The world lost a music icon yesterday, as it was just confirmed today that the “Queen of Rock and Roll” Tina Turner passed away in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.
She left an indelible mark on the world, and from very humble beginnings in Brownsville, Tennessee became an international superstar with 12 Grammy Awards to her name.
Turner is also one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, having sold over 100 million records worldwide.
To call her a legend and giant in music doesn’t really feel like enough, and she overcame much struggle and strife in her life to achieve incredible amount of success, including a famously violent and tumultuous marriage to Ike Turner, a fellow musician and producer.
And while she didn’t dabble too much in the country genre, she is a Southern girl from Western Tennessee who did release a couple country albums throughout her career, and actually inspired Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson to write their classic country hit, “Good Hearted Woman.”
The country duo penned the song in 1969 in a motel room in Fort Worth, Texas, during a poker game.
Waylon was reading an ad in a paper about Ike and Tina Turner, which mentioned that a lot of her songs were about good-hearted women loving two-timing men.
It hit him right then that the concept would make for a fantastic country song, and he asked his friend and expert songwriter, Willie Nelson, to help him write it.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Willie’s then-wife, Connie Koepke, was writing down the lyrics while they finished their poker game, simultaneously trying to finish the song… ironically, Willie and Waylon both ended up losing the game, but they did write a hell of a song.
In addition to Connie, Waylon’s wife, Jessi Colter, was also a big inspiration behind the track, as they detailed just how much their wives had to put up with by being married to two pioneers of the country outlaw movement. I mean, Lord only knows what those women went through (beyond what is well-documented), and the song is as authentic and honest as a country song can be.
Of course, it’s easy to imagine that Tina Turner could relate to a lot of the lyrics in the song, as well, based on her own music and the things she often talked about in her own songs.
Waylon first recorded “Good Hearted Woman” as the title track for his 1972 album, where it peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
In 1975, he remixed the song and added vocals from Willie, as well as fake crowd noise, to give it a live feel for their iconic Wanted: The Outlaws! album. That version went #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1976.
Willie Nelson actually only wrote two lines of the song, but received half of all the royalties that they originally agreed upon, which is cool because it goes to show just how good of a man Waylon really was at heart… even with the bad boy, outlaw image he maintained throughout his career.
And of course, it became one of Waylon and Willie’s signature songs that remains a fan-favorite and country standard to this day, and the idea and concept is really all thanks to the one and only Tina Turner.
She later recorded a fantastic rendition of “Good Hearted Woman” for her own 1988 album Goes Country, which included tons of other incredible country covers of songs like Waylon’s “We Had It All,” Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” and Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man.”
RIP Tina Turner.
“Good Hearted Woman”
The Willie and Waylon original: