Tina Turner, the exuberant, heel-stomping, wild-haired rock goddess who sold out stadiums, won a dozen Grammy Awards and captivated fans worldwide for five decades, d!ed Wednesday at her home near Zurich after a long illness. She was aged 83.
“With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model,” Turner’s spokesman Bernard Doherty said. Doherty said close friends and relatives would attend a private funeral. De@th was unspecified.
Turner’s high-flying but troubled life inspired a 1986 autobiography, a Hollywood film, and a Broadway jukebox musical. She rose from rural beginnings to national popularity as one-half of the rhythm-and-blues combo Ike & Tina Turner and then as one of the world’s most successful Black female solo singers.
She was the first woman and Black musician to appear on Rolling Stone’s second cover, and her hugely successful solo career shattered barriers for future Black women in music. Turner had personal hardships. Her ex-husband and collaborator, Ike Turner, allegedly abused her for years and sought to control her life.
My connection with Ike made me miserable. I loved him first. He helped me. “But he was unpredictable,” Turner said in “I, Tina,” a book co-written by music critic and MTV News correspondent Kurt Loder. Turner divorced her spouse in the late 1970s. Turner had one of rock’s most remarkable comebacks in the 1980s, remaking herself as a joyfully unfettered hitmaker who topped the Billboard charts.
Turner’s 1984 hit “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” a show-stopping hymn, made her a celebrity. Turner’s other significant songs from the era were “Better Be Good to Me,” “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome),” “Typical Male,” “The Best,” and “I Don’t Wanna Fight.”
She traveled the world, won honors, and appeared in films in the following decades. She retired in 2009 following her 50th-anniversary tour. Turner told 75,000 people at Zurich’s Letzigrund Stadium that year, “I’ve done enough.” 44 years of performing. I should stop dancing.”
Turner won eight competitive Grammys, three Hall of Fame awards, and a Lifetime Achievement award. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice—first with Ike Turner (1991) and then solo (2021).
Tina Turner Early Life And Career
Sharecroppers raised Anna Mae Bullock in rural Brownsville, Tennessee, on November 26, 1939. Singing was her childhood passion. She joined the St. Louis R&B scene after the family relocated there.
At a mid-1950s Kings of Rhythm concert, she met Ike Turner. He named her Tina Turner, and she joined the group. The Ike and Tina Turner Revue was noted for its colorful performances. Tina’s singing, dancing, and energy stole the show from Ike, a great guitarist.
“A Fool in Love” hit the pop charts in 1960 and made the revue famous. Two years later, Ike and Tina married and recorded numerous hits. “Tina Turner is an incredible chick,” Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner remarked in 1967. She wears a short miniskirt covered with silver sequins and sparkles. She dances freely.
“Unlike the polite hand-clapping Motown groups, she and the Ikettes scream, wail, and do some fantastic boogaloo,” the reporter added. “No matter what you may think of the music, Tina Turner is worth sitting down and paying close attention to.”
However, the Turners’ marriage was in turmoil. Ike, who battled drugs and mental illness, often abused his wife. He had extramarital relationships. Years of maltreatment took a toll, and she decided enough was enough. After fighting with Ike on the way to the Dallas Statler Hilton on July 1, 1976, she departed with 36 cents and a Mobil credit card.
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She divorced in 1978, citing irreconcilable reasons. (Ike claimed in their 1977 divorce that they were never legally married since he was married to another lady at the time of the ceremony.)
Turner struggled for years. 1981 she opened for the Rolling Stones and made guest appearances on “The Hollywood Squares” to pay off debts. Turner was a great “nostalgia act” from the 1960s. “Private Dancer” revolutionized everything in 1984.
“What’s Love Got to Do With It” won three Grammys, including Record of the Year and best female vocal performance, and sold over 20 million copies worldwide. Turner’s new look—big hair, high heels—emphasized her se*iness.
Turner’s enthusiastic theatricality, powerful voice, and dominating stage presence lit up 1980s concerts. She reached new creative heights despite racist record execs trying to stop her.
Pain And Survival
In the HBO documentary “Tina” (2021), she noted that many media focused on her previous abuse and ignored her second act as a powerhouse solo artist and inspiration to women worldwide.
“In not forgiving, you suffer,” she told the filmmakers. I was abused. You must accept it.”
The 1993 film “What’s Love Got to Do With It” depicted Turner’s tumultuous relationship with Ike. Laurence Fishburne played Ike, while Angela Bassett played Tina.
“How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world?” Bassett asked Wednesday.
Here is a tweet about Tina Turner, worried she put herself ‘in great danger’ before death. You can see below:
— New York Post (@nypost) May 25, 2023
“Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and others who look like her, Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like,” Bassett said.
The actual Turner married German record executive Erwin Bach in 2013 following a 27-year relationship. (Bach was an HBO documentary executive producer.) Turner’s 1985 film “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” followed his musical triumph. “Break Every Rule,” “Foreign Affair,” and “Wildest Dreams” were her successful albums in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The 2004 greatest-hits album “All the Best” Five years later, Turner retired from music and public engagements. 2018 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a solo act in 2021 after selling her music rights to BMG Rights Management for $50 million. Turner smiled in her victory speech, “If they’re still giving me awards at 81, I must’ve done something right.”
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