Sunday, August 02, 2009

Ike and Tina Turner ~ March 1970

I'd recently shot a record album cover for a Miami group called Fantasy and I got a call from Wayne at Liberty Records. He wanted to know if I could schedule a shoot in a few days. They wanted black & white to use for publicity, concert programs, and such. Ike and Tina were playing and staying at the Newport Hotel in Sunny Isles, just a few kilometers from my house. We set up a time for a few days later.

When I arrived they asked me to come up to the room. Tina wasn't ready. She was still doing her hair and make-up. She did her own. Ike asked me if I played guitar, pointing to the one on the bed. I said "not really, but I do know a few blues runs", picked up the guitar and asked him if it would be OK to put it in open G tuning. Once retuned I proceeded to do some fancy runs, slides, and muffing the strings with the heel of my hand after stroking the strings. He liked it and then I had to show him the fingering. We talked about some of the great blues players from the past and he was intrigued that I had so many re-releases of blues records going back the 1920's. Then he said "play something else" and I had to tell him that the reason I could wow him wasn't that I was an accomplished player but that I'd been practicing the same little bit for years, over and over. Tina said she was now lookin' good.

The first location was by the fishing pier that was just south of the Newport, and then we got into a stretch black limo and I told the driver how to get to a place with rows of stately royal palms where a motel had been years before, near Greynolds Park. then they wanted to go to a colored neighborhood.

Just A few blocks to the north were some gravel roads heading east from U.S. 1, going towards the mangroves, that had a number of run down two story houses with rental apartments. In those segregated days that was where the maids and gardeners lived so they could easily walk to work or catch a bus. When we pulled in it caused quite a stir! People wanted autographs and the Turners obliged. That entire neighborhood was bulldozed a few years later and replaced with retirement condos.

On the way back to the Newport Ike talked about the fact that when the hotel booked them they told them that they'd made reservations for the Turners to stay at a colored hotel in downtown Miami. Ike said that if they were good enough to play in the Newport's night club they were good enough to stay at the Newport. Management relented and they were the first blacks to stay at a beachfront "white" hotel in the Miami area.

The top photo was the one that I liked best. The scan is directly off the contact sheet so it's a bit light. I was shooting with an old Minolta Autocord. The art director didn't want me using 35mm.

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