Windsor-Essex Tina Turner fans remember the ‘Queen

More than 50 years after leaving high school, Marilyn Farnworth remembers the feeling of being handed an orientation package and learning that she was going to bear witness to one of the greatest singers of all-time.

“The package said we were going to have the Ike and Tina Turner Revue there. Being a Motown girl, I knew exactly who they were,” she said.

“It was quite exciting to think that we would have the opportunity in Windsor to see such a famous duo performing at the University of Windsor.”

That’s exactly what happened during University of Windsor orientation in 1972, as Ike and Tina Turner performed “Proud Mary” on the school’s athletic field.

“It was like watching a football game because you’re there in the stands watching, but you’re watching Ike and Tina Turner instead of watching a football game,” said Farnworth.

“There were a lot of people and a lot of students there. A lot of them were sober and some not so much. It was just thrilling and electrifying.”

A photo of Ike and Tina meeting with officials after the duo’s orientation performance can be found in the University of Windsor’s 1972-73 yearbook.

The pair would go their separate ways four years later, leading to Tina Turner’s resurgence as a solo act.

“I actually feel her best performances came after she left Ike in 1976 and started doing her own performances,” said Farnworth. “Obviously, I love Proud Mary … but I just felt she became more of her own person and her music was more of my style.”

While most people remember Tina Turner for her vocal ability, one Windsor native says it was her conversational voice that will always remain unforgettable to him.

Charles “Spider” Jones is a recipient of the Order of Ontario, a motivational speaker and a long-time talk radio host. His latter venture dates back to the late 1980s, when he conducted his first radio interviews.

Jones had a show called “The Spider’s Web” on CHUO, a station near Toronto. Thanks to a connection with a booking agent, he had the opportunity to interview artists performing at the Royal York Hotel’s Imperial Room.

In just his second radio interview, he found himself standing next to Tina Turner. At the time, she was in the middle of what many people consider the greatest comeback in the music industry.

“I said, ‘you were my first crush … I used to sit in front of the television set when you were on American Bandstand.’ She laughed and kissed me on the cheek,” Jones recalled with a laugh.

“I said to myself, ‘I’ll never wash it again.’”

As for Farnworth, her favourite Tina Turner moment is seeing her perform live in Orlando in 2000.

“She was a fabulous performer. If you ever had an opportunity to see her, you would never be disappointed because she always gave 100 per cent in everything she did,” she said.

“Tina Turner was a very energetic, enthusiastic and motivated performer.”

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