Home entertainment Tina Turner dies aged 83

Tina Turner dies aged 83

Tina Turner dies aged 83

Tina Turner, the American-born singer who left a hardscrabble farming community and abusive relationship to become one of the top recording artists of all time, died on Wednesday at the age of 83.

She died peacefully after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, her representative said.

Turnerbegan her career in the 1950s during the early years of rock and roll and evolved into an MTV phenomenon.

In the video for her chart-topping song What’s Love Got to Do with It,Turnerepitomised 1980s style as she strutted through New York City streets with her spiky blonde hair, wearing a cropped denim jacket, mini skirt, and stiletto heels.

With her taste for musical experimentation and bluntly-worded ballads,Turnergelled perfectly with a 1980s pop landscape in which music fans valued electronically-produced sounds and scorned hippie-era idealism.

Sometimes nicknamed the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,”Turnerwon six of her eight Grammy Awards in the 1980s. The decade saw her land a dozen songs on the Top 40, including Typical Male, The Best, Private Dancer and Better Be Good to Me. Her 1988 show in Rio de Janeiro drew 180,000 people, which remains one of the largest concert audiences for any single performer.

By then,Turnerhad been free from her marriage to guitarist IkeTurnerfor a decade.

The superstar was forthcoming about the abuse she suffered from her former husband during their marital and musical partnership in the 1960s and 1970s. She described bruised eyes, busted lips, a broken jaw and other injuries that repeatedly sent her to the emergency room.

“Tina’s story is not one of victimhood but one of incredible triumph,” singer Janet Jackson wrote about Turnerin a Rolling Stone issue that placedTurnerat Number 63 on a list of the top 100 artists of all time.

“She’s transformed herself into an international sensation – an elegant powerhouse,” Jackson said.

In 1985,Turnergave a fictional turn to her reputation as a survivor. She played the ruthless leader of an outpost in a nuclear wasteland, acting opposite Mel Gibson in the third instalment in the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Most ofTurner’s hit songs were written by others, but she enlivened them with a voice that New York Times music critic Jon Pareles called “one of the more peculiar instruments in pop”.

“It’s three-tiered, with a nasal low register, a yowling, cutting middle range and a high register so startlingly clear it sounds like a falsetto,” Pareles wrote in a 1987 concert review.

‘One-horse town’

She was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in the rural Tennessee community of Nutbush, which she described in her 1973 song Nutbush City Limits as a “quiet little old community, a one-horse town”.

Her father worked as an overseer on a farm and her mother left the family when the singer was 11, according to the singer’s 2018 memoir My Love Story. As a teenager, she moved to St Louis to rejoin her mom.

IkeTurner, whose 1951 song Rocket 88 has often been called the first rock and roll record, discovered her at 17 when she grabbed the mic to sing at his club show in St Louis in 1957.

The band leader later recorded a hit song, A Fool In Love, with his protégé and gave her the stage nameTinaTurner, before the two married in Tijuana, Mexico.

Tinaemployed her strong voice and strenuously rehearsed dance routines as lead vocalist in an ensemble called the Ike andTinaTurnerRevue. She collaborated with members of rock royalty, including The Who and Phil Spector, in the 1960s and 1970s and appeared on the cover of issue two of Rolling Stone Magazine in 1967.

Ike andTinaTurnerbounced between record labels, owing much of their commercial success to a relentless touring schedule. Their biggest hit was a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary.

Turnerleft her husband one night in 1976 on a tour stop in Dallas, after he pummelled her during a car journey and she struck back, according to her memoir. Their divorce was finalised in 1978.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted Ike andTinaTurnerin 1991, calling them “one of the most formidable live acts in history”. IkeTurnerdied in 2007.

Europe bound

After leaving her husband,Turnerspent years struggling to regain the limelight, releasing solo albums and singles that flopped and gigging at corporate conferences.

In 1980, she met new manager Roger Davies, an Australian music executive who went on to manage her for three decades. That led to a solo number 1 – What’s Love Got to Do With It – and then in 1984 her album Private Dancer landed her at the top of the charts.

Private Dancer went on to becomeTurner’s biggest album, the capstone of a career that saw her sell more than 200 million records in total.

In 1985Turnermet German music executive Erwin Bach who became her long-term partner and in 1988 she moved to London, beginning a decades-long residency in Europe. She released two studio albums in the 1990s that sold well, especially in Europe, recorded the theme song for 1995 Bond film GoldenEye, and staged a successful world tour in 2008 and 2009.

After that, she retired from show business. She married Bach, relinquishing her US citizenship and becoming a Swiss citizen.

She battled a number of health problems after retiring and in 2018 she faced a family tragedy, when her oldest son, Craig, took his life aged 59 in Los Angeles. Her younger son Ronnie died in December 2022.

Her name continues to draw audiences years after her retirement. TINA: TheTinaTurnerMusical, with Adrienne Warren initially acting and singing the star’s life story, was a hit first in London’s West End in 2018, and later on Broadway, and is still running. In 2021, HBO released a documentary about her life, Tina.

She is survived by Bach and two sons of Ike’s whom she adopted.