Tina Turner had a legendary career and worked with many other legends within the industry. She and Elton John were pioneer in the music industry and skyrocketed to stardom around the same time in different parts of the world. While the two artists planned to work together, their collaboration resulted in disaster, leading to a small feud.
Elton John and Tina Turner almost went on tour together
Tina Turner and Elton John rose to fame in the 1960s and 1970s. Turner became known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” and pioneered how energetic and bombastic performers could be on stage. John had a similar play style, with high-energy music and performances. In his 2019 memoir, Me, John said it made sense for them to work together, and it nearly happened.
The pair were planning a joint tour in 1997. However, Turner reportedly called John, giving him a nasty message that set the tone for their working relationship.
“While it was at the planning stage, she rang me up at home, apparently with the express intention of telling me how awful I was and how I had to change before we could work together,” John wrote. “She didn’t like my hair, she didn’t like the color of my piano, and she didn’t like my clothes.”
“You wear too much Versace, and it makes you look fat — you have to wear Armani,’ she announced. I could hear poor old Gianni turning in his grave at the very idea: the houses of Versace and Armani cordially hated each other,” he continued. “Armani said Versace made really vulgar clothes, and Gianni thought Armani was unbelievably beige and boring. I got off the phone and burst into tears: ‘She sounded like my f*****g mother.’”
John had a heated response to Turner giving him corrections
Their relationship worsened when they decided to rehearse together. While playing Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary”, Elton John said she kept stopping the song and pointed a finger at whoever wasn’t playing correctly. When she finally said John was playing it wrong, he was furious and threw a tantrum.
“The subsequent debate about whether I knew how to play Proud Mary became quite heated before I brought it to a conclusion by telling Tina Turner to stick her f*****g song up her a**e and stormed off,” John said. “I’ve thrown plenty of tantrums in my time, but there are limits: there’s an unspoken rule that musicians don’t treat their fellow musicians like s***.”
John did apologize afterward, recognizing he had gone too far. In an interview for Divas Live ‘99, Turner told her side of the story, recalling it brought back memories of the past.
“Oh lord, it just exploded. It was like the past slapping me back in the face,” Turner said.
She did say that John apologized afterward, but she found him to be very “sensitive” after this incident.
The pair were able to settle their feud before Turner’s death
Fortunately, the pair reconciled and performed “Proud Mary” without any further problems. However, they didn’t collaborate much after realizing they weren’t creatively great matches. In Me, Elton John said he and Tina Turner had dinner and buried the hatchet.
“We made up later,” John shared. “She came for dinner and left a big lipstick kiss in the visitors’ book.”
Turner died on May 24, 2023, and John took to Instagram to pay tribute to the iconic singer.
“We have lost one of the world’s most exciting and electric performers. A total legend on record and on stage. She was untouchable. Condolences to Erwin and her family.”
Elements of this story were first reported by TheThings.