Artist News

Tina Turner dies

By | Published on Thursday 25 May 2023

Tina Turner

Tina Turner has died, following a long period of illness, at her home in Switzerland. She was 83.

Her longtime manager, Roger Davies, who worked with Turner throughout most of her solo career, said in a statement: “Tina was a unique and remarkable force of nature with her strength, incredible energy and immense talent. From the first day I met her in 1980, she believed in herself completely when few others did at that time. I will miss her deeply”.

Born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939, she began her career in music when she joined her future husband Ike Turner’s band The Kings Of Rhythm in 1957. In 1960, he made her frontwoman of the band and – without her knowledge – renamed her Tina Turner, trademarking her new stage name so that he could replace her with another Tina if she ever left the group.

The couple married in 1962, and as Ike & Tina Turner had a very successful career with songs such as ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ and ‘Proud Mary’. However, behind the scenes Ike’s controlling and physically abusive behaviour towards Tina was a constant – something she documented in her first memoir – ‘I, Tina’ – in 1986, which was adapted into the 1993 film ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It?’

She eventually left Ike in 1976 and, when their divorce was finalised two years later, she received a settlement that gave her two cars and the rights to continue using her stage name. She quickly launched a solo career, but struggled to gain popularity until her fifth solo album, ‘Private Dancer’, in 1984. That LP included songs such as the title track and ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’

Both ‘Private Dancer’ and 1986 follow-up ‘Break Every Rule’ went to number two in the UK, with her next album ‘Foreign Affair’ topping the chart – spawning singles such as ‘Steamy Windows’ and possibly Turner’s best known solo song, ‘The Best’.

Her success continued into the 90s, particularly as a live act, and she contributed re-recordings of some older songs to the soundtrack of that 1993 biopic, ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’ She then also recorded the theme tune to 1995 James Bond film ‘GoldenEye’, written by Bono and The Edge. And off the back of that, a new album, ‘Wildest Dreams’, arrived the following year.

Just before the end of the 90s, Turner released what was to be her final solo album, ‘Twenty Four Seven’, in 1999 to mark her 60th birthday. Her tour in support of that album in 2000 was the highest grossing of the year, but as the dates drew to a close she announced her plans to retire from music.

She did briefly return to performing in 2008, however. First alongside Beyonce at that year’s Grammy Awards, and then on one final tour.

Then, in 2016, she announced that she was working on a musical about her life, ‘Tina’, which opened at the Aldwych Theatre in London in April 2018. The following year it also opened on Broadway in New York. And, earlier