Tina Turner Passes Away At 83-Years-Old

We spent many Saturday nights dancing and singing to Motown and R&B 45s in our basement. “Proud Maria” by Ike and Tina Turner was one of my favorites. Tina Turner is my favorite of all time. I didn’t know who Creedence Clearwater Revival was. I used to pretend to dance Turner’s crazy and wonderful moves by wearing my mother’s slip and wearing one of her wigs. In 1970, she performed a shorter version of The Ed Sullivan Show. It was a groundbreaking move. If you remember Elvis Presley’s 1956 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show they had to film his gyrating thighs from the waist to get by the morality censors.

Turner’s voice and performance were electrifying. They didn’t cut anything.

I could relate to Turner as an adult. She was fighting for survival, for life itself, and for a career, she controlled and defined. Many people respond to powerful and unique voices in one of two ways: they either squelch or control them. Turner was able to do both. She found a way not only to unleash her voice but to allow it to create its own niche and inspire others to find their own voices. Turner represented it with her pitch-perfect voice, raw sexuality, and hard work. She also displayed unbridled passion, precision, and performance.

Turner was also a second act. After decades of performing, and an unhappy and violent marriage with Ike Turner, her long and storied music career didn’t reach its peak until she was in her mid-40s. Turner’s rise was like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. It represented empowerment, an overcomer’s spirit, and the gold standard to every artist or person who has ever been told “You’re done,” “Your life’s over” or “You won’t be enough.”

Turner’s star has now burned out. Tina Turner died on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. She was 83.

The Guardian:

Tina Turner has passed away after a long battle with cancer. She was 83 years old.

She was ill in the past, having been diagnosed with intestinal carcinoma in 2016 and undergoing a kidney donation in 2017.

Turner was a pioneer in the rock’n’roll movement, amplifying Black women’s role. Mick Jagger acknowledged that his stage persona is influenced by her energetic, high-kicking live performances. She spent two decades working with her abusive spouse, Ike, before striking out on her own and, after some false starts, becoming one of the most influential pop icons of the 1980s. Three memoirs, one biopic, one jukebox-musical, and the acclaimed documentary Tina, which will be released in 2021, chronicled her life.

Her publicist Bernard Doherty released a statement Wednesday night saying: “Tina Turner the Queen of Rock’n Roll died peacefully at age 83 today after a long sickness in her home near Zurich in Switzerland. The world has lost a musical legend and role model with her.

Tina Turner, born Anna Mae Bullock, was born in Nutbush Tennessee, on November 26, 1939. Like many Black families of the South, her family sharecropped cotton. Turner, like many Black artists of her time, began to develop her musical skills in the church choir. She eventually joined Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm.

Ike trademarked the name Tina Turner after her vocal talent became evident. He did this in case she decided to leave him and wanted to replace her with someone else in his act. He became abusive quickly: When Turner left the group after getting a sense of his volatile character, he was hit with a wooden foot stretcher.

Turner wrote that her relationship with Ike “was doomed” the moment he realized I would be his main source of income in her 2018 book My Love Story. “He had to control me economically and mentally so that I couldn’t leave him.”

It’s hard to imagine how painful it would be to experience this.

In July 1960 she made her recording debut with the Ike & Tina Turner song A Fool in Love, which broke into the US Top 30. This was the beginning of a successful chart run. Their live performances were what made them famous. Ike aggressively toured with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue on the Chitlin’ Circuit, including before desegregated crowds. Such was their commercial strength. They signed with Warner Bros’ Loma Records in 1964 and released their first charting album: Live! The Ike & Tina Turner Show.

The duo was courted by some of rock’s most famous names in the second half 60s. Phil Spector produced their 1966 single River Deep- Mountain High. They supported the Rolling Stones both in the UK and the US. Stars such as David Bowie and Cher, Elvis Presley, Elton John, Sly Stone, and Elvis Presley also came to the Las Vegas residency.

In the 1970s, they were a Grammy-winning and chart-topping force. This run ended when Turner, who was violent and unfaithful in his relationship with Ike, left him in 1976.

