New Orleans musical greats remember time spent with Tina Turner

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 12:11 AM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 10:13 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Condolences are pouring in from New Orleans musicians honoring the trailblazing moves of Tina Turner, but few were fortunate to share the stage with the star.

Turner’s death was confirmed by management Wednesday afternoon.

“Working with Tina was a gem, a diamond,” said R&B singer Gerri Hall. “You learned so much and you learned to do things and be things that you didn’t know had in you.”

Hall remembers sharing the stage and learning a thing or two.

“When Tina said, ‘Jump,’ you jumped. ‘I want you to do this I want you to do that. Get it this way and get it that way,’” said Hall. “It was always alright. Tina was excellent.”

Tina Turner, ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ whose triumphant career made her world-famous, dies at 83

Turner played her fair share of gigs in the Crescent City. She was a 1983 Jazz Fest headliner and returned to New Orleans later that year for two shows at the Blue Room in the Roosevelt Hotel.

She inspired artists like the legendary Aaron Neville

“She came from Ike and Tina Turner to Tina Turner the Powerhouse,” Neville told Fox 8.

He worked with Turner in 1990 as part of her opening act on her “Foreign Affair” European tour.

“The Neville Brothers would open and we had sunshine. Looked like as soon as we finished the rain would come but the people would not go anywhere,” said Neville. “They would stand out there with their cigarette lighters and say, ‘Tina! Tina!’ everywhere we went in Europe. It was a great tour.”

Fast forward to 2000, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer dazzled fans at the New Orleans Arena.

Tina Turner performs at The Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008. This is...
Tina Turner performs at The Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008. This is the first concert of her tour. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)(Orlin Wagner | AP)

“You follow her lead. That’s the way it is with her,” said Hall. “She steps up and she knows what to do and it’s like magic. You know what to do.”

That same year the Guinness Book of World Records announced Turner sold more concert tickets than any other solo performer in music history.

“She showed us much love and respect. I know she has a place in the heavenly band,” said Neville. “So, tina, much love and respect from the Neville Family. Rest in peace.”

Hall doesn’t see a loss in Turner’s death. Instead, she says the star will live on around everyone.

“She was a tree, growing. All she was doing was putting out her leaves and her flowers,” she said. “When she would dance that’s all she did. It was beautiful... And I liked the way she hollered and screamed!”

Tina Turner will forever be ‘Rolling on the River’ in the hearts of New Orleans’ most significant players.

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