It is impressive to see ‘Tiny’ Tina Arena’s vocal range and confidence as a performer in this episode of Young Talent Time from 1980.
Tina performs ‘Twist and Shout’ here. Written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns in 1961, it was made famous by the Isley Brothers and later The Beatles.
While the puppets that inexplicably appear as back-up singers, sounding like the Chipmunks, hint at the family audience demographic for the show, Tina’s vocal performance belies her young age (she was 12 at the time).
Performances like this are a good example of the experience the children received from being team members on the show. Tina herself called it an ‘extraordinary apprenticeship’ in an interview in 2017.
In an interview John Young likens it to a university course and pays tribute to the dedication and focus of the young performers, which is so evident here in Tina.
Today Tina is one of Australia’s highest-selling artists, having sold over 10 million records worldwide. She was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2015.
In 2011 she became the first Australian to be awarded a Knighthood of the French National Order of National Merit for her contribution to French culture. She was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2016.
This excerpt is from episode 80/13 which was broadcast on 19 April 1980.
Notes by Beth Taylor