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24 May 2023

Tina Turner, the ‘Queen Of Rock’n’Roll’, Dies Aged 83

Tina Turner singing with right hand on her stomach and left hand reaching pout
Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
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Tina Turner, one of rock’n’roll’s greatest voices and most charismatic performers, has died aged age of 83 after a long illness

In a statement on Wednesday night, a representative said: “Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock’n Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”

Turner was a pioneer – her raw, soulful vocals and blistering performances made her one of the biggest stars in the traditionally white and male world of rock’n’roll. After two decades of working with her abusive husband, Ike Turner (giving era-defining performances on River Deep, Mountain High, Proud Mary, Nutbush City Limits and many more), she went solo and became one of the defining pop icons of the 1980s with the album Private Dancer and massive hits including The Best, Steamy Windows and What’s Love Got To Do With It. Her life was chronicled in three memoirs, a biopic, a jukebox musical, and in 2021, the acclaimed documentary film, Tina.

Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on 26 November 1939 and raised in Nutbush, Tennessee, where she recalled picking cotton with her family as a child. As a young girl, Bullock sang in the church choir at Nutbush’s Spring Hill Baptist Church. Her talent shone through one night in 1957, when she attended a gig by Ike Turner’s Kings Of Rhythm in East St Louis and took the mic. Astounded, Turner asked the young girl if she knew any more songs, she did and a partnership that lasted until the couple split in 1976.

In those near-two decades, Turner developed a reputation as one of the greatest live acts on the planet and had a string of huge hit singles. But behind the success Ike was emotionally and physically abusive, as Tina revealed in her biography, I, Tina.

The 80s saw Turner return to become one of the biggest stars on the plant. Her 1984 multi-platinum album Private Dancer contained the massive hit What’s Love Got to Do with It, which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and became her first and only No 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100. Her chart success continued with Private Dancer, We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome),The Best, I Don’t Wanna Fight, and GoldenEye. During her Break Every Rule World Tour in 1988, she set a then-Guinness World Record for the largest paying audience (180,000) for a solo performer.

Turner also acted in the films Tommy (1975) and Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome (1985). In 1993, What’s Love Got to Do with It, a biographical film was released. In 2009, Turner retired after completing her Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour, which was the 15th highest-grossing tour of the 2000s. In 2018, she became the subject of the enormously successful jukebox musical Tina.

She had suffered ill health in recent years, being diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 2016 and having a kidney transplant in 2017. In 2021, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, 30 years after Ike and Tina Turner’s induction.

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