Tina Turner sues a tribute act for looking too much like her.
9th November 2021

CRAIG BROWN: As Tina Turner sues a tribute act for looking too much like her… Listen up! Is that Oasis or No Way Sis?

A few years ago, I was in a London taxi when the cheery driver said: ‘Don’t tell me! You’re that bloke from Simply Red! Whatshisname — Mick Hucknall?’

I tried to let him down gently. No, I said, I wasn’t Mick Hucknall.

‘I bet you get that all the time,’ he said. In fact, I had never been mistaken for Mick Hucknall. But, for those few seconds, I was happy to be confused with a famous pop star — much happier, I’m sure, than Mick Hucknall would have been to be confused with me.

But it can be hard to be a looky-likey. The real Tina Turner is currently suing a singer called Dorothea ‘Coco’ Fletcher, who tours Europe in a show called ‘Simply The Best — The Tina Turner Story’.

A few years ago, I was in a London taxi when the cheery driver said: ‘Don’t tell me! You’re that bloke from Simply Red! Whatshisname — Mick Hucknall?’ I tried to let him down gently. No, I said, I wasn’t Mick Hucknall, writes Craig Brown

Dorothea does bear a marked resemblance to the young Tina Turner, and presumably sounds like her, too. In fact, it is the accuracy of her impersonation that has landed her in trouble.

Lawyers for the real Tina have been arguing in a German court that a fan might be misled into believing they were watching their client rather than an impersonator. In response, Dorothea’s lawyers say that such a fan would have to be a ‘chronically stupid person’.

Or would he? The fact remains that, after a few minutes in the presence of a gifted tribute act, you really do start to believe that you are watching the real thing. Tribute acts are often more convincing representations of the originals in their youth than the ageing idols could ever be.

There are plenty of other reasons to celebrate tribute acts. Along with hairdressers and pet parlours, they uphold the great British tradition of punning. Pictured: Tribute band No Way Sis in 1996

The great rock journalist Nic Cohn witnessed Tina in her prime, ‘whirling and pounding and screaming . . . her flesh dissolving and her hair all flying and her big man-eater teeth flashing . . . Her energy is endless; she flings herself about the stage like some maniac, and her hair flays her flesh . . . then the sweat rolls off her in sheets and her lips peel back from her teeth and she’s quite murderous’.

But this was 55 years ago. The real Tina Turner is now 81 years old — or, to put things in perspective, seven years older than Ann Widdecombe. These days, she couldn’t be expected to sing or dance with the gusto of her youth. There is only one solution. Send for Dorothea ‘Coco’ Fletcher!

I am a great believer in tribute bands. If you want to witness The Beatles at the height of their success, I recommend going to see superior tribute acts such as The Bootleg Beatles or The Fab Four. And why watch creepy electronic avatars of the OAP members of Abba, digitally de-aged, when, for a quarter of the price, you can enjoy a suitably youthful tribute group like Bjorn Again?

There are plenty of other reasons to celebrate tribute acts. Along with hairdressers and pet parlours, they uphold the great British tradition of punning. Popular tribute acts include Fake That, The Rolling Clones, Slack Babbath, The Black Eyed Teaz, Fakin’ Stevens, Pete Loaf and The Clone Roses.

The real Tina Turner (pictured) is currently suing a singer called Dorothea ‘Coco’ Fletcher, who tours Europe in a show called ‘Simply The Best — The Tina Turner Story’. Dorothea does bear a marked resemblance to the young Tina Turner, and presumably sounds like her, too. In fact, it is the accuracy of her impersonation that has landed her in trouble

A four-piece female band is called Lez Zeppelin, a Shirley Bassey looky-likey is Surely Bassey, and an overweight Robbie Williams act rejoices in the name of Blobbie Williams. Different Oasis tribute bands are variously called Oasish, No Way Sis and, my favourite, Oasisn’t.

Couldn’t the tribute franchise be extended to areas beyond the world of pop?

The other day, I watched Michael Heseltine on television, sounding off about the tawdry state of the Conservative Party.

He is now 88 and in good shape for someone his age, but he now looks more like Private Godfrey than the Tarzan of yore.

Similarly, when Tony Blair and Gordon Brown popped up on the recent BBC documentary about their rivalry, they looked as though they had been artificially aged by sprinkling flour on their hair and drawing dark lines on their brows with a thick crayon. Would it not have been kinder — more lifelike, even — to have employed looky-likeys, so that we could witness them as they were?

By contrast, columnists have it easy. I grow older, but, miraculously, the photograph of me at the top of this column remains the same. It’s much less trouble than undergoing a facelift. Or should I replace it with a photograph of Mick Hucknall? On the other hand, it’s years since I last saw Mick Hucknall. By now, he probably looks like Vince Cable.

The other day, I watched Michael Heseltine (pictured) on television, sounding off about the tawdry state of the Conservative Party. He is now 88 and in good shape for someone his age, but he now looks more like Private Godfrey than the Tarzan of yore

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