The Who's Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey took time out on Facebook to salute their old friend and Tommy co-star, Tina Turner. Turner died on May 24th at age 83 “after a long illness” in her home with husband Erwin Bach in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.
Pete Townshend wrote:
Sad to hear we have lost Tina Turner. She had been ill for a long time, and struggling to stay in touch with old friends. She will have some peace now. An astonishing performer, and astounding singer, she was also an R&B groundbreaker. We don’t want to say too much about Ike Turner — her abusive husband — but her early records with him were simply out of this world. She always took flight when she worked with him, leaving him like a fifth wheel, chipping away at his basic riffs.
When she was finally free of him her work ascended to new, even higher heights. It didn’t seem possible. If you ever had the privilege of seeing Tina perform live you will know how utterly scary she could be. She was an immense presence. A female Little Richard. She seemed like a giant: shaking, sexual, physical and stunningly beautiful. In the flesh she was fragile, vulnerable and a truly sweet and empathetic person.
She was of course my 'Acid Queen' in the Tommy movie, and it is often my job to sing that song with The Who, so she always comes into my mind. It isn’t easy to deal with. The song is about abuse at the hands of an evil woman. How she turned that song on its head! All the anger of her years as a victim exploded into fire and bluster and a magnificent and crazy cameo role that will always stay with me.
She has been in my mind for the last ten years, I kept meaning to track her down, and see how she was. I truly thought she would live forever.
Roger Daltrey added:
What a singer! What a performer! What a life! A true original artist, and simply the best.
Tina Turner spoke about her iconic role as “The Acid Queen” in the 1975 Ken Russell-directed big screen version of Tommy. In the 1993 documentary The Who's Tommy – The Amazing Journey, she recalled learning from her manager what the role really entailed: “He said it's a part of a hooker, and I said, 'Oh, no — I'm not taking that.' And the man said, 'Well, it's more than just a hooker, she's a mad woman.' That was it and then the name came and I heard it — 'Acid Queen' — perfect! Mad woman named 'Acid Queen' (laughs) sounded absolutely right! Y'know, I was standing there (on set) and then a set of twins came with a huge hypodermic needle and I said: '(Yells) It's drugs!!!' (Laughs) And (Ken) Russell said, 'Of course it's drugs — what do you think 'Acid Queen' is? Y'know, you're the queen of acid.' Oh, I became very upset — I said, 'Oh, I'm promoting drugs, no!' And then they talked me into it and explained.”