecast was about a year before Turner’s final show.] But at the beginning of the rehearsal, I remember more about Beyoncé than Tina. And then as Tina got more comfortable or relaxed with each other, Beyoncé almost took her out, you know? And (to be more frank) I don’t mean to say ‘I let him’ because he didn’t have permission, but he worked with him to give more… to be more present.
Ehrlich says of setting up the historic collaboration: “I think I took a little leap of faith and basically thought that if I went to them, neither of them would say no. I think I went to Tina first through Roger Davies and asked her, ‘Would Tina do it if I could get Beyoncé to do this?’ I said. she went and checked with him and said yes. Then I went to Beyoncé and Beyoncé immediately said yes.”
But Beyoncé did more than just endorse an idea—she ultimately turned the nine-minute long episode into a purely written reference to a duet as well as a heroine. “beyonce wrote something; Before saying the number, he stepped onto an empty stage and did this three or four minute monologue set to the music that led to Tina. It was truly magnificent. I remember it was very important to him and he wrote and asked me to look at it later; I made a few edits that I suggested to him and thought he accepted. But basically, that was all. It was important to him to do this for Tina.