Legendary singer “died peacefully” Wednesday after a long illness
TINA TURNER, THE raspy-voiced fireball who overcame domestic abuse and industry ambivalence to emerge as one of rock and soul’s brassiest, most rousing and most inspirational performers, died Wednesday at age 83.
“Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock & Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland,” her family said in a statement Wednesday. “With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”
Starting with her performances with her ex-husband Ike, Turner injected an uninhibited, volcanic stage presence into pop. Even with choreographed backup singers — both with Ike and during her own career — Turner never seemed reined in. Her influence on rock, R&B, and soul singing and performance was also immeasurable. Her delivery influenced everyone from Mick Jagger to Mary J. Blige, and her high-energy stage presence (topped with an array of gravity-defying wigs) was passed down to Janet Jackson and Beyoncé. Turner’s message — one that resounded with generations of women — was that she could hold her own onstage against any man.
But Turner’s other legacy was more personal and involved a far more complex man. During her time with Ike — a demanding and often drug-addled bandleader and guitarist — Turner was often beaten and humiliated. Her subsequent rebirth, starting with her massively popular, Grammy-winning 1984 makeover Private Dancer, made her a symbol of survival and renewal.
Born Anna Mae Bullock on Nov. 26, 1939, Turner grew up in Nutbush, Tennessee, a rural and unincorporated area in Haywood County chronicled in her song “Nutbush City Limits.” According to Turner, her family were “well-to-do farmers” who lived well off the business of sharecropping. Still, Turner and her older sister Ruby Aillene dealt with abandonment issues when their parents left to work elsewhere.
“My mother and father didn’t love each other, so they were always fighting,” Turner recalled in a 1986 Rolling Stone interview. Her mother first left when Tina was 10 to live in St. Louis; her father left three years later. Turner relocated to Brownsville, Tennessee, to live with her grandmother.
Written by: JT