The legendary Tina Turner has died at age 83 “after a long illness” in her home with husband Erwin Bach in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, according to Deadline. In recent years, Turner had battled cancer, strokes, and kidney failure.
Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee, she was originally known for her high-octane performances with husband Ike Turner on such early hits as “A Fool In Love,” “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine,” the Phil Spector-produced “River Deep, Mountain High,” “Nutbush City Limits,” and the couple’s classic cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Proud Mary,” before divorcing Ike in 1976 after years of physical abuse.
Tina’s 1984 comeback album, Private Dancer, peaked at Number Three and has sold a whopping 12 million albums globally. The album featured her three-week chart-topper, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” which earned her Grammy Awards for Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year as well as a Best Female Pop Vocal.
“What’s Love Got To Do With It” went on to serve as the title to her 1993 biopic starring Angela Bassett — who won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Tina with Laurence Fishburne snagging the prize for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ike Turner.
Between 1984 and 1993, Tina Turner scored an additional 13 Top 40 singles, including the standouts “Let’s Stay Together” (#26),” “Better Be Good To Me” (#5), “Private Dancer” (#7), “We Don’t Need Another Hero” (#2), “It’s Only Love” – with Bryan Adams (#15), “Typical Male” (#2), “The Best” (#15), and “I Don’t Wanna Fight” (#9).
In recent years, Turner had retired from performing, received a kidney replacement, and was inducted the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.
John Fogerty posted a statement saying, “So deeply sad to hear about Tina Turner’s passing. I loved her version of ‘Proud Mary!’ It was different and fantastic. I was also so happy because she chose my song and it was her breakthrough record.”
Rolling Stone Ron Wood wrote: “God bless you Tina, the Queen Of Rock And Soul and a dear friend to our family. Love and prayers to all of Tina’s family, friends and loved ones.”
Brian Wilson posted: “I’m so sorry to hear about Tina Turner. I loved Tina and her voice and energy — she was one of the greats. ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ will always be one of my favorite songs. And nothing beats her version of ‘Proud Mary.’ I loved the musical Tina too. Love & mercy to Tina’s family, friends and fans.”
Mike Love wrote: “On New Year’s Eve 1961 we performed a few songs in Long Beach at a Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance and Show. On the bill with us that night was Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm featuring The Ikettes. Tina Turner, born Anna Mae Bullock, was an Ikette. I have never forgotten the way she sounded when she sang ‘I’m Blue’ that night. She was amazing that night and she only got better! She rose above adversity to become enormously successful and was a tremendous inspiration to so many millions of us. She gave us so much and I am one of many who are saddened by the loss of a force of nature. Tina Turner you will always be the Greatest of All Time. Rest in your Glory, Mike Love”
Bryan Adams wrote: “My condolences to Erwin and Tina’s family. I’ll be forever grateful for the time we spent together on tour, in the studio and as friends. Thank you for being the inspiration to millions of people around the world for speaking your truth and giving us the gift.”
Legendary photographer Norman Seeff recalled to us one of his more memorable shoots featuring the great Tina Turner: “Tina Turner walked in and she stepped up on — we built a little stage — and within one second, I said to her. . . and I’m playing her music, y’know — ‘Would you like the music louder?’ And she’s saying, ‘No, fine!’ And she starts to sing and it’s the Tina Turner delivery. And the whole session became, ‘Can I keep up with the power of this woman?’ And the thing about shooting is that you ride that wave. You ride that current emotionally. And there are moments when, y’know, there’s like a peak in energy, it’s like a waveform. And I was firing and firing and firing.”
Tina Turner spoke candidly about the violence that plagued her marriage to the late-Ike Turner: “When I decided, ‘I’m not doing this anymore,’ then that was the first time that I had a real beating — with a shoe stretcher. And then I was afraid — I was ashamed and afraid for many years after that.”
Tina Turner told us that even during her lowest moments — both personally and professionally — she never lost the joy in her heart: “I’m a happy person, normally. I don’t dwell, I don’t suffer and moan, and I’m not a complainer. I’m basically an ‘up’ person. Even in my. . . . my worse moments there, I still found time to laugh loud. It’s my nature, because, what can you do once it’s done? You just must go forward and that, that’s how I’ve lived my life.”
Not too long ago, Bryan Adams, who had been a close friend of Turner’s since 1984 when they duetted on his track “It’s Only Love” off his Reckless album, said that above all else, Turner was a class-act who gave new meaning to the phrase “the show must go on”: “The thing that was incredible about her was, she just — and I never forgot this as long as I’ve ever performed — no matter how crap I had felt before I went on stage, I just remember Tina Turner going up there and singing her heart out for everybody, and meantime she had a hundred-and-two degree fever and she was feeling terrible. And I thought well, if Tina Turner can go up there and she can give everything for five hundred people, no matter how sick I am I can make it happen too.”
Tina Turner explained that it was really her audience overseas — and one very specific high-profile British fan — that helped her ‘80s comeback happen: “It was all English people and foreigners that was responsible for Private Dancer. I was about to sign a record deal; Rupert Perry was president at Capitol at the time — he was shipped out to England, and Mr. Don Zimmerman was in control and canceled (the deal). David Bowie was then signing with them and they wanted to take him out to dinner and he said, ‘No, I’m going to see my favorite singer: Tina Turner.’ They came and went ‘Oh! get the papers Roger (Davies), we’ll sign her!”