Tina Turner, Rock Legend Dies at 83

Tina Turner, singer and actress, has died at the age of 83 at her home in Switzerland, it was announced on May 24th. The singer of hits like Simply The Best and What’s Love Got to Do With It overcame poverty and hardship to become one of the world’s greatest entertainment stars.

Singer Beyoncé paid tribute to her as the “epitome of passion and power”, and other stars including Elton John, Mick Jagger, Mariah Carey and Oprah Winfrey praised her for overcoming domestic abuse as the Obamas put it “singing her truth through joy and pain”.

US President Joe Biden pointed out that Tina Turner, born Annie Mae Bullock in 1939, had started life as a farmer’s daughter. He saluted her “once-in-a-generation talent”.

Born in Tennessee to a church-going family, Annie Mae broke into the rock’n’roll scene with Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm band in the 1960s, later marrying the frontman. But though the act was successful, working with Phil Spector and having hits including River Deep, Mountain High and Nutbush City Limits, the marriage was abusive and Tina divorced Ike in 1978.

Tina’s career faltered with failed attempts at the disco market and controversial appearances in South Africa, but she made a remarkable comeback in the 1980s, singing with Rod Stewart and with an album produced by the BEF.

Following the surprise success of a single, Let’s Stay Together in 1983, Capitol Records released studdio album Private Dancer in 1984. It reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 in the United Kingdom, was 5× Platinum in the United States, and sold 10 million copies worldwide, becoming her most successful album.


Her comeback continued when she traveled to Australia to star opposite Mel Gibson in the 1985 post-apocalyptic film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. The movie provided her with her first acting role in ten years; she portrayed the glamorous Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown.

Tina Turner crowned her comeback when she won three Grammys at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Award for Record of the Year for What’s Love Got to Do with It. In February 1985, she embarked on her second world tour to support the Private Dancer album. Two nights were filmed at Birmingham, England’s NEC Arena and later released as a concert on home video. During this time, she also contributed vocals to the USA for Africa benefit song “We Are the World”.

In 1993, the semi-autobiographical film What’s Love Got to Do with It was released, starring Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence Fishburne as Ike Turner; they received Best Actress and Best Actor Oscar nominations for their roles.

At a July 2000 concert in Zürich, Switzerland, Turner announced that she would retire at the end of the tour.

In October 2021, Tina Turner sold her music rights to BMG Rights Management for an estimated $50 million, with Warner Music still handling distribution of her music. Later that month, Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, accepting her award via satellite from her home near Zurich, Switzerland.

In tributes after the announcement of Tina Turner’s death, Sir Elton John called Turner a “total legend on record and on stage”, and charity Women’s Aid was among those to quote one of Turner’s songs, saying: “She will always be simply the best.” Singer Mariah Carey called Turner not only an “incredible performer” but also a “survivor and an inspiration to women everywhere”.

SIMPLE THE BEST: Tina Turner, the queen of rock and roll has died, aged 83. Leave your own personal tribute here.

See also: Is Hannah Waddingham the Real Winner of Eurovision?

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