Iconic songwriter and performer Tina Turner has passed away following a long-term illness. Turner’s publicist confirmed the news to the PA News Agency. She was 83.
Turner’s family also confirmed the news to Rolling Stone, adding in a statement, “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 Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”
Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in Brownsville, Tenn. in 1939 to a family of sharecroppers. Her childhood was tumultuous, being sent to live with her grandmother after her parents split up. Still, music was present early in Turner’s life, singing in the church choir. After her grandmother passed away, Turner was sent to live with her mother in St. Louis, Mo. It was there that she and her sister began to explore the city's nightclubs and became acquainted with musician Ike Turner and his band Kings of Rhythm.
Tina had requested an audition for Ike’s band, but after not getting a response she seized the microphone from the drummer at one of the band’s shows. Her performance impressed Ike and she became a featured vocalist with the group. She and Ike became close collaborators. Ike helped her record under her initial alias Little Ann before later changing her name to Tina Turner.
Quickly they began performing as the duo Ike & Tina Turner Revue – later shortening it to just Ike & Tina Turner – and were married in 1962. Their 1970 album Workin’ Together was a runaway success and saw the duo venturing into rock n’ roll music. The couple would eventually officially divorce in 1978 following a documented tumultuous relationship.
Tina Turner released her first solo album in 1974 with Tina Turns the Country On!. While the album was not a runaway hit, it set her up for a storied career that would spawn numerous hit records. Her 1984 album Private Dancer was labeled her “comeback album” and spawned numerous hits, including the title track, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” and “Better Be Good To Me.” “What’s Love Got To Do With It” went to number one on the Billboard charts.
From there, her career only took off further. Through the course of her life, she would sell over 100 million records, making her one of the best-selling artists of all time. She won 12 Grammy Awards, including both a Hall of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. First in 1991 with Ike & Tina Turner and then again in 2021 as a solo artist. In 1988, she held the Guinness World Record for the largest paying audience as a solo performer with a crowd of 180,000 people.
Turner also had a career as an actress, appearing in 1975’s Tommy, 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and 1993’s Last Action Hero. In 1993, Angela Basset portrayed Turner in the film What’s Love Got to Do With It, based on Turner’s autobiography I, Tina.
Turner’s legacy is staggering. A monumental performer and vocalist, she has left an unimpeachable mark on pop culture and music at large. A towering figure in rock and roll, Turner more than earned her title as the genre’s queen. Join us in remembering her life by revisiting some of our favorite Tina Turner moments below.