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Tina Turner performs at Great Woods back in 1993. (Matt Stone/Boston Herald)
Tina Turner performs at Great Woods back in 1993. (Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

Standing on stage in Holland in 1971, Tina Turner tells the crowd, “You know, every now and then I think you might like to hear something from us nice and easy. But there’s just one thing, you see, we never ever do nothing nice and easy. We always do it nice and rough. So we’re gonna take the beginning of this song and do it easy. Then we’re gonna do the finish rough.”

Then Tina launches into what is arguably the roughest, rawest, greatest performance in the history of rock, soul and pop.

In high heels and an impossibly short skirt, Tina shakes and shimmies, frantic feet moving a mile-a-minute while she shouts out “Proud Mary” in the voice that earned her the title the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The high voltage performance captured on video brings to mind the fact that Tina did a dozen numbers this electric in a single night, and she did them night after night, sometimes twice a night. She did them in the ’60s while living a nightmare backstage with the abusive and loathsome Ike Turner. She did them in ’90s for packed European football stadiums. She did them right out of high school and into her 60s, in the face of sexism and racism and ageism.

Tina, who passed away Wednesday at 83, started her career with Ike. They became stars, but couldn’t hold on – blame can be firmly placed with Ike’s control freak nature. After they split, Tina struggled for years to regain her late-’60s and early-’70s fame. Eventually, in 1984, she crashed back into the spotlight.

Now in her 40s – ancient by pop star standards – Tina still had a voice and fire like no one else. When Capitol took a chance and signed the “hasbeen,” Tina delivered “Private Dancer.” The album spun off four Top 40 hits including No. 1 smash “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” It sold five million copies in the States alone. It won a pile of Grammys.

Tina would never stumble again.

In 1988, she thrilled 180,000 fans at Rio’s Maracanã Stadium in Brazil while setting the record for the largest ticketed concert by a solo artist. A year later, she released her second (third? fourth?) signature tune – “The Best” – as she knocked on the door of 50. Two decades later, she made a cool $100 million on the “Twenty Four Seven” tour (then making her the best-selling touring solo artist in history).

For 50 years, she took all comers on stage and kept punching back an industry that wanted to put her in this box or that box.

Maybe the defining observation of her legacy comes in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.” During the Broadway hit, someone comments that Tina is “James Brown in a skirt.” Tina rightly corrects the misconception: “He’s Tina Turner in pants.”