Tina Turner, the transcendental singer whose raspy voice, sexual magnetism and explosive energy made her an unforgettable live performer and one of the most successful recording artists of all time, died Wednesday at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, near Zurich. . She was 83 years old.
His publicist Bernard Doherty announced the death in a statement, but did not provide a cause. He had a stroke in recent years and it was known that he was battling kidney disease and other illnesses.
Ms. Turner embarked on her half-century career in the late 1950s, while still in high school, when she began singing with Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm. At first, she only performed occasionally, but she soon became the main attraction of the group and the wife of Mr. Turner. With her powerful bluesy voice and her frenetic dance style, she made an instant impression.
His outfit, soon renamed the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, became one of the top touring black-venue soul acts on the so-called chitlin’ circuit. After the Rolling Stones invited the group to open for them, first on a British tour in 1966 and then on an American tour in 1969, white listeners in both countries began to take notice.
Ms. Turner, who insisted on adding Beatles and Stones rock songs to her repertoire, reached a huge audience and gave the Ike and Tina Turner Revue their first Top 10 hit with their cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song. “Proud Mary” in 1971 and a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group.
“In the context of show business today, Tina Turner must be the most sensational professional on stage,” wrote Ralph J. Gleason, the influential jazz and pop critic for The San Francisco Chronicle, in a review of a concert by the Rolling Stones in Oakland in November. 1969. “It comes like a hurricane. She dances and twists and shakes and sings, and the impact is instant and total.”
But if the Ike and Tina Turner Revue was a success, Ike and Tina Turner’s marriage was not. Mr. Turner was abusive. After she ran away from marriage at age 30, her career faltered. But her solo album “Private Dancer,” released in 1984, brought her back into the spotlight and elevated her into the pop stratosphere.
Referring to her “innovative fusion of old-fashioned soul singing and new wave synth-pop”, Stephen Holden, in a review for The New York Times, called the album “a milestone not only in the career of the 45-year-old singer “. singer, which he has been recording since the late 1950s, but in the evolution of pop-soul music itself.
At the 1985 Grammy Awards, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” won three awards, for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and “Better Be Good To Me” won Best Female Rock Vocal. . performance.
The album sold five million copies and launched a touring career that established Ms. Turner as a worldwide phenomenon. In 1988 she performed before some 180,000 people at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, breaking the record for the highest paying audience for a soloist. After her “Twenty Four Seven” tour in 2000 sold more than $100 million in tickets, Guinness World Records announced that she had sold more concert tickets than any other solo artist in history.
Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Brownsville, Tennessee, northeast of Memphis, and spent her early years at the Poindexter farm in Nutbush, a nearby unincorporated area, where she sang in the Spring choir. Hill Baptist Church.
His father, Floyd, known by his middle name Richard, worked as a farm supervisor: “We were well-to-do farmers,” Turner told Rolling Stone in 1986, and had a rocky relationship with his wife, Zelma (Currie) Bullock.
Her parents left Anna and her older sister, Alline, with relatives when they went to work at a military installation in Knoxville during World War II. The family was reunited after the war, but Zelma left her husband a few years later and Anna lived with her grandmother in Brownsville.
After joining her mother in St. Louis, she attended Sumner High School there. She and Alline began frequenting the Manhattan Club in East St. Louis, Illinois to listen to Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm.
“I wanted to go up there and sing soooo wrong,” Turner recalled in “I, Tina: My Life Story” (1986), written with Kurt Loder. “But that took a whole year.”
One night, during one of the band’s breaks, the drummer, Eugene Washington, handed her the microphone and she began singing the BB King song “You Know I Love You”, which Mr. Turner had produced. “When Ike heard me, he said, ‘Oh my God!'” she told People magazine in 1981. “I couldn’t believe that voice coming out of this fragile little body.”
In his book “Takin’ Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner” (1999), written with Nigel Cawthorne, Mr. Turner wrote: “I would be writing songs with Little Richard in mind, but I didn’t have any Little Richard to sing them, so that Tina was my Little Richard. Listen carefully to Tina and who do you listen to? Little Richard singing with a female voice.
Turner used her as a backup singer, billed as Little Ann, on his 1958 “Boxtop” record. When Art Lassiter, the group’s lead singer, failed to show up for the recording of “A Fool in Love,” she stepped in. The record was a success, reaching number 2 on the Billboard R&B chart and number 27 on the pop chart. chart.
Mr. Turner gave his protégé, who was now also his romantic partner, a new name, Tina, inspired by the television character Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. And he changed the name of the group to the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.
It was a dynamic and disciplined ensemble second only to the James Brown Revue, but until “Proud Mary”, it never achieved significant crossover success. Up to that point, they had only one Top 20 pop single in the United States, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” in 1961. The group spawned several R&B chart hits, notably “I Idolize You”, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” and “Tra La La La La,” but most of his income came from a relentless touring schedule.
