Culture TEDx

Everything I need to know about comebacks, I learned from Tina Turner: Jimmy Guterman at TED2012

Image c/o Warner Brothers Pictures, 1985

Jimmy Guterman (curator of TEDxBoston) starts a short audience talk with what is unfortunately an eternal truth of the human condition: “Everyone of a certain age has felt washed up.” It doesn’t matter if you’re a country, the environment or a person. There comes a time when you want a comeback.

Guterman recently found himself looking for his own comeback. There’s plenty of advice about them, very little of which seems to come from empirical evidence. But, after much searching, he found the right answer, “What I needed was Tina Turner.” You might think she might not be a good model for some people, but Guterman thinks her career contains all the most important lessons.

1) Comebacks take a long time. It took Turner 9 years to get back into Billboard.

2) Comebacks don’t happen all at once. Turner experimented and refined, experimented and refined.

3) You can’t do it all by yourself. People who will accompany you through your comeback probably know you pretty well.

4) Be yourself, but be current. Private Dancer sounded like Tina Turner, but it was completely different, it wasn’t nostalgia.

Guterman isn’t Tina Turner, but he found the lessons of her story are something everyone can use. And if you do, you might be able to get away with looking like Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.