Tina Turner, Resilient “Queen of Rock and Roll,” Dies at 83
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Tina Turner died. Her family said in a statement that she was a skilled rock and soul singer who came from a poor background and overcame a notoriously abusive marriage to become one of the most famous female artists of all time. She became 83.
Turner died Wednesday at her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.
Her family said, “With her passing, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”
“With her singing and her boundless love for life, she won over millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow. Today, we’re saying goodbye to a good friend who left us all with her music, which was her best work. We want her family to know how much we care about them. We will miss Tina very much,” said a post on her confirmed Facebook page.
Turner was a great live singer, and she and her controlling and violent husband Ike Turner had a string of R&B hits in the 1960s and early 1970s. When she left him, she ran out of their Dallas hotel room with only 36 cents.
Her solo business struggled for years until 1984, when she released “Private Dancer” and its No. 1 hit, “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”
Turner became a worldwide star quickly. She ruled MTV with her spiky wigs, short skirts, and famously long legs as she strutted across performance stages in 3-inch heels.
Her ability made her known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and her strength made her a role model for women who have been abused. With her husky, full-throated voice, she sang about pain and sadness, and every word rang true.
She told Harvard Business Review in 2021, “For a long time I felt like I was stranded, with no way out of the toxic position I was in. But after that, I encountered numerous individuals who inspired me. And as soon as I could clearly see myself, I started to transform, making room for confidence and boldness. After several years, I was finally able to fight for my life and make a fresh start.
‘He Knew I had Potential to be a Star’
Anna Mae Bullock was born to poor sharecropper parents near Nutbush, Tennessee, in 1939. Nutbush is a small town north of Memphis that became famous because of her personal song “Nutbush City Limits.” After her parents broke up, she lived with her grandma when she was young.
“We weren’t in poverty. The table was set with food. In a 2005 conversation with Oprah Winfrey, Turner said, “We just didn’t have fancy things like bicycles.”
“We went to church, so on Easter we dressed up. I was very young and didn’t know much about anything else. Turner said, “I knew what was on the radio—B.B. King, country and western. “Well, that’s it. I didn’t know what it meant to be a star until the white people let us come down once a week to watch their TV.
In the 1950s, Turner and her sister Ruby moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to live with their mother after their grandma died.
She started going to clubs in St. Louis, where she met Ike Turner, a musician whose band, Kings of Rhythm, was famous in the area. He asked her to sing with his band when she was 17 years old.
Ike had to visit the home and inquire with Ma about allowing me to join him in song. He was aware of my star potential. Turner remarked, “We were like brother and sister; we were close. “We’d drive about town on his free nights, and he’d tell me about his life and his dreams. He admitted to me that when he was younger, he wasn’t thought of as attractive. That pained him a lot. I was sorry for him. I promised Ike that I would never hurt him. I really did. Although he was very kind to me at the time, I did glimpse his other side.
She started out as Tina Turner, and the Ike & Tina Turner Revue was established in 1960. In the same year that their son Ronnie was born, their bond grew. Craig, Tina’s son from a former relationship, and two children from Ike’s past marriages were among the four children they raised after getting married in 1962.
A Brutal Union
Turner has said in interviews and her book that the physical abuse started almost right away.
She said that Ike Turner had thin skin and was easily angered. She also said that he would hit her with anything he could get his hands on, including coat hangers, phones, a wooden shoe stretcher, and his fists.
She said that he would sometimes beat her right before they went onstage.
“He would always hit me in the ribs and try to give me a black eye. He wanted people to see how bad he was. Turner told Winfrey, “That was the shameful part.”
Tina sang lead on most of their songs with the help of female backup singers, while her husband played guitar in the background. Their collaboration led to a number of R&B hits, such as “A Fool in Love,” “Nutbush City Limits,” and “Proud Mary,” a Creedence Clearwater Revival song that they covered in 1971 and which made No. 4 on the pop charts and won them a Grammy.
But their marriage stayed rocky when they weren’t on stage. Ike Turner’s cocaine use made things worse.
