Soul and rock powerhouse Tina Turner has died at the age of 83. Her death was announced in a statement on her official Facebook page but offered no specific details surrounding the cause. However, her memoir Tina Turner: My Love Story saw her open up about a variety of health issues she had dealt with over the past decade, including a stroke, intestinal cancer, and kidney failure. Her second husband, Erwin Bach, donated a kidney to Turner to save her life in 2017. Her loss is a significant one to the musical community. She heavily influenced today's slew of R&B and pop-rock artists.
Tina Turner's imprint can be found in the electric performances of artists such as Beyoncé. Featuring an unparalleled background setting and booming vocals, Beyoncé's live performances were a hallmark reason for her success on the streaming charts. However, that image of women's empowerment was heavily influenced by the performances of Tina Turner throughout the '70s to the '90s. At the 2005 Kennedy Center Awards, Beyoncé stated, "Every now and then, when I think of inspiration, I think of the two Tinas in my life - that's my mother, Tina, and of course, the amazing Tina Turner."
Tina Turner Proved She Could Do It Herself
As a young girl growing up in rural Tennessee, Tina Turner went by her birth name Anna Bullock. She would sing and recite movie dialogues to entertain her family on lousy Sunday afternoons. She was somewhat of a musical star in her town by the mere age of 5. As a teenager, she was a nurse's assistant and looked after small children. However, she knew that her career would lie beyond teaching and mentorship. By 20 years old, her burgeoning music career had kicked off with Ike Turner. The two superstar vocalists would become worldwide stars, a trend starting with the duet single "A Fool In Love" in 1960. The two would become one of the most formidable live acts in history, releasing other classics such as "Proud Mary" and "It's Gonna Work Out Fine." On the outside, life couldn't be any better for Tina Turner.
However, Ike Turner was abusing her behind the scenes. By 1976, Tina Turner had left the relationship. She famously fled her partner with nothing but a Mobil card and 36 cents in her pocket. In reflecting on her life through Happiness Becomes You, Tina Turner told HBR, "I used to be baffled about why I had to endure so much abuse because I hadn't done anything to deserve it. After I began practicing Buddhism, I realized that my hardships could give me a mission - a purpose. I saw that by overcoming my obstacles, I could build indestructible happiness and inspire others to do the same." Launching an iconic comeback throughout the 1980s, she proved that she could succeed without Ike behind the multi-platinum album Private Dancer.
She Won Eight Grammys Throughout Her Career
At 49 years old, Tina Turner was as big an artist as she'd ever been. Her Break Every Rule World Tour set the record for the largest paying audience of all time. She would seat over 180,000 people for one performance. Her malleable and versatile voice resonated with millions. She could pivot from a scathing rock growl to the soothing voice of the smoky blues on a dime, distinguishing her amongst the field of vocalists. In addition to her wide-ranging solo works, the Tennessee-born icon also made a name for herself as an astute cover artist. Interpreting bands from The Beatles to the Rolling Stones, she'd win her first Grammy for covering Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary." Turner would win eight Grammys, cementing her amongst the greats.
Her commercial success would go beyond the world of music. Diversifying her portfolio in the film world, she co-starred in the 1985 film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Additionally, Turner would go on to act in her biopic What's Love Got To Do With It. Turner has written various books that capture the chaos and meaning of her life. Ultimately, stories such as the 2020 memoir Happiness Becomes You encourage her audience to overcome obstacles and achieve happiness within. In her later years, she would turn to Buddhism to attain inner peace. Turner would perform her final tour, Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour in 2009 before retiring. Selling over 100 million records worldwide, Tina Turner is one of the most successful artists ever. Even more importantly, the Queen of Rock & Roll inspired a new generation of outspoken vocalists.