The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for the class of 2021 earlier this week, and many people were surprised to see Tina Turner on the list. After all, she’s one of the most beloved singers in rock history and she’s been eligible since her 1974 debut solo LP Tina Turns the Country On! turned 25 in 1999. One would assume she’d gotten in years ago.
And she did get in back in 1991, but it was along with her abusive ex-husband, Ike Turner. Phil Spector gave their induction speech. Unsurprisingly, Tina was a no-show that night even though Ike was in a California prison at the time following a cocaine bust. Her official explanation was that she was taking the year off from public appearances.
But as popular as Ike and Tina were in the Sixties and early Seventies, Tina did much better on her own once Private Dancer took off in 1984, turning her into an international icon. And it’s not like the Hall of Fame held back on inducting Paul Simon as a solo act in 2001 because Simon and Garfunkel were brought in 11 years earlier. Eric Clapton was inducted solo in 2000 after getting in with the Yardbirds in 1992 and Cream in 1993. The list of multiple inductees stretches to 23 names, even though there wasn’t a single female member of the club until Stevie Nicks entered in 2019.
It’s very possible Tina Turner will finally join their ranks later this year. But if the Hall manages to hold a public ceremony, it’s far from certain that she’ll come. She lives in Switzerland and rarely makes public appearances. It’s even less likely that she’d perform at the event. She’s been off the road since her 50th-anniversary tour wrapped with a show at England’s Sheffield Arena on May 5th, 2009, and has dealt with major medical ailments since that time.
Here’s fan-shot video of “Proud Mary” from that historic last concert. Had the Hall of Fame brought Turner in as a solo act years ago, she could have trotted out “Proud Mary” and given an explosive performance just like this one. At least she’s finally on the ballot. Let’s hope the voters do the right thing and finally let her in on her own.