Tina Turner, Magnetic Singer of Explosive Power, Is Dead at 83
Tina Turner, the earthshaking singer whose rasping vocals, sexual magnetism and explosive energy made her an unforgettable live performer and one of the most successful recording artists of all time, died on Wednesday at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, near Zurich. She was 83.
Her publicist Bernard Doherty announced the death in a statement but did not provide the cause. She had a stroke in recent years and was known to be struggling with a kidney disease and other illnesses.
Ms. Turner embarked on her half-century career in the late 1950s, while still attending high school, when she began singing with Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm. At first she was only an occasional performer, but she soon became the group’s star attraction — and Mr. Turner’s wife. With her potent, bluesy voice and her frenetic dancing style, she made an instant impression.
Their ensemble, soon renamed the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, became one of the premier touring soul acts in Black venues on the so-called chitlin’ circuit. After the Rolling Stones invited the group to open for them, first on a British tour in 1966 and then on an American tour in 1969, white listeners in both countries began paying attention.
Ms. Turner, who insisted on adding rock songs by the Beatles and the Stones to her repertoire, reached an enormous new audience, giving the Ike and Tina Turner Revue its first Top 10 hit with her version of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Proud Mary” in 1971 and a Grammy Award for best R&B vocal performance by a group.
“In the context of today’s show business, Tina Turner must be the most sensational professional onstage,” Ralph J. Gleason, the influential jazz and pop critic for The San Francisco Chronicle, wrote in a review of a Rolling Stones concert in Oakland in November 1969. “She comes on like a hurricane. She dances and twists and shakes and sings and the impact is instant and total.”
But if the Ike and Tina Turner Revue was a success, the Ike and Tina Turner marriage was not. Mr. Turner was abusive. After she escaped the marriage in her 30s, her career faltered. But her solo album “Private Dancer,” released in 1984, returned her to the spotlight — and lifted her into the pop stratosphere.
Working with younger songwriters, and backed by a smooth, synthesized sound that provided a lustrous wrapping for her raw, urgent vocals, she delivered three mammoth hits: the title song, written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits; “Better Be Good to Me”; and “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”
Tina Turner died of natural causes on Wednesday (24 May), it’s been confirmed.
“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,” her publicist said in a statement.
“With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”
The singer rose to prominence performing with her husband Ike Turner in the 1960s before overcoming his violent, abusive behaviour to go on to become a chart-topping solo artist.
Turner earned a legion of fans for her riveting live performances, and was best known for songs such as “Private Dancer”, “The Best”, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “Proud Mary”.
Born Anna Mae Bullock on 26 November, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee, Turner would go on to sell more than 180 million albums and won 12 Grammy Awards.
Turner was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 2016 and received a kidney transplant in 2017.
Stars of the entertainment world including Mick Jagger, Bryan Adams, Rosario Dawson, Paloma Faith and Naomi Campbell paid tribute to the iconic singer.