Tina Turner on Maui: My Secret!

You read it here first; in fact, I think there’s only one other person in the whole world who knows this secret, and he’s probably forgotten. Back in the late 1970s, I was working for the Maui Sun, a weekly newspaper, and I had bought a used camera so I could get paid, as I recall, five bucks a shot for anything the paper published.

I got pretty good at adjusting the settings to capture decent photos in all kinds of situations. All were black and white, of course, because newspapers weren’t printing color at that point, and I would take my film back to the office for processing by our photo editor, the late Karen Anna. You could get some pretty nice photos with black-and-white film, especially with Karen doing the printing.

Then I started dating a reporter who worked at the Maui News, and one night we had a special treat—free seats at a concert by Tina Turner, at the old Maui Lu Resort in Kihei—a rather unusual venue for an artist of her stature, it seems to me today. The deal was, my date was supposed to shoot pictures for the paper. But he wasn’t a photographer; I can’t remember if he didn’t have a camera, or just wasn’t into it.

Tina Turner and her band perform at the Maui Lu Resort about 1980.

Tina Turner and her band perform at the Maui Lu Resort about 1980.

So I brought my camera along and shot a bunch of pictures with available light, and my date turned in the film the next day. My photo ended up on the front page of the Maui News. (And it occurs to me now that the picture was probably improved by that other Maui darkroom wizard, Wayne Tanaka.)

Of course, I worked for the other newspaper in town, so I couldn’t have a photo credit. We handled that by having my date claim the photo as his own, and he got the front-page credit.

Not long after, I myself began work at the Maui News and over the years had many photos published in the paper, all taken with that same little secondhand camera. But I’ll always remember this one: Tina Turner, rocking out at the old Maui Lu. That’s a wild enough memory in itself, and the secret behind the front-page photo makes it even better.

6 thoughts on “Tina Turner on Maui: My Secret!

  1. Judy Johnson

    It looks like a wild and wonderful night. I never got to see her perform but I always heard she was a great performer. Judy J

  2. Cynthia Conrad

    She was such a dynamic performer and I’m glad you’re getting the credit you deserve now! Great shot.

    • Jill

      She was indeed. Amazing to think she played at the Maui Lu!

  3. How very cool to read about this while enjoying your hospitality at Casa Gillian in Kihei these many years later!

    • Jill

      Yep, it’s been a while. The secret can be revealed at last!

  4. Gloria keeling

    I was also there that night Jill. It was a great night. During the 80s lots of great group played in small venues on Maui. Fun days.

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