St. Louis music scene honors the ‘Queen of Rock

The National Blues Museum celebrates the foundations of modern music. It’s why Wednesday’s news of Tina Turner’s death struck a chord.

ST. LOUIS — Tina Turner’s legacy is being felt by local musicians and music venues in St. Louis. Many of them feel a personal connection to the superstar who grew up in town.

The National Blues Museum celebrates the foundations of modern music. It’s why Wednesday’s news of Turner’s death struck a chord. The singer meant so much to so many.

Earlier this month, local singer Laka transformed into one of her favorite singers of all time.

“She inspired me … she’s probably had the most influence on me as an artist,” Laka said.

It’s why she was excited to perform a Tina Turner tribute show at the museum earlier this month. She’s spent years studying Turner’s craft, embodying her iconic style into her own.

Fans couldn’t get enough.

“We only originally planned to do one night on Friday night, but it sold out so quick, that we added a Saturday night. Then that sold out,” Laka added.

She had no clue just two weeks later, the music superstar would pass away at 83 years old.

In north St. Louis, Tina and Ike Turner would often perform at what is now an abandoned building, which was called Club Imperial at the time.

“She also got her start at clubs around town. She played at The Manhattan in East St. Louis,” Erin Simon of the National Blues Museum said.

Turner was developing skills that would make her an international icon.

“Her costumes, how she danced on the stage, her powerful voice,” Simon added. 

At the museum Wednesday, Turner fans were in a state of shock.

“I can’t tell you how many emails we’ve gotten at the museum that people just wanting to share how they felt and how sad they were that we lost such an icon of music … she’s the ‘Queen of Rock and Roll,'” Simon said.

A queen being remembered for her rare talent and her St. Louis roots.

“Keep her legacy alive, continue to tell her story, keep her music out there and I’m just so blessed to be able to do it,” Laka said.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones provided a statement, which reads:

“Long before there was Beyonce, there was Tina. From Sumner High School to Club Imperial to sold-out concerts across the globe, Tina Turner’s undeniable voice and talent brought people together. Tina was musical royalty, a trailblazer, and a force to be reckoned with – no matter the odds or obstacles in her way. She cemented St. Louis’ place in rock and roll history and we cherish her legacy. We pray for her loved ones and admirers while celebrating everything the Queen of Rock and Roll has done to shape our city and the music industry as we know it today.”

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