knoxville + cheekbones = 47,900 hits

The World’s Greatest Heartbreaker

Tales of Ike & Tina Turner, God Knows How Many Ikettes, and the Closed Circuit TV System

Tina was born in Brownsville, Tennessee, and grew up in Knoxville. They way she stretches her limbs on stage, she looks tall, and her high cheekbones give her a proud Indian appearance. But she’s only 5’4”, and as for Indian blood: “It’s in the family, but I don’t know where or from what tribe. My grandmother really looked like an Indian, though. She was maybe one-fourth Cherokee.”

Tina never studied music. Of course, she learned some from church—in Knoxville, she went to Baptist church and sang in the choir and, in high school, she sang some opera. But mostly she remembers a baby-sitter taking her to “sanctified church, a religion, they call it holiness—it’s where they play tambourines and dance, but not just dancing-dancing like godly to the fast music, sort of like today. I remembered the excitement of the music; it inspired you to dance.”

—Ben Fong-Torres, Oct 14, 1971,

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