As we mourn the passing of the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Tina Turner, we've been remembering a couple of connections to the tri-state area. For example, at the height of her massive comeback, she was in concert at Roberts Stadium in Evansville in 1985. I was in the fourth row and will never forget it.

Tina Turner's Multiple Appearances in Western Kentucky/Southern Indiana

But tucked in between the moment she left Ike Turner for good--with nothing in her pockets but a Mobil gas card and 36 cents--and her triumphant return thanks to her blockbuster Private Dancer album, she also made an appearance in Owensboro.

One might wonder how the Executive Inn Rivermont landed a superstar like Tina Turner, but it was actually quite simple. And, in no way, am I besmirching that iconic Owensboro hotel. It always booked huge stars in the Showroom Lounge during its 30-plus years of existence. But when THAT particular performance occurred, it wasn't too long after Tina's split with Ike.

The Timing of Tina Turner's Tonight Show and Owensboro Appearances

She was doing what she always knew she had to do. She worked. And regardless of how little she had, she was always Tina Turner. She took small gigs like the Exec. She appeared on Hollywood Squares. And she appeared on the only late night talk show that mattered at the time...The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

It was 1981, and Dad and I were in the family room getting ready for Johnny, a nightly tradition. Except we didn't get Johnny that night. His frequent guest host--a pre-legendary David Letterman--was filling in for the King of Late Night.

When David Letterman Said 'Owensboro KY' Because of an Enduring Icon

And as was always the case when there was a musical act or stand-up comic on the show, their upcoming appearances were mentioned. Tina's Tonight Show gig just happened to be a few days before her Owensboro concert. Consequently,...

I flipped out. David Letterman said "Owensboro." And I gotta be dad was kind of giddy about it, too. I think he may have even woke Mom up to tell her.

So yes, I have two distinct memories of Tina Turner being right here in our own backyard, and I couldn't let the day end without sharing them.

Tina had been battling illness for a long time, so her passing was just a MATTER of time. Nothing terribly surprising. But we don't lose someone like that--someone for whom even the term "icon" might be an understatement--without feeling an impact.

An extraordinary talent is gone. But her legacy--her phenomenal music--will be here forever.

26 Performers Who Appeared at Owensboro's Executive Inn Showroom Lounge

There's rarely a conversation I have about the Executive Inn that doesn't lead to someone (myself included) wishing it was still here. So many big names and FUTURE big names performed on that Showroom Lounge stage.

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