Tyler studio owner recalls ‘70s recording session with Tina Turner

Tyler studio owner recalls ‘70s recording session with Tina Turner
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 2:13 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 6:44 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Some called her the Queen of Rock and Roll, and her given name was Anna Mae Bullock, but everyone knew her as Tina Turner. Her family announced that she died Wednesday at age 83. And it shouldn’t come as a big surprise she had an East Texas connection.

Robin Hood Brians has been recording and mixing down music from bands like ZZ Top since 1963 at his Robin Hood Studios in Tyler. So, did he ever work with Tina Turner? Well, the answer is yes. But how?

“Just got a phone call from Ike. I’d been doing hit records on other people, and they were playing in Gregg County someplace, and wanted to know if we could start Saturday night after they finished. Go all night. So, I said sure,” Brians said.

Brians says they watched their Friday night performance.

“I discovered what Ike was really like. He got very angry during one of the songs,” Brians said.

He says Ike fired the bass player and Tina just kept performing like nothing was happening. The next night there was trouble in the studio.

“He looked like he was getting ready to come over and slap Tina. And I put my hand in front of him and said, not in this building, sir,” Brians said.

It defused the situation, and they went on recording their four songs.

“Tina was an angel. She was a star. She’d already had Proud Mary, so she was a star. And when she walked in the room you knew you were in the room with a star,” Brians said.

He says there weren’t multiple takes. They would rehearse and:

“She throws a switch. And when she throws that switch, it’s as though she’s in front of 20,000 people, because she gives every note 100 percent,” Brians said.

Brians says he loved her professionalism and working with her.

“When it was all over, she came over and gave me a big hug, squeezed me tight and whispered in my ear, ‘thank you for making things go right,’” Brians said.

He says Ike took the master tapes and they were gone, his one and only session with Tina Turner.

Brians says he was told Ike sold the recordings to a small record label for cash.

The late “Queen of Rock N’ Roll” is being remembered by fans and fellow industry workers following her passing on Wednesday.