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East Bay Woman Plays Tribute to Late Tina Turner

The world of music has lost a legend and rock ‘n’ roll has lost its queen.

Tina Turner died Wednesday at the age of 83 at her home in Switzerland.

Her death is hitting music fans hard, but there’s one woman in the East Bay who is especially touched.

Born Anna Mae Bullock to Tennessee sharecroppers in 1939, she was discovered by Ike Turner, who married, renamed her, and brutally abused her. 

She left Ike in the mid 70s, not a penny to her name. Bay Area rock ‘n’ roll historian Joel Selvin remembers seeing Turner in San Francisco at the rock bottom of her career.

“She played a lunch-time gig at SF State. And they paid her $750,” he said.

Undeterred, she truly became a superstar. 

Leah Sweet of Brentwood, who now makes a living paying tribute to Turner, remembers first seeing Turner at a mid 60s concert at Candlestick Park

“I was really inspired to see the first female rockstar, and something, that energy she provided – came into me and I said ‘when I grow up, I want to be just like her,’” said Sweet. 

Some aspects of Turner were harder to imitate than others.

“The biggest thing for me was trying to learn how Tina Turner dances,” said Sweet.

If you want to know how much people love Turner and missed her when she retired in 2000, ask Sweet.

“I’m getting hugs, I’m taking so many pictures with fans, everywhere that we go, they’re asking us to come back,” she said.

Sweet will take her Turner tribute to Yoshi‘s in Oakland next week. She’s looking forward to seeing the reaction of her fans now that their hero is gone.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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