Tina Turner: Documentary Debuts to Great Reviews; New Online Photo Exhibit

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Photo of Tina Turner via HBO

Tina Turner is the subject of a new documentary, Tina, coming to HBO. The feature-length film debuts on March 27, 2021; watch the great trailer below. The announcement coincided with the artist’s nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. (She’s already been inducted as part of Ike and Tina Turner.)

Tina, from Academy Award®-winning directors Dan Lindsay, T.J. Martin and Lightbox, the production company founded by Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn and Emmy®-winning producer Jonathan Chinn, together with Emmy-nominated producer Diane Becker, is “a revealing and intimate look at the life and career of [the] musical icon, charting her improbable rise to early fame, her personal and professional struggles throughout her life and her even more improbable resurgence as a global phenomenon in the 1980s.” The documentary is also available to stream on HBO Max.

The film has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In its review, Variety wrote, “I went into Tina feeling like I knew this story in my bones, but the film kept opening my eyes – to new insights, new tremors of empathy, and a new appreciation for what a towering artist Tina Turner is.”

Tina Turner at the Los Angeles Forum, opening for the Rolling Stones in 1969 (Photo © Glen Craig; used with permission)

Separately, Turner takes center stage with Morrison Hotel Gallery’s latest online exhibition, One Woman Show, debuted on March 25. The gallery has allowed Best Classic Bands to share two of the images with our readers.

Featuring seminal and never-before-seen works from photographers Bob Gruen, Lynn Goldsmith, Norman Seeff, Terry O’Neill, Glen Craig, Amalie R. Rothschild, Jerry de Wilde, Barrie Wentzell, Patrick Harbron, Charlyn Zlotnik and Paul Natkin, One Woman Show is on view and available for purchase exclusively at MorrisonHotelGallery.com.

Janis Joplin & Tina Turner at Madison Square Garden, 1969 (Photo: © Amalie R. Rothschild; used with permission)

More from the HBO documentary announcement: This unvarnished, dynamic account features insightful interviews with Turner herself, conducted in her hometown of Zurich, Switzerland, and with those closest to her. It also features a wealth of never-before-seen footage, audio tapes and personal photos, telling a deep and absorbing story about the queen of rock ‘n’ roll in all its complexity.

In the fall of 1981, struggling to gain meaningful momentum in her career, Tina Turner sat for an interview with Carl Arrington, the music editor of People. Five years earlier, she had filed for divorce from Ike Turner, her husband and musical partner for over 16 years. Together they had climbed the charts and made musical history with their hits “A Fool in Love”, “River Deep – Mountain High” and “Proud Mary.” Off stage, they appeared to have a healthy marriage and family life.

The story she would tell People was an honest and harrowing account of the abuse and torture she had suffered through during her marriage, and the brave escape she made after years of trauma. The article would be the first of many profiles that would cement Tina’s image as a survivor, helping to fuel the story of her extraordinary yet improbable career comeback.

Watch the official trailer, released on March 10

Having lost everything but her name in the divorce, Turner spent several years in Las Vegas, performing in cabaret clubs and appearing on television variety shows. In 1983, at the age of 44, she recorded the album Private Dancer in just two weeks and it quickly became a commercial and critical sensation. Her single “What’s Love Got To Do With It” became her first and only #1 hit on the Hot 100.

Related: Our feature on Turner’s ’80s comeback

Private Dancer sold over 12 million copies worldwide and cemented Turner as a bona fide superstar. She performed with Mick Jagger at LiveAid, won a slew of Grammys and wrote a best-selling autobiography, I, Tina. By 1993, a feature film was made about her life, starring Angela Bassett. As her fame grew, so did her identity as a cultural symbol, becoming a representation of strength and resilience to her fans. Privately, she wrestled with the survivor narrative that shaped her later life and career and struggled to be released from her past.

In addition to archival footage spanning 60 years, the documentary includes interviews with Bassett; Oprah Winfrey; journalist Kurt Loder who co-authored I, Tina, which inspired the feature film; playwright Katori Hall, who scribed Tina – The Tina Turner Musical; and husband and former record executive Erwin Bach, among many others.

The documentary draws to an emotional conclusion with Tina Turner taking a bow at the opening night of the Broadway musical about her life.

Turner turned 81 on Nov. 26, 2020.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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  1. Bluzrider
    #1 Bluzrider 27 March, 2021, 06:50

    The cream doesn’t always rise to the top, sometimes it shoots past the earth’s atmosphere and goes universal, and that is exactly what happened to Tina.
    I saw her in concert and man, she put on one of the best shows I have ever seen. Looking forward to this.

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