“Another night, we fought in the dressing room, and my face was swollen when I went onstage,” she told Winfrey. “I think I broke my nose because blood was pouring out of my mouth when I sang. Before, I’d been able to hide under makeup. But growth can’t be hidden.”
She stayed with Ike Turner for more than ten years because she was afraid of his anger and didn’t want to leave him like other people had.
But in July 1976, when they flew to Dallas for a show, things came to a head. Turner wrote in her book that her husband started hitting her in the car on the way to their hotel after a flight. She slipped out of their room while he was sleeping. All she had with her was a Mobil credit card and 36 cents, or “a quarter, a dime, and a penny.”
She ran across a busy highway to a hotel. When the clerk saw her bloody face, he felt sorry for her and gave her a room. She then called a lawyer she knew, who set up for a friend to pick her up and fly her back to Los Angeles.
“My heart was in my ears when my plane touched down in California. She told Oprah, “I was afraid Ike would be there because the last time I left, he found me on a bus.” “So when I got off that plane, I ran like crazy. I told myself, “If he’s here, I’ll scream until the police come.” “I will die before I go back,” I kept saying over and over in my head.”
Her Rise to International Fame
By that time, Turner had been exposed to Buddhism and its practice of chanting by a friend, which she said gave her the courage to leave her husband. Turner was raised as a Baptist, but when she got to middle age, she became a Buddhist and said that its lessons changed her life.
She told Harvard Business Review, “I learned that any success comes from a change on the inside.” “The more I learned about Buddhist principles, the more I looked inside myself and changed any attitudes or habits that were holding me back.”
After a long court fight, she and Ike got a divorce in 1978. She said in her book that he kept most of the money and property they had made together while she took care of their four boys. The split almost broke her financially, so she worked on TV specials and in Las Vegas for the next few years as she tried to rebuild her career.
After she hired Australian manager Roger Davies in 1979, her comeback began to pick up speed. Rod Stewart asked her to sing “Hot Legs” with him on “Saturday Night Live” two years later, and in 1983, her version of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” was a hit in England.
Then came “Private Dancer,” which gave her three Top 10 hits, won her three Grammys, and finally sold more than 10 million copies. Even though she didn’t like the song at first and had to be convinced to record it, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” made her the oldest female artist to have a No. 1 hit, at age 44.
She co-starred in Mel Gibson’s post-apocalyptic film “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” co-wrote the song “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” and performed with Mick Jagger at the historic Live Aid concerts all in 1985, when she was at the height of her powers. She also sang on the all-star charity single “We Are the World,” co-wrote the song “We Are the World,” and performed with Mick Jagger at the historic Live Aid concerts.
The next year, Turner wrote the best-selling memoir “I, Tina,” which was later made into the smash 1993 movie “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” starring Angela Bassett. In it, Turner detailed her abusive marriage and early career.
Through the late 1980s and early 1990s, Turner continued to release successful albums, singles, and sell-out concerts. He also maintained his popularity as a live performer well into the new millennium, particularly in England.
In the 1990s, Turner relocated to Switzerland with her German partner Erwin Bach, a record label executive. 16 years less than her. After 27 years of dating, the couple was married in 2013 and in 2022 they purchased a $76 million mansion on Lake Zurich.
I pay taxes in this country (the US). She said to CNN’s Larry King in 1997, “My family is here. “I left America since my boyfriend and my (greatest) success were both in foreign countries. My music has received a lot of support from Europe.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted Ike and Tina Turner in 1991, and she was inducted as a solo artist in 2021. In 2018, “Tina,” a Broadway musical based on her life story, debuted.
Turner was predeceased by her two sons, Craig, who passed away in 2018, and Ronnie, who passed away in 2022.
In 2021, she admitted on NBC’s Today Show, “Some of the happiest moments in my life were the birth of my beautiful baby boys, Craig and Ronnie, and marrying my partner and soul mate, Erwin Bach.”
She claimed that her favorite times as a professional were when she was on stage.
She told NBC that one of her early career ambitions was to become the first Black woman to sell out stadiums all around the world. It appeared to be impossible at the time. But I persisted, and I’m overjoyed that I was able to realize my dream.