I Meet Tina Turner – 1967

In the fall of 1967 I was a 17 year old bass player in the most popular high school age rock band in the entire San Gabriel Valley. We ruled Pasadena, Altadena, San Marino, South Pasadena, Eagle Rock, Arcadia, Monrovia, out to El Monte and Azusa and south to Alhambra for three years or so. The name of our group was the Mothers Cookies and I was pretty full of myself.

That fall we were hired to do a show ( a homecoming concert ) for San Marino High School (at that time the richest community in the United States) and the headliner for the show was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band who had just had a national hit “Buy for me the Rain,” and the second act was the Ike and Tina Turner Show. Our band was the opening act and we did maybe 40 mins or so, six or seven songs.

I tell you what this 17 year old white boy rock and roller from the burbs was not quite ready for this:

Yes I spent about 20 minutes of my life backstage chillin’ with Tina Turner and the Ikettes (among whom was the awesome Claudia Lennear) and it was a life changing experience. Ike and Tina were very well known in LA at the time (a very hard working act on the LA R & B circuit) , and had some national success too but not as much as later. They often did covers, and had had a couple of singles in 1960s that sold a million. Bear in mind they were doing this show at this energy level for 300 + shows a year at that time!

In 1966 Tina released “River Deep Mountain High” that was probably the peak expression of the Spector sound, but it didn’t go very far in the US (#88) but it went to #3 in the UK. I loved it but of course I had met Tina. But you have to admit her performance on this recording is remarkable for 1966:

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