Turner’s escape from her marriage was just as dramatic as the stage performances she gave. Ike beat her in 1976 as they left Dallas Airport on the Fourth of Independence. Turner was able to fight back this time. Turner waited for Ike to fall asleep in a Dallas hotel. Turner and Ike both testified that Turner had been on cocaine for five days, so he crashed and crashed hard. Turner ran across Interstate 30 and into Ramada Inn, barely avoiding being run over by a car. Turner, wearing dark sunglasses to hide her swollen eyeballs and a bloodied suit, told the clerk she was in a fight with her husband. She asked for a hotel room. The clerk provided her with a safe haven. Apparently, the Ramada Hotel is now called the Lorenzo Hotel. Al DeBerry is the managing director of the Lorenzo. He said that once the building was sold in 2006, the entire structure was renovated. The lobby still has a large Tina Turner portrait.

Turner’s divorce in 1978 brought her only two cars and her stage name. She chose to use her stage name as her calling card. In a 2017 film, Turner stated: “That’s when I realized that I could make Tina a business.” She worked hard from there, partly out of necessity. Ike Turner saddled her, along with the four sons they raised, with the majority of the debt incurred by the Ike and Tina Turner Revue Tour that went awry. Turner was a star, performing on talk shows and making appearances, such as this one, on Cher’s show.

Turner continued to establish her position in Rock ‘N Roll despite the lackluster reception of seven albums. Private Dancer (1984), her fifth album, was the one to separate her from Ike and Tina Turner’s Revue and establish her as a brand. “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” spent three weeks in the No. 1 spot. The albums “Private Dancer” and “Better Be Good To Me” also reached the top of the charts. Tina Turner said in the 2017 documentary that Private Dancer was her debut, and not a return. “I didn’t think it was a comeback. ‘Tina’ had never arrived.”

This was the start of a trend that continued to grow. Turner was one of the few Black female artists to appear on the Rolling Stone Magazine cover for the first time in 1967. Turner graced the Rolling Stone cover seven times: 1969, 1971, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1997, with Courtney Love and Madonna. She was nominated for multiple awards and won eight Grammys. She also appeared in films such as The Who’s Tommy (1978) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). Turner sang “We Don’t Want Another Hero (Thunderdome)” as the title song. She also sang the theme to the 1995 Bond movie GoldenEye.

Turner announced her retirement from the music industry in 2000. This was a year after the release of her final solo album Twenty-Four Seven. She would return to the stage in 2008 to perform at the Grammy Awards with Beyonce and to celebrate her 50-year career.

Turner’s last concert of her tour took place on May 5, 2009. It was in Sheffield, England. Turner, unlike Cher and other artists, did not do any more “farewell tours”. Her voluminous life and career have been documented numerous times, including in her 1986 book, I, Tina, in which she credited her Buddhist religion and her practice of Chanting for helping her escape a marriage that was hellish and create a new one. The book, I, Tina, was adapted into the 1993 film What’s Love Got To Do With It, starring Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, and others.

Turner produced the documentary Tina in 2017, which provides more detail and paints a clearer portrait of Turner’s volatile and destructive marriage with Ike Turner, and her triumphant and unmatched return to the stage. Tina co-wrote the 2018 biography My Love Story and Tina, The Musical. The musical premiered in 2018, and it received 12 Tony Award nods. Adrienne Warren won both the Laurence Olivier Award and Tony for Best Actress for her role in the musical on Broadway and London’s West End.

Turner and Phyllida Loyd worked together on the musical Tina, which premiered in 2018 and received Laurence Olivier awards and Tony Awards for its respective West End Broadway run. Turner stated that the musical was not about his stardom. “It’s about my journey to get there,” Turner said. “I want the audience to know that they can turn poison into medicine.”

Erwin Bach is her second husband and is 17 years younger than Turner. Turner and Bach were married in 2013 after 27 years of being together. Turner also has Ike Turner’s sons, Ike Jr. and Michael. She adopted them as her own. Craig Raymond Turner died in 2018. Turner lost her son Ronnie in the year 2021. Turner told the Guardian that, despite her serious health issues (a battle with intestinal carcinoma in 2016 and a kidney transplant in 2017), her last 10 years had been a reflection of her ideal of happiness.

She said, “True happiness is a spirit of hope that shines through no matter what.” “I’ve reached that level of happiness, and my goal is to help others achieve it as well.”