American-born singer Tina Turner, known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” passed away on May 24, 2023, at the age of 83. Tina Turner was one of the greatest recording artists of all time, emerging from an abusive relationship and a poor agricultural village.
Her agent stated that she passed away quietly at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, close to Zurich, following a protracted illness.
Turner, a captivating live singer, recorded a number of R&B singles with her abusive and demanding husband, Ike Turner, in the 1960s and early 1970s until she fled their Dallas hotel room with 36 cents.
Turner started her career in the 1950s, at a time when rock & roll was just getting started, and she later became an MTV superstar.
Turner embodied 1980s fashion in the music video for her number-one single “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” in which she referred to love as a “second-hand emotion,” as she walked around the streets of New York City with her spiky blond hair, a cropped jean jacket, a little skirt, and stiletto heels.
The ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was hailed for her musical prowess, and battered women throughout the world looked up to her for strength and courage. Every syllable resonated genuine as she sang about suffering and heartbreak in her husky, full-throated voice.
She started out as Tina Turner, and the Ike & Tina Turner Revue was established in 1960. In the same year that their son Ronnie was born, their bond grew. Craig, Tina’s son from a former relationship, and two children from Ike’s past marriages were among the four children they raised after getting married in 1962.
Turner, who was referred to as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” received six of her eight Grammy nominations in the 1980s. Twelve of her tracks, including “Typical Male,” “The Best,” “Private Dancer,” and “Better Be Good to Me,” reached the Top 40 during the decade. 180,000 people attended her performance in Rio de Janeiro in 1988, which is still one of the biggest concert crowds for a single musician.
Turner had been divorced from musician Ike Turner for ten years by that point.
The celebrity was open about the violence she endured from her ex-husband when they were married and working together on music in the 1960s and 1970s. She detailed several injuries that kept her in the emergency department, including smashed lips, fractured jaws, and damaged eyes.
Singer Janet Jackson praised Tina Turner in a Rolling Stone article that ranked Turner No. 63 among the greatest 100 performers of all time, saying that “Tina’s story is not one of victimhood but one of incredible triumph.”
She’s become an exquisite force and a worldwide sensation, Jackson claimed.
Turner gave her status as a survivor a fictitious twist in 1985. In the third Mad Max film, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” she co-starred with Mel Gibson as the brutal head of an outpost in a radioactive wasteland.
A violent union
According to Turner’s memoirs and interviews, the physical assault started almost immediately.
Ike Turner, who was thin-skinned and temperamental, would reportedly snap at the slightest provocation and attack her with anything in his possession, including coat hangers, telephones, a wooden shoe stretcher, and his fists.
She said that he would frequently beat her before they took the stage.
“He’d hit me in the ribs, and then always try to give me a black eye. He wanted his abuse to be seen. That was the shameful part,” Turner told Winfrey.
Off-stage, however, their marriage remained rocky, in part due to Ike Turner’s cocaine addiction.
“Another night we had a fight in the dressing room, and when I went onstage, my face was swollen,” she told Winfrey. “I think my nose was broken because blood was gushing into my mouth when I sang. Before, I’d been able to hide under makeup. But you can’t hide swelling.”
She stayed with Ike Turner for more than ten years because she was afraid of his rage and swore she wouldn’t leave him like other people did.
But when they traveled to Dallas for a gig in July 1976, things reached a breaking point. After an aircraft ride, Turner said in her book, her husband started striking her as they were driving to their hotel. She snuck out of their room when he was sleeping with just a Mobil credit card and 36 cents, or “a quarter, a dime, and a penny.”
She ran across a busy highway and into a motel, where a compassionate clerk granted her a room after seeing her injured face. She then made a legal call. she knew, who set up a pickup and flight back to Los Angeles for her with a buddy.
“After my plane landed in California, my heart was in my ears. I was afraid Ike would be there because when I’d left once before, he tracked me down on a bus…” she told Oprah. “So when I got off that plane, I ran like mad. I said to myself, ‘If he’s here, I’m going to scream for the police. And I had one chant in my head: ‘I will die before I go back.’”
Her ascension to popularity on a global scale
Turner had at this time discovered Buddhism and chanting through a friend, and she attributes this to giving her the courage to leave her marriage. Turner, a former Baptist who converted to Buddhism in her middle age, claims that Buddhism’s teachings have improved her life.
“I came to understand that any achievement stems from inner change,” she told Harvard Business Review. “The more I studied Buddhist principles, the deeper I dug within myself and cleaned up whatever attitudes or habits were standing in my way.”
In 1978, she and Ike officially divorced following a protracted court fight. She said in her book that although she took care of their four boys, he kept the majority of the income and assets they had amassed together. After the divorce, Turner tried to rebuild her career for a number of years while performing on TV specials and in Las Vegas.
After she signed Australian manager Roger Davies in 1979, her return gathered speed. Two years later, Rod Stewart asked her to play “Hot Legs” on “Saturday Night Live” with him. In 1983, her rendition of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” became a smash in England.
Then followed “Private Dancer,” which led to three Top 10 successes, three Grammy wins, and a total of over 10 million copies sold. Despite initially disliking the song and needing persuasion to record it, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” became her the oldest female artist to have a No. 1 hit at the age of 44.
When she was at the height of her powers, in 1985, she co-starred in Mel Gibson’s post-apocalyptic film “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” co-wrote the song “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” and sang on the all-star charity single “We Are the World.” She also appeared with Mick Jagger at the historic Live Aid concerts.