It's always great to see artists forge powerful friendships. It's even better when they help each other out like David Bowie did with Tina Turner. The "Private Dancer" singer, who died on May 24, credited her friend and one-time collaborator for saving her career in the early 1980s.
Tina Turner's career was in a slump in the late 1970s and early 1980s
Turner found success in the 1960s with her then-husband Ike Turner. They released hits like "Proud Mary" and "River Deep, Mountain High."
However, Turner's marriage turned sour in the late 1970s. "My relationship with Ike was doomed the day he figured out I was going to be his money-maker," Turner wrote in her memoir My Love Story (per People). "He needed to control me, economically and psychologically, so I could never leave him."
After her high-profile divorce in 1976, she found herself in a slump and without a recording contract. Capitol Records dropped her. That is until Bowie helped her out.
Turner said David Bowie helped save her career
Without Bowie, Turner might not have gotten a second chance in the music industry or an opportunity to start her solo career. In 2004, she revealed to Female First that Bowie was instrumental in kickstarting everything.
"In 1983, David Bowie did something very special and significant for me," Turner said. The two singers were on the same label, but Capitol chose to re-sign Bowie instead of Turner. The record executives wanted to take him to dinner in New York that night to celebrate. Bowie had some choice words for them.
He said he was sorry but he was going to the Ritz to see his "favorite singer perform." That singer was Turner. At Bowie's refusal, the record executives tagged along to see Turner perform, and "the rest was history."
"Luckily it was a great show," Turner said. "Seeing it and the crowd's reaction turned 'round how Capitol [Records] viewed me. "It was because of David that I got another deal, and everything else followed. I'll be ever thankful to him."
The pair collaborated only once
After being re-signed at Capitol Records, Turner gave Bowie a nod on her first album. Later, on 1984's Private Dancer, she covered Bowie's "1984" from his 1974 album Diamond Dogs.
Turner and Bowie finally collaborated that same year, although it was their only time. They recorded a duet of Bowie's 1984 song "Tonight." A live version of the song appeared on Turner's 1988 live album, Tina Live in Europe.
After Bowie died in 2016, it was painful for Turner to revisit the song. She told NME that "Tonight" was one of the songs that made her cry. "Some of the duets that I have done with people I cared about who have since passed on, like David Bowie, make me sad," she said. "So it has to be this one."
Turner said Bowie was a special person in her life. Thankfully Bowie gave the record executives the push to re-sign her. If he hadn't, we would have never seen what Turner was truly made of as a singer and performer.
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