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Tina Turner

Tina Turner’s comeback was bigger than any prior success.

WITH ‘LET’S STAY TOGETHER’

Tina Turner Rocks

Back Into Top 40

By PAUL GREIN

LOS ANGELES-Tina Turner, who’s back in the top 40 for the first time in more than a decade with a remake of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay To-gether,” credits her career resurgence to a renewed emphasis on rock’n’ roll.

“Let’s Stay Together” was co-produced by Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 and Greg Walsh. And Turner’s forthcoming album, due on Capitol in May, is expected to include cuts produced by Rupert Hine (the Fixx) and Laurie Latham (Paul Young).

Turner’s pop focus also extends to her choice for a manager: Roger Davies, who also represents Olivia Newton-John. And it most certainly extends to her live show

“I changed my band and changed a lot of the songs,” Turner says. “I was doing a high-energy Vegas type of show, because I was working a lot of clubs. I changed that and made it more rock’n’roll. I got into a lot of the rock’n’roll clubs, and as a result my audience is getting younger and younger.”

Turner also attributes her rediscovery by rock fans to recent pairings with the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. Turner performed duets with Mick Jagger during the Stones’ 1981 tour and also appeared with Stewart at a 1982 concert that was televised worldwide via satellite.

Turner first worked with Martyn Ware and Greg Walsh when they produced her version of the Temptations’ “Ball Of Confusion” for a various-artists compilation issued in Britain two years ago by Virgin Records.

“After we did it, I wanted to work with the guys because I liked their sound,” Turner says. “But then Martyn came in with all of this r&b material which I didn’t want to do. We had to compromise. We went through tapes and we both agreed on the Al Green song.”

Turner is candid about the fact that she’s not much of an r&b enthusiast. “My stage performance is basically rock’n’roll,” she says. “I’m more comfortable with it; the energy is good and I like the words. I don’t really want to do r&b right now. I can’t say that I won’t go back to it, because it’s my roots. I just like to sing uptempo things. I’m very optimistic now.”

“Let’s Stay Together” is only the seventh top 40 hit of Turner’s career, which stretches back nearly 24 years to Ike & Tina Turner’s breakthrough hit, “A Fool In Love.”

Asked about pop radio’s apparent reluctance to play her records, Turner notes: “I hate to talk about racism, but that has a lot to do with it. When I started my career, you had to hit r&b before you could make the crossover. I understand it’s still that way a lot. In foreign countries, they don’t put a label or color on music. They just program it.”

Pop radio’s nervousness about playing Turner is reflected in another way. Of the four records that she has placed in the top 40 since 1962, three have had the extra edge of being already-familiar oldies. “I Want To Take You Higher” was first recorded by Sly & the Family Stone; “Proud Mary” was first a hit by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

And now Turner’s UK. followup to “Let’s Stay Together” is a remake of the Beatles’ “Help,” produced by Joe Sample, Wilton Felder and Ndugu Chancler of the Crusaders. And her album is due to include a version of David Bowie’s “1984” produced by Walsh and Ware.

Turner is currently in the midst of a 40-date British tour, which runs through the end of the month. She expects to tour the U.S. in July.

 Of her smooth re-entry after a five-year absence from the recording scene (her last album was “Rough” on United Artists), Turner says: “It wasn’t as if I was constantly putting out records that were losers. I just worked at doing good performances and holding on to my audience, so when I did come out with some material they were all there for it.”

Tina Turner Rocks Back Into Top 40