Remembering the Iconic Tina Turner: A Legend’s Life and Legacy
Tina Turner, one of the greatest icons of rock and soul music, passed away on May 24, 2023, at the age of 83. With a seven-decade musical legacy, Turner paved the way for other divas like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse, Jazmine Sullivan, and Annie Lennox. Her representative announced her peaceful passing after a long illness at her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. Turner's family released a statement, saying, “With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.” Although the cause of death was not immediately available, Turner had a stroke and battled both kidney failure and intestinal cancer in recent years.
Turner was known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n Roll.” She achieved critical and commercial success as part of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. The duo was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and two of their singles, “River Deep — Mountain High” and “Proud Mary,” entered the Grammy Hall of Fame. However, Turner's personal life was marred by her abusive relationship with Ike Turner. Tina attempted suicide in 1968, and she finally left Ike in 1976 after they got into a violent altercation in a car in Dallas, with Tina fleeing the scene with only 36 cents in her pocket.
After the divorce, many industry pundits (and Ike himself) believed her career was over. But Tina orchestrated one of the most spectacular comebacks in pop history. She split from Ike both personally and professionally and achieved even more greatness as a solo artist. Her first release as Tina Turner was the 1960 song “A Fool in Love,” followed by hits like “I Idolize You,” “Poor Fool,” “Tra La La La La,” and “It's Gonna Work Out Fine.” Through constant touring and Chitlin' Circuit gigs, Turner quickly developed a reputation for being one of the most dynamic live acts in R&B.
Turner's life was not an easy one. Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee, she began singing in a Baptist church choir. Her childhood was not a happy one; at the age of 11, her mother left home in an effort to flee her abusive husband. Once Turner reached her teenage years, her father remarried and departed the state, leaving Turner and her sisters under the supervision of their grandmother. Two years had passed since then. Turner's harrowing 1986 memoir, “I, Tina,” in which she revealed ex-husband Ike Turner's 16-year reign of terror, her escape, and rise from economic ruin, sealed her most enduring role as an inadvertent activist.
Turner was not only known for her characteristic voice and performances but also for her insights about her life.
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1. “Tina Turner, Queen of Rock & Roll, Dead at 83” Rolling Stone, 24 May. 2023, https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/tina-turner-dead-obit-192002/
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3. “Tina Turner, Electrifying Entertainer and Feminist Hero, Dies at 83” Hollywood Reporter, 24 May. 2023, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/music-news/tina-turner-dead-electrifying-entertainer-feminist-hero-1235499856/
4. “Rock and soul icon Tina Turner dead at age 83” Yahoo Entertainment, 24 May. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/tina-turner-dead-at-age-83-210605484.html
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6. “Read Oprah's Statement on Tina Turner's Death” Oprah Mag, 24 May. 2023, https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/a43992779/tina-turner-died-oprah-statement/
7. “Tina Turner: legendary rock’n’roll singer dies aged 83” The Guardian, 25 May. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2023/may/24/tina-turner-legendary-rocknroll-singer-dies-aged-83
8. “Tina Turner Dead at 83 After ‘Long Illness'” PEOPLE, 24 May. 2023, https://people.com/music/tina-turner-dead/
9. “Live Updates: Celebrities react to the death of Tina Turner: ‘You were simply the best'” TODAY, 25 May. 2023, https://www.today.com/popculture/music/blog/tina-turner-death-live-updates-reactions-rcna86093