Northern Ireland

Tina Turner: Music icon slammed ‘idiot’ loyalist paramilitaries for hateful reworking of ‘Simply the Best’

Singer Tina Turner passed away this week at the age of 83. (PA)
Singer Tina Turner passed away this week at the age of 83. (PA)

TINA Turner’s smash hit ‘Simply the Best’ has become one of the most famous pop songs in history, but in 2011 the music icon was “horrified” to learn a loyalist paramilitary group tried to claim it as their anthem.

In a bid to glorify their gangsterism, the UDA’s notorious Shankill Road C Company had adopted the song and reworked the lyrics to ‘You’re simply the best, Second battalion of the UFF’.

In one famous example in 2011, around 5,000 people had gathered on the Shankill Road for a festival of Protestant culture organised by the UDA.

As the song played out, UDA commander Johnny Adair and mass murderer Michael Stone walked on stage with clenched fists and were followed by masked UDA men who fired shots into the air to loud applause.

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UDA commander Johnny Adair.
UDA commander Johnny Adair.

At the time, the singer’s London publicist said she was aware of how her song was being used.

"Tina condemns this absolutely," they said, adding that the lyrics were about her love for her partner and not “a bunch of idiots who want to boast about how good they are at killing innocent people.”

"These fools have grabbed it and are abusing it in a way she finds utterly abhorrent"

Although she was unable to take legal action at the time, the publicist added: "It’s a lovely song, when it’s played in the way it was written — and to turn it into a parody of hate is ridiculous."