ESSAY: A mega-fan's appreciation for Tina Turner's limitless energy and lessons of survival

DALLAS -- When Tina Turner died at age 83, I found myself drifting back to the fourth grade, to the day I truly discovered her voice.I was on Thanksgiving break — bored — when I decided to rummage through my parents’ old cassette tapes in search of entertainment.What I found was astonishing: an album called “Private Dancer.”“I look up to the stars with my perfect memory.

I look through it all and my future’s no shock to me.”“Who was this magnificent woman?” I thought as the lyrics of the song “I Might Have Been Queen (Soul Survivor),” flowed through the headphones of my Walkman.“What had she been through?”I quickly consulted an expert on the matter: my mom, who as a teenager in the '60s, had been listening to Tina since she first made hits with her then-husband Ike.

Mom, like Tina, didn't sugarcoat the superstar's history: Off-stage, Ike was beating her.It was something she herself — and most others — didn't know when she and Dad first went to see her live in the '70s.It was shocking and sickening to hear.

But Mom also shared Tina's triumphs, how she continued to mesmerize and dazzle fans despite the hell she endured.She recalled seeing Tina and her backing vocalists and dancers, the Ikettes, go so hard onstage that the ribbon ties of Tina’s sandals, starting out near her calves, ended up around her ankles.

The concert was wild.Rapturous.I wanted to experience this.

Five years later, I did.In 1997, Mom and Dad loaded my siblings and me into our 1987 Chevy Suburban and made the five-hour drive from our home in Doyline, Louisiana, to The Woodlands, Texas, to catch Tina on her “Wildest Dreams” world tour.I was hypnotized.

The burst of sparkling, silver sequins onstage.The voice that could go from the deepest growl to a tender coo.

The infectious smile and air kisses to the audience that made it seem like she really was happy we were all there.The kicks.

The shimmies.The staccato steps as she worked the entire stage.

As my ...

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Publisher: ABC News

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