As 1968 rolled around, Ike and Tina had been performing as the “Ike & Tina Turner Revue” since the early 60s, doing tons of television appearances but they were really only treading water, especially in America. Their luck had started to change in England in 1966 when they had a big hit on their hands thanks to producer Phil Spector and the song “River Deep – Mountain High” (written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich—the prolific husband and wife songwriting team who gave us, among other earwigs, “Da Doo Ron Ron.”). Though Ike is credited on “River Deep – Mountain High,” he was allegedly paid $20,000 by Spector to fuck off during the session which according to Tina was about as much fun as “carving furniture.” Spector considers the song to be his single greatest achievement, but when the single didn’t do that much in the U.S. this is what seemed to prompt his withdrawal from the music industry. That didn’t stop the Rolling Stones from tapping the Revue to open a dozen shows for them during their British tour that same year. (Where do you think Mick got his moves from? Tina Turner and Inez Foxx!)
Still, the Revue was still technically without a hit in the U.S. Undaunted, Ike, Tina and the band would take up a residency in Las Vegas. They also recorded a few albums that year and in 1969 including The Hunter, which would yield a Grammy nomination for Tina for her vocal work on the title track. Ike would also get a Grammy nod in the Best Rhythm & Blues Instrumental Performance category for his record A Black Man’s Soul while leading his other funky outfit, Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm. At the end of 1969, the busy Revue was touring yet again with The Rolling Stones.
Here’s a clip of Tina’s absolutely incendiary performance of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” taken from Gimme Shelter documentary.
Ike and Tina Turner getting wiggy on ‘Playboy After Dark.’
When the Revue appeared on Hugh Hefner’s short-lived late-night show, Playboy After Dark they ripped through four songs—all covers of tunes originally done by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly and the Family Stone, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. After the release of their 1970 album Come Together (as Ike & Tina Turner and The Ikettes) their cover of Sly’s “I Want To Take You Higher” would become their first song to crack the top 40 since the early 60s. In the footage below, including the short yet insightful interview segment with Hef, Ike takes a back seat, and we get to see Tina gloriously strut her stuff in front of Hef’s partygoers. If you’ve never seen this footage, then I suggest you get to a place where you can turn it up LOUD so you can truly appreciate the power of this woman who triumphed over so many adversities in her life including a failed suicide attempt a year before this performance was taped. It’s powerful stuff.
Electrifying footage of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue performing live on ‘Playboy After Dark.’
Even though I wasn’t technically able to stay up late watching TV in 1969, I still am compelled to believe that this performance had to have been the one time that someone audibly said “Lord have MERCY!” while not getting laid at a party thrown by Hef.
HD video upgrade of the famous scene from ‘The T.A.M.I. Show’ film where Tina brings the house down with a performance of James Brown’s “Please, Please, Please.”
This energetic live set filmed at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas sometime in 1971 demonstrates what sort of a superhuman dynamo Tina Turner was (and still is).
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Ike and Tina Turner’s former home is for sale and it’s a GROOVY 1970s time capsule
Did Marc Bolan play guitar on the Ike & Tina Turner classic ‘Nutbush City Limits’?
The Grateful Dead on Hugh Hefner’s ‘Playboy After Dark,’ 1969
Climb aboard ‘Hare-Force One,’ Hugh Hefner’s $5 million DC-9 jet with its own discothèque