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The surreal dalliance between David Bowie and Tina Turner

When one thinks of David Bowie, normally, you think of the chameleonic artist that he was, one who helped to push back against restrictive social mores and bring culture into a more fluid future. One of the most important artists to have ever lived, what Bowie did for both music and culture as a whole is surpassed only really by The Beatles.

Without him, there would be no Björk, no Aphex Twin, and no Charli XCX. There’d also have been no Kurt Cobain, no John Frusciante; the list of heroes he inspired is endless.

Aside from Bowie’s pioneering artistic strides, he is also remembered for another reason; his promiscuity. Fluid like the music he wrote, the tales of Bowie’s sexual encounters are manifold. They range from having an alleged romance with Mick Jagger to a brief relationship with the mother of Guns N’ Roses axeman, Slash.

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It turns out, perhaps unsurprising, that there was another icon that Bowie successfully wooed. This was the ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ herself, Tina Turner. It is said that Bowie spent four years trying to seduce the iconic singer, and finally managed to do it by singing one of her biggest hits, ‘Proud Mary’, in a hotel room, wearing one of her wigs and nothing else.

In a 2020 interview with The Sun, her close friend and personal assistant, Eddy Hampton Armani, explained how it went down between two of the most iconic artists of all time, and it was classic Bowie. Sleazy, humorous and borderline lecherous, the vignette paints a picture of Bowie fancying himself as something of a modern-day Casanova rather than a pop star.

Armani said: “It was in 1985, and they were performing at ­Birmingham’s NEC on the UK leg of her Private Dancer tour. She told me David had already told her many times, ‘I want you’. I was asked to collect sushi from David’s favourite Mayfair restaurant in London and bring it up to Birmingham for them”.

He continued: “I arrived to see their sound-check on stage and they were teasing each other. Later they went back to the hotel and had the sushi. The next morning I went to Tina’s room and she was acting really strangely. She said, ‘Oh my god, David is so naughty’. She told me David came on to her and she said, ‘I thought, ‘Oh, we will have a bit of fun’. And they did”.

He recalled: “Then Tina started laughing and said, ‘He went to have a shower, then he walks out, stark naked, wearing one of my spare wigs. He started singing ‘Rolling On The River’ and was dancing just like me’.”

Hilariously, Armani appended in saying that this moment of “explosive chemistry” brought “a whole new meaning” to Turner’s 1984 hit ‘Private Dancer’. He didn’t end with the story there, though. Bowie had one last piece of mischief up his sleeve.

Armani explained how he went to the NEC for the show, and “David appeared at the top of a long flight of stairs on the stage. Tina turned around with the biggest smile that said, ‘I had an exciting night’. The atmosphere between them was electric”.

Armani remembers clearly: “On stage, he whispered something to her and Tina burst out laughing. She later told me he’d said, ‘My c**k is still sore’. He was one of only a few lucky men who won over Tina”.

We knew he was playful, but we didn’t know he was that forthright. This is an anecdote we’re never going to be able to erase from our memory. Next time ‘Proud Mary’ comes on, or a David Bowie track is played, this surreal anecdote will be replayed. 

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