When Tina Turner first set foot in Australia, she immediately felt a warm embrace from the country. Her connection with Australia grew over the years, and she expressed her gratitude for the love and support she received. In this article, we delve into the unique relationship Turner developed with Australia, as well as the tributes paid to her by prominent figures such as filmmaker George Miller and musician Jimmy Barnes. From her iconic role in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome to her contribution to the NRL and her unforgettable song “Nutbush City Limits,” Tina Turner left an indelible mark on the hearts of Australians.
Tina Turner’s first solo tour in Australia took place in 1977, where she performed at renowned venues such as the St George Leagues Club and Revesby Worker’s Club. This tour marked the beginning of a long and special bond between Turner and the country. Roger Davies, her Australian manager for three decades, is credited with revitalizing her career in the early 1980s. Davies described Turner as a unique and remarkable force of nature, highlighting her strength, incredible energy, and immense talent.
George Miller, the acclaimed filmmaker, had the privilege of directing Tina Turner in the 1985 film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. In her role as Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown, Turner showcased her screen charisma and delivered the hit song “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” Miller spoke highly of Turner, emphasizing her tremendous presence on and off the screen. The director described her as wise, stating that working with her was one of the great privileges of his life.
Jimmy Barnes, a prominent Australian singer, also had the opportunity to collaborate with Tina Turner, which he considered a career highlight. Barnes expressed his admiration for Turner’s talent, strength, and generosity, emphasizing how it was an honor to share the stage with such a wonderful human being. Their duet, “(Simply) The Best,” became a memorable rendition of the iconic song, featuring Johnny Diesel on guitar.
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Tina Turner’s involvement with the NRL further solidified her connection with Australia. She contributed to the promotion of the NRL in 1989 with her song “What You Get Is What You See” and again in 1990 with her hit “The Best.” Turner even performed “The Best” at the 1993 grand finale. The song, originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler in 1988, became a beloved anthem for the NRL. The collaboration between Turner and the NRL showcased her enduring impact on Australian sports and entertainment.
In addition to her musical contributions, Tina Turner’s song “Nutbush City Limits” became a unique Australian phenomenon. Australians have embraced the song’s repetitive dance moves, instantly hitting the dance floor whenever it plays. From nightclubs to 21st birthdays and bar mitzvahs, the infectious rhythm of “Nutbush City Limits” has become a cherished part of Australian celebrations.
Tina Turner’s connection with Australia was deep-rooted and enduring. Her impact on the country’s music, film, and sporting industries cannot be overstated. George Miller, Jimmy Barnes, and countless Australians continue to honor her memory and contributions. Tina Turner will forever be remembered as one of the greatest performers and a symbol of resilience, overcoming adversity to provide a soundtrack to the lives of many.
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