I am heartbroken. Rhonda was my dear friend and confidant. She believed in me before anyone else did and I will sorely miss her kind heart, humor and wise counsel. I will forever cherish her friendship.

Rest in Peace.


It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Tina Turner’s long time assistant and friend Miss Rhonda Graam yesterday in Los Angeles .

Always present in the back of Tina whenever she was working, she was a devoted assistant and a faithful confidant who saw and knew everything…

Like Roger Davies and Erwin Bach she was an invisible pillar to Tina’s career, someone she could always rely on without worries.

Rhonda started working for Ike and Tina as a fan back in 1964. After the separation, she would keep on working for Tina as her road manager from 1976 to 1983 and then as her personal assistant until Tina’s retirement in 2009.

Miss Graam shortly contributed to Ike and Tina’s musical career, writing the song Doo Wah Ditty (Got To Get Ta), a B-side to the Up In Heah vinyl released in 1972. She is also credited for recording the sound of the motorcycle heard at the beginning of the song Chopper released that same year.

Rhonda and Tina’s friendship culminated during Tina and Erwin’s wedding in 2013 when Rhonda took the role of maid of honor. Their strong bond and unbreakable relationship would be ultimately immortalized and brought to the stage in TINA, The Musical .

I had the chance to meet Miss Graam a few years ago during the TINA Heritage Days in Nutbush. I have to say I really wanted this to happen but somehow I didn’t dare asking any questions or being too intrusive.

At the time, rumors about Tina’s health were running wild and it would have been inappropriate to ask. But still, when we got introduced she seemed to know who I was and greeted me with a ‘nice job with the blog‘ which made me pretty happy.

One of the highlight of my ‘fan life’ is also from that weekend in Nutbush with Rhonda when she took Donovan and myself on a private tour of Nutbush and the area.

Spending that hour with her in that car, talking about various Tina trivia stuff (that’s bulls***) was surreal to me, it felt like a full circle moment to be there with her at that time. A memory I will forever cherish.

My most sincere and deepest condolences to Miss Graam’s family and to Tina.

41 Replies to “Rhonda Graam (1944-2021)”

  1. She was fun and easy to talk to – like you, I felt fortunate to have been able to visit with her during a couple of visits to Tina Turner Heritage Days in Brownsville. She will be missed by so many people. Thank you for your touching tribute, Ben

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry to learn of Rhonda’s death. She was a dear friend and steady presence for Tina in both the best and worst of times. May she know eternal peace.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Bom emuito triste perder os proximos verdadeiros.nos dias de hj ninguem mais sabe o que e tipo alma gemea.ter fe em quem esta proximo.meu amor mais proximo agora e sempre sera deus.e a lembranca.e tina meus pesames.adoro vc .suas musicas vc e demais .nossa jornada sempre tem um proposito.


    1. Its very sad I had just heard that Rhonda was still alive from another Ike & Tina alum. And was goig to get in touch with her, we both were part of the Ike & Tina Revue family . I HOPE everyone knows we lost some very important to us. So sorry Ann, best wishes from Herb Sadler (Guitarist) for Ike & Tina thru the years


  3. Rhonda Graam was a pillar in Tina’s life. She was a safe haven and place to share your dreams and aspirations. A true friend indeed and a sister-from-another-mother that experienced life’s great valleys and highest mountains. I hope she knew, how much we appreciated her steady hand and loving heart for Tina and we are eternally grateful. Rest In Peace and love is eternal.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful Ben and what a sad loss to Tina, Erwin, their family and our Tina family. How I loved and appreciated Rhonda’s many trips to TTHD and the opportunities to talk with her and learn more about her and find out that she lived near my cousins in CA and actually sort of knew them. I loved and so appreciated the deep love and friendship that she and Tina shared for so many years – Rhonda’s devotion to Tina was to be so admired and I know will forever be cherished and missed by Tina. My deepest and most heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Tina and Erwin and may Rhonda RIP and know she will be forever loved and missed by all.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Merci Rhonda pour tout le travail effectué auprès de Tina🌷🌷Sincèrement merci🌹🌸🌸🌸On ne vous oublie pas🍁🍁🍁The best🌼🌻🌺🌾🌼

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great blog and tribute. Sad to hear of the passing of Rhonda. Time is precious. Love to Rhonda’s family and especially, the GOAT! TINA ❤️❤️


  7. That’s what true friendship was and nothing can take the shared memories away. Rhonda and Tina, there’s only a few people fortunate enough able to say they had a true friend, that was the case for both of you and, Tina, you’ll will keep all the good memories, love you,



  8. My thoughts and prayers go out to Tina.
    Such a true friend is never really gone, just look into you heart and you will find her there.
    Rest In Peace Rhonda.
    Thank you Ben for such a touching tribute to a very important and close long time friend to the Queen of Rock and Roll.
    I was just mounting my limited edition 40th an. Blue album in a frame as this blog came across.
    Take care Tina, and thanks again Ben.


  9. Sorry to hear about her passing. Her mom was one of my students in my line dance class years ago. She would always talk about how happy she was about her with Tina. Rose was her mom once showed me an outfit that was in her car that belonged to Tina. May she rest in peace. My condolences to her family.

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. My condolences to all her family and friends. Imagine what kind of book she could’ve written. Traveling being involved since 64 who could a played her. Just another perspective to feast upon. Her witness to just the whole changing times, racial, civil rights women rights. Like reinforcing an already legendary story. May she Rest In Peace. Maybe her job was done and she was called home the true home.


  12. I never knew Rhonda Graam. but when I listened to her interview I felt as if I had known her all my life! What a solid lady she was and after spending all those years with Tina became closer than anyone. I know she will be missed by Tina.


  13. So I guess you can say that the role of Jackie in “What’s Love Got Ti Do W/ It” was loosely based on Ms. Graam, huh?
    We know Jackie from the movie, wasn’t a real person, but that they had to have based the character on someone in Tina’s life. Plus she was Tina’s maid of honor when she wed Erwin.
    I’m happy Tina had a friend like her who was so trustworthy & knew what the word friend entailed.
    So sorry for Rhonda’s family, Tina & Erwin’s loss.


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