• World
  • May 25

‘Queen of rock ‘n’ roll’ Tina Turner dies at 83

• Tina Turner, the American-born singer who became one of the top recording artists of all time, passed away in Switzerland. She was 83.

• Turner began her career in the 1950s during the early years of rock ‘n’ roll and evolved into an MTV phenomenon.

• The eight-time Grammy winner lit up the stage from the 1960s onwards and won a new generation of fans in a stunning comeback after escaping her violent marriage, making her popular music’s ultimate survivor.

• She became a superstar on her own in her 40s, at a time when most of her peers were on their way down, and remained a top concert draw for years after.

She sold more than 200 million records

• Anna Mae Bullock was born on November 26, 1939, in Brownsville, Tennessee.

• Her father worked as an overseer on a farm and her mother left the family when the singer was 11 years old.

• As a teenager, she moved to St. Louis to rejoin her mom.

• Ike Turner discovered her when she was 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 protege and gave her the stage name Tina Turner, before the two married in Tijuana, Mexico.

• Tina Turner teamed with husband Ike Turner for a dynamic run of hit records and live shows in the 1960s and 70s and survived her horrifying marriage to triumph in middle age.

• Turner was among the first celebrities to speak candidly about domestic abuse, becoming a heroine to battered women and a symbol of resilience to all.

• In the video for her chart-topping song ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’, Turner epitomized 1980s style as she strutted through New York City streets.

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

• In 1984 her album ‘Private Dancer’ landed her at the top of the charts. ‘Private Dancer’ went on to become Turner’s biggest album, the capstone of a career in which she sold more than 200 million records in total.

• Sometimes nicknamed the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Turner won six of her eight Grammy Awards in the 1980s. In that decade she landed a dozen songs in 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.

• The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted Ike and Tina Turner in 1991, calling them “one of the most formidable live acts in history”. 

• In 1985 Turner met 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 movie ‘GoldenEye’, and staged a successful world tour in 2008 and 2009.

• After that, she retired from show business. 

• Her life became the basis for a film, a Broadway musical and an HBO documentary in 2021 that she called her public farewell.

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