Tina Turner, an 83-year-old American singer who came from a farming community and an abusive marriage, died on Wednesday.
After a long illness, she died peacefully in her home in Küsnacht, near Zurich, according to her representative.
Turner began her career in 1950s rock and roll and went on to become an MTV sensation.
Turner strutted through New York City streets in a cropped jean jacket, mini skirt, and stiletto heels in the video for her chart-topping song “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” in which she called love a “second-hand emotion.”
Turner’s musical experimentation and blunt ballads fit into a 1980s pop scene that valued electronic sounds and scorned hippie idealism.
Turner, known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” received six of her eight Grammy Awards in the 1980s. “Typical Male,” “The Best,” “Private Dancer,” and “Better Be Good to Me” were among her dozen Top 40 singles during the decade. Her Rio de Janeiro concert in 1988 drew 180,000 people.
Turner split up with guitarist Ike Turner a decade before.
Her ex-husband abused her in the 1960s and 1970s. She talked about bruised eyes, busted lips, a broken jaw, and other emergency room visits.
“Tina’s story is not one of victimhood, but of incredible triumph,” singer Janet Jackson wrote in a Rolling Stone issue that ranked Turner 63rd on the list of the top 100 artists of all time.
“She’s transformed herself into an international sensation – an elegant powerhouse,” Jackson said of the model.
In 1985, Turner fictionalized her survivor status. She portrayed the ruthless leader of a nuclear wasteland outpost opposite Mel Gibson in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.”
Turner’s voice was “one of the more peculiar instruments in pop,” according to New York Times music critic Jon Pareles.
Massive loss to community
“It’s three-tiered, with a nasal low register, a yowling, cutting middle range, and a high register that sounds startlingly clear like a falsetto,” Pareles wrote in a concert review in 1987.
Angela Bassett, who received an Academy Award nomination for her role as Turner in 1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” said she was “humbled to have helped show her to the world.”
“She gave us her whole self,” Bassett explained. “Tina Turner is a gift that will always be’simply the best.’”
The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger mourned Turner’s death, calling her “enormously talented.”
“She was inspiring, warm, funny, and generous,” Jagger said in a Twitter post. “She helped me so much when I was young, and I will never forget her.”
Bryan Adams, who worked with Turner on the 1985 single “It’s Only Love,” said that “the world just lost one hell of a powerhouse of a woman.”
Turner’s death was “a massive loss to the communities that loved her, and certainly to the music industry,” according to White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre. Her music lives on.”
On November 26, 1939, Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, which she described in her 1973 song “Nutbush City Limits” as a “quiet little old community, a one-horse town.”
Her father was a farm overseer, and her mother left when she was 11 years old, according to her memoir “My Love Story,” published in 2018. As a teenager, she moved to St. Louis with her mother.
Ike Turner discovered her singing at his St. Louis club show in 1957.
The bandleader gave his protégé the stage name Tina Turner and recorded “A Fool In Love” with her before marrying in Tijuana, Mexico.
Tina Turner directed the Ike and Tina Turner Revue with her powerful voice and demanding dance routines. She appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1967 and collaborated with rock royalty such as The Who and Phil Spector.
Despite switching record labels, Ike and Tina Turner became successful through touring. Their most popular cover was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary.”
Turner left her husband in Dallas in 1976 after he beat her in a car, according to her memoir. Their divorce happened in 1978.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Ike and Tina Turner in 1991 as “one of the most formidable live acts in history.” 2007. Ike Turner passed away.
Turner struggled to relaunch her career after her divorce, releasing unsuccessful solo albums and performing at corporate conferences.
In 1980, she met Australian music executive Roger Davies, who managed her for the next 30 years. The songs “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “Private Dancer” came next.
“Private Dancer” was Turner’s most successful album, capping a career that saw him sell over 200 million records.
After meeting German music executive Erwin Bach in 1985, Turner relocated to London in 1988. She sold well in Europe with two studio albums in the 1990s, recorded the theme song for the 1995 Bond film “GoldenEye,” and went on a successful world tour in 2008-2009.
She then left the entertainment industry. After marrying Bach, she became a Swiss citizen.
She struggled with health issues after retiring, and her oldest son, Craig, committed suicide in Los Angeles in 2018 at the age of 59. Ronnie passed away in December 2022.
Her name continues to draw attention even after she has retired. “TINA: The Tina Turner Musical,” starring Adrienne Warren, premiered in London’s West End and then on Broadway in 2018. “Tina” premiered on HBO in 2021.
Her adopted sons, Bach and Ike, survive her.
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