Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock and Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, her family said in a statement on Wednesday. ”With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model”.
The exact cause of death was not immediately available, though Turner had a stroke. She had battled intestinal cancer and a kidney transplant in recent years.
Tina Turner, the raspy-voiced fireball overcame domestic abuse and industry ambivalence to emerge as one of the rock and soul’s brassiest, and the most astonishing performer. She has always been inspirational and a role model for all others who have aspired to music as a career.
Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, Turner grew up in Nutbush, Tennessee, a rural and unincorporated area in Haywood County chronicled in her song, Nutbush City Limits. Her parents were well-to-do farmers, who lived well off the business of sharecropping, according to Turner. Still, Turner and her elder sister Ruby Aillene dealt with many issues when their parents left for their work elsewhere.
Turner mentioned in an interview, ”My mother and father didn’t love each other, so they were always fighting.” First, her mother left when she was 10 to live in St. Louis. Thereafter, Tina’s father left three years later. Then Turner relocated to Brownsville, Tennessee, to live with her grandmother.
After high school, Tina began working as a nurse’s aide in the hope of getting into that career. Frequently, she and her sister would go to nightclubs, where she first saw Ike Turner perform as a bandleader of Kings of Rhythm. The 18-year-old got admired by eight-year elder Ike and his group’s music.
One night, the drummer passed Turner the microphone while she was in the audience. Ike then invited Tina to be the group’s guest vocalist. Also, he instructed her on voice control and performance. Luckily, at such a young age, she sang alongside Carlson Oliver on Ike Turner’s ”Box Top”, which was her first studio recording.
Ike and Turner were unstoppable after that. They released their debut single, ”A Fool in Love.” It was an immediate success, reaching the Top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100. The following year, they released another hit single, ”It’s Gonna Work Out Fine,” which led to their first Grammy nomination for Best Rock and Roll Performance. They gave many hits and rocked the stage in the 1960s and 70s.
But, with the musical success, also came some pitfalls in Turner’s life. She was sexually abused by Ike to a great extent. After years of torture and suffering, she divorced him. Her split with Ike would leave the singer struggling and nearly destitute until the remarkable success of her fifth solo album Private Dancer, which revitalized her career. Released in the U.S. in May 1984 in the U.S., months after its lead single “Let’s Stay Together” made the UK Top 10 and hit No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.
She gave many hits that were number 1 on the Billboard. Also, she won many Grammies and other awards. In 1986, Turner met German music executive Erwin Bach, and the two became a couple soon. In 2013, Turner suffered from a stroke three weeks after her wedding and soon developed intestinal cancer. Later, one of her kidneys failed and Bach donated his kidney to Turner.
Turner is survived by her husband Erwin Bach. She was predeceased by sons Ron Turner and Craig Turner, and sister Alline Bullock. A private funeral ceremony is expected for family and close friends and family.
Indeed, she is a person to be remembered by all. Reflecting on how she connected to the audience, Turner once mentioned, ”My songs are a few everybody’s lives who are watching me. You gotta sing what they can relate to. And there are some raunchy people out there. The world is not perfect. And all of that is in my performance.”