Remembering the Legacy of Tina Turner, the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll
Legendary rock and soul artist Tina Turner has passed away at the age of 83 after a long illness at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland. Her representative, Bernard Doherty, confirmed the news of her passing, stating that “with her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.” Turner, who was known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n' Roll,” was a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and one of the most popular artists in music history.
Born Anna Mae Bullock in rural Nutbush, Tennessee, on November 26, 1939, Turner began singing in a Baptist church choir. Her childhood was marked by her mother's departure when Turner was just 11 years old, leaving her and her sisters in the care of her grandmother. After her grandmother's death, Turner moved to St. Louis to rejoin her mother and began her career singing with Ike Turner's band.
Turner found fame with Ike as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue in the early 1960s and made her recorded debut with the single “A Fool in Love,” which broke the US Top 30 and started a run of chart success. But it was their live performances that made them a sensation, and they toured aggressively on the Chitlin' Circuit, including in front of desegregated audiences.
As soon as she solidified her act with Ike as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, Turner developed her signature style, a high-high-high hemline on a dress covered in dangling beads or flashy sequins. She took her fashion cues from showgirls and entranced audiences by never letting their eyes sit still.
Turner's success continued into the 1980s, where she became a pop behemoth with hits like “What's Love Got to Do With It” and “Private Dancer.” Her music and boundless passion for life enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired future stars.
After leaving Ike Turner in 1978, Tina Turner continued to make music and became a successful solo artist. Her life was chronicled in the 1993 feature film “What's Love Got to Do With It?” which starred Angela Bassett as Turner and earned Bassett a Best Actress Academy Award nomination.
In recent years, Turner had dealt with several health issues, including kidney disease. On World Kidney Day in March 2023, she posted on Instagram about her struggles with high blood pressure and the importance of treating it with conventional medicine.
Tina Turner is survived by her husband, Erwin Bach, and two of Ike Turner's sons that she adopted, Ike Turner Jr. and Michael Turner. Her first child, Craig Raymond Turner, died in July 2018, and her other son, Ronnie, predeceased her as well.
Tributes have poured in for Turner from across the globe, with Beyoncé paying tribute to the late artist. In her statement following Turner's death, Angela Bassett said, “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 for 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.”
Turner's life and indelible impact were chronicled in the 2021 documentary “Tina,” which was often forced to sustain simultaneous currents of awe and devastation as it chronicled both Turner's fiery debut on the public stage in the 1960s and the vicious abuse to which she was subjected by her then-husband and musical partner Ike Turner.
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