Ms. Turner’s relationship with Mr. Turner, whom she married in 1962 on a quick trip to Tijuana, Mexico, was turbulent. He was dictatorial, violent at times and, by the 1970s, hopelessly addicted to cocaine. She left him in 1976, with 36 cents and a Mobil gas card in her pocket, and divorced two years later. She died of a cocaine overdose in 2007.
“When I left, I was living a life of death,” he told People in 1981. “I didn’t exist. I wasn’t afraid that she would kill me when I left, because she was already dead. When I came out, I didn’t look back.”
Their marriage provided much of the material for the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do With It, starring Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne in the lead roles. Ms. Turner re-recorded some of her hits and a new song, “I Don’t Wanna Fight”, for the film, but she otherwise declined to participate. “Why would I want to see Ike Turner beat me up again?” she said she at the time.
a second race
In 1966, record producer Phil Spector, after hearing the Ike and Tina Turner Revue at the Galaxy Club in Los Angeles, offered $20,000 to produce his next song, on the condition that Turner stay out of the studio. The result, “River Deep, Mountain High”, is often regarded as the climax of Spector’s proprietary “wall of sound”. It flopped in the United States, barely reaching the Top 100, but was a huge hit in Britain, where it marked the beginning of a second career for Ms. Turner.
“I loved that song,” he wrote in his 1986 memoir. “Because for the first time in my life, it wasn’t just R&B, it had structure, it had a melody.” She added: “I was a singer and I knew I could do other things; I just never had the chance. ‘River Deep’ showed people what I had in me.”
After leaving her marriage, burdened with debt, Ms. Turner struggled to build a solo career, appearing in ill-conceived cabaret acts, before signing with Roger Davies, Olivia Newton-John’s manager, in 1979. Guided by Mr. Davies, she returned to the gritty, rocking style that had made her a crossover star and would propel her for decades to come as one of the most enduring performers on the concert stage.
His fellow artists took notice. In 1982, she was recruited by Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh of the band and production company known as the British Electric Foundation to record the Temptations’ 1970 hit “Ball of Confusion” for an album of synth-backed rock and soul covers. . Her success led to a second collaboration, a new version of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” A surprise hit in the United States and Great Britain, it was the turning point that led to “Private Dancer.”
Ms. Turner followed the runaway success of “Private Dancer” with two more hit albums: “Break Every Rule” (1986) and “Foreign Affair” (1989), which contained the hit single “The Best.”
She also made an impact on the screen. Ten years after cementing her rocker persona with a riveting performance as the Acid Queen in the film version of Ken Russell’s “Tommy,” The Who’s rock opera, she garnered acclaim for her performance as Aunty Entity, the iron-fisted Ruler of Bartertown. post-apocalyptic, in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” in 1985.
That film also netted her two more singles, “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)” and “One of the Living,” which was named Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the 1986 Grammys.
In 1991, she and Mr. Turner, at the time in prison for cocaine possession, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Ella (She was listed again as a solo artist in 2021). She received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2005 and a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement for her in 2018.
In 1985 she began a relationship with the German music executive Erwin Bach, whom she married in 2013 after moving with him to Küsnacht and acquiring Swiss citizenship. He survives her. Ron, her only child with Mr. Turner, died of complications from colon cancer in 2022. Another son, Craig, from his relationship with Kings of Rhythm saxophonist Raymond Hill, died by suicide in 2018. His sister, Alline Bullock, died in 2010. Mrs. Turner raised Mr. Turner’s two sons, Ike Jr. and Michael.
Full information on its survivors was not immediately available.
After releasing the album “Twenty Four Seven” in 1999, at age 60 and touring to promote it, Ms. Turner announced her retirement. She didn’t last. In 2008, after performing with Beyoncé at the Grammy Awards, she embarked on an international tour that marked her 50th year in the music business.
She announced her retirement again a few years later, but remained active in other ways. In 2018, she published her second memoir, “My Love Story”.
She and Mr. Bach were executive producers of “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” a stage show based on her life and incorporating many of her hits, which opened in London in 2018 and in Hamburg and on Broadway in 2019; Ms. Turner worked with the show’s choreographer and shared memories with the writers of her.
While reviews were mixed, the musical earned 12 Tony Award nominations; Adrienne Warren, who played Mrs. Turner, won Best Actress in a Leading Role. “In a performance that is part possession, part training and part wig,” wrote Jesse Green in a review for The Times, “Adrienne Warren shakes the rafters and dispels your doubts about whether anyone dares to step on the high heels of the diva”.
The show closed after four months due to the pandemic lockdown, reopening in October 2021 before closing again a year later and continuing to tour. There are currently touring productions in the US, as well as productions in Stuttgart, Germany; Sydney, Australia; and London.
Through it all, Mrs. Turner’s music endured.
“My music doesn’t sound old-fashioned; it still holds its own,” she told The Daily Mail in 2008. “Like me.”
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