The day Tina Turner caused a sensation at the PSC Rose Festival

On May 16, 1981, the PSC celebrated the first Festival of the Rose and it was necessary to impress.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
25 May 2023 Thursday 22:26
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The day Tina Turner caused a sensation at the PSC Rose Festival

On May 16, 1981, the PSC celebrated the first Festival of the Rose and it was necessary to impress. The bar for political partying was very high in Catalonia because the PSUC took the cake with its Festa del Treball, which that same year, in September, brought together 100,000 people, so the socialist leaders, then led by Joan Reventós, They decided to throw out the remains with a poster of performances among which an artist who, although well-known, had not yet managed to storm the skies: Tina Turner stood out.

In the year of the coup d'état on February 23, in Spain, and therefore in Catalonia, a desire for freedom was emerging. In fact, that was the motto of the socialist Festa de la Rosa - "Per la llibertat" - which was held on Avenida María Cristina de Montjuïc and which, under the lights of the Magic Fountain, brought together 50,000 people attracted by the Queen of Acid recently deceased, who performed at 7:45 p.m. after Quico Pi de la Serra and his guitar.

"Hunger and the desire to eat came together," admits one of the promoters of bringing Tina Turner to Barcelona hired by the PSC. Someone from the party had the contact of her agent and stated that the artist was available to perform on the dates of the Festa de la Rosa, and also "the price could be assumed", admits the same source.

The socialist event of that time is far from those that the party now celebrates in the Gavà pine forest. It was not a political act like now where the central act is the rallies, then it was just a party organized by the PSC with musical performances, in which admission was charged, and in which the party groups set up their stands. But there was a political background. The PSC fought “against the passivity and resignation of a difficult stage”, marked by the Franco regime and the attempted coup. And in Catalonia, "against attempts at division and discrimination, and for the unity of workers and the people of Catalonia."

Tina Turner was a huge claim. “The energy transmitted by Tina Turner and the two dancers who made up the chorus was brutal, you can't even imagine it. It was a force of nature that we were not used to seeing here," says the same source.

The chronicles of that time reveal that the artist was waiting but that the moment she jumped on stage was the most memorable of the party. She performed in a golden dress full of fringes, as usual for her, which enhanced her driving energy, and together with a group of white musicians except the pianist. She was the second to perform at the party, followed by nine other artists, including Teresa Rebull, the Brazilian Baden Powell, Marina Rossell, Rossianne, Juliette Greco, Roque Navaja and Isaac Hayes.

The performance was a success despite the fact that it was not a long-lasting concert, like the one in which Bruce Springsteen starred a little over a month earlier, in his first performance in Spain, a few meters from there, in the municipal sports palace of Montjuïc. Tina Turner caused a sensation interpreting songs by the Rolling Stones such as "Honky Tonk Woman" or "It's Orly rock and roll", but she also used her own repertoire, singing "River deep. Mountain High”, one of her biggest hits to date, shared with her ex-husband Ike Turner.

Tina had been divorced five years earlier, in 1976, as a result of the mistreatment she received from her husband, but in Spain it was not yet legal, in fact it was not until a couple of months later, in July, although getting divorced then was not it was as easy as it is now because a judicial separation was necessary first.

While freedom was yearned for in Spain, also in the domestic sphere, Tina was a few steps ahead and seven months after performing in Barcelona, ​​in December, she recognized in the magazine 'People' the hell of her married life. The media barely carried a small claim on the front page of that brutal story in which the artist assured that she had gotten used to her husband's punches to such an extent that she could taste blood when she sang, and that she came to not know what it was. have a bruise on the face. That testimony made the magazine sell millions of copies and the singer emerged forever as a symbol of resilience and strength.

Everything that was to come was a success. From the 12th position on the US Billboard 200 that he occupied in 1979 with his album 'Love Explosion', his fourth studio album, he went to number one worldwide in 1984, with 'Private Dancer'.