Rebirths

Today was a key day in the history of music. A rebirth which would shape rock music for decades to come (and still does). And a death that closes the doors on a truly inspiring life story.

Probably the most important date in the history of The Rolling Stones, other than the date Keith saw Mick at the train station in 1961, was on this date 56 years ago. On May 24, 1968, the Stones released Jumping Jack Flash. To say that the Stones were in a bad way at the time is like saying Mick Jagger is a bit famous.

n 1967, Mick had been arrested and convicted Keith had been arrested and convicted. Brian had gone off the deep end with drugs. Keith had stolen Brian’s girlfriend. And the Stones had tried to emulate The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s with Their Satanic Majesties Request which bombed (and cost a small fortune with its revolutionary 3-D cover).

Even worse, Brian had been arrested and placed on probation, thereby precluding him from obtaining an American visa so the band could no longer tour here. Basically, they were teetering on the verge of bankruptcy both financially and artistically.

Jumping Jack Flash was the turning point, the catalyst for the second chapter of their career from “England’s Hit Makers” to classic rockers with the run of Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile On Main Street, albums which have fueled their live show for the last 50 years.

Henceforth, Jack Flash made their lives (other than poor Brian) a gas, gas, gas. (Oh, today is also the birthday of some guy named Zimmerman from Duluth. He wrote a few songs you might know.)

Sadly, today also marks the passing of a music titan. Anna Mae Bullock passed  on this date at the age of 83. Of course, we knew her as Tina Turner, the better half of Ike and Tina in the ’50s, 60s, and ‘70s, then a hurricane of a solo performer in the ’80s and ’90s.

Ike was the one who dubbed her “Tina” because it rhymes with Sheena (as in Sheena of the jungle) and Ike trademarked her name because other female singers he had groomed left and went solo. (She got the rights to her name make back in the divorce but had to give up publishing rights to their songs in exchange.)

And Tina was a trailblazer. I’d bet you didn’t know she was the first Black artist to ever be on the cover of Rolling Stone. Or that she was also the first woman to ever be on the cover of Rolling Stone. And speaking of Rolling Stones, she and Ike opened for the Stones in 1966 and 1969 and she opened for them again on their groundbreaking 1981 U.S. tour. With her signature song What’s Love Got To Do With It in 1984, she also became the oldest female solo artist to hit number one on the Billboard charts.

Tina was one of the very few rockers to have a more successful second act than her first act, and did it at an age when most artists are hitting the oldies circuit. She was also a sex symbol perhaps longer than any other rock star we’ve had.

You can picture in your mind the acid queen is shaking her fringe-trimmed dress singing Proud Mary in rock and roll Thunderdome up in the clouds, right?



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