PINE NUTS – Best House Dance Ever
May 26, 2023 | McAvoy Lane
Away back in 1961, the SAE Fraternity at the University of Oregon held a House Dance in a barn out in Creswell, thirteen miles south of Eugene. I got there early with a date I had met that afternoon, hoping she might teach me how to dance before the party started, Peggy was her name. Anyway, we were standing around making small talk when a bus pulled onto the dirt lot that fronted the barn. The bus had a rocket painted on its side, and when the doors opened, outpoured the musicians that were contracted to play while we danced, or learned how to dance in my case.
They got set-up and plugged-in while we filled our glasses from a keg in anticipation of the occasion. Finally they started to blow, we started to dance, and then something unearthly happened. A pretty girl about our own age stepped up to the microphone, kicked the heavy base of the mic stand, and swung that stand in a complete circle. Everybody stopped dancing, and we just stood there staring at her. I knew if I had a week to practice, I could not duplicate what she had done with that microphone stand. We continued to stare in awe as she started to dance like nobody we had ever seen move before, and sing like an angel sent from above, but with wings on fire.
Peggy taught me to dance that night, an easy task for her, as the music would make a cast-iron dog dance, and as we left that barn around midnight, elated and exhausted, I caught the name of the band painted on the bus below the rocket, “Ike & Tina Turner and the Ikettes.”
Fast forwarding a decade, I learned Ike & Tina would be performing in Honolulu upon returning from a tour of Asia, and as news director of KORL, I arranged an interview. They invited me up to their hotel suite in Waikiki, where I was greeted by the always ravishing Miss Turner like I was a long-lost Nutbush cousin. Ike was more standoffish, but she wanted to talk, and was ever so enchanting. Persuasive? She could talk a goldfish into coming out and taking a walk with her. Ike, on the other hand, kept to himself, until he decided to show me some jewelry that he had managed to smuggle past customs.
Like everybody else in the world, I learned to love Tina Turner. From the moment she kicked that microphone stand into a perfect circle, to that interview in her suite, to the breathtaking performances I was able to catch thereafter, she stole my heart, aorta, pulmonary, ventricles and all. My breath stopped when I heard she had been summoned to entertain in the Great Beyond. But I caught my breath, set down what I was doing, fired-up my Boom 3 Speakers, and cranked-up, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” Tina Turner Rest in Peace…