The life and legacy of Tina Turner: The ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ who died at 83

The life and legacy of Tina Turner The ‘Queen of Rock ‘n Roll who died at 83

Tina Turner, the legendary singer who conquered the music world with her soulful voice and electrifying stage presence, has passed away at 83 years old.

Turner had been battling various health problems for years, including cancer, a stroke and kidney failure.

She started her musical journey with her husband Ike in the 1960s, delivering hits such as Proud Mary and River Deep, Mountain High.

She left the violent and controlling Ike in 1978, and reinvented herself as a solo star in the 1980s.

She became one of the biggest pop and rock icons of that era, with songs like Let’s Stay Together, Private Dancer, What’s Love Got to Do With It and The Best.

Turner was known for her sensual and energetic performances, her distinctive and powerful voice, and her resilience and courage.

She won eight Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame twice – once with Ike Turner in 1991, and once as a solo artist in 2021.

The Hall of Fame praised her for “expanding the once-limited idea of how a Black woman could conquer a stage and be both a powerhouse and a multidimensional being”.

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She influenced many younger artists, such as Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Janelle Monae and Rihanna.

Turner’s manager of 30 years, Roger Davies, said in a statement that “Tina was a unique and remarkable force of nature with her strength, incredible energy and immense talent”.

“From the first day I met her in 1980, she believed in herself completely when few others did at that time… I will miss her deeply,” he added.

Many celebrities and fans paid tribute to Turner on social media, including President Joe Biden, Sir Mick Jagger, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Questlove, Diana Ross, Brian Wilson and more.

Sir Elton John, who had a rocky relationship with Turner when they tried to collaborate in 1997, said she was one of the world’s “most exciting and electric performers”.

Actress Viola Davis hailed Turner as “our first symbol of excellence and unbridled ownership of sexuality!!”

Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on 26 November 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee. She grew up in a poor farming family and sang in the church choir as a child.

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She moved to St Louis as a teenager and joined Ike’s band The Kings of Rhythm as a backup singer. She soon became the lead singer after impressing Ike with her rendition of BB King’s You Know I Love You.

Ike changed her name to Tina Turner without her consent and trademarked it in case she left him. He also abused her physically and emotionally for years.

She recalled the trauma she endured in her 2018 memoir My Love Story: “He used my nose as a punching bag so many times that I could taste blood running down my throat when I sang.”

She finally escaped from Ike in 1976 after a violent fight. She had to rebuild her career from scratch as a solo artist.

She struggled at first but eventually achieved global fame and success with her 1984 album Private Dancer. She sold over 200 million records worldwide.

She also acted in movies such as Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) and Tommy (1975).

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She found love again with Erwin Bach, a German music executive. They started dating in the mid-80s and married in 2013.

They lived in Switzerland, where Turner became a citizen. Bach donated one of his kidneys to Turner in 2017 when she needed a transplant.

She also faced tragedy with the death of her eldest son Craig by suicide in 2018. His father was Raymond Hill, one of Ike’s bandmates.

Another son, Ronnie, whose father was Ike Turner, died in 2022. She also had two adopted sons, Ike Jr and Michael, Ike’s children from another relationship.

Turner’s life story inspired a 1993 biopic titled What’s Love Got To Do With It starring Angela Bassett; a hit stage musical called Tina: The Musical; and an HBO documentary titled Tina in 2021.

In an interview with Marie Claire South Africa in 2018, Turner said: “People think my life has been tough, but I think it’s been a wonderful journey. The older you get, the more you realise it’s not what happened, it’s how you deal with it.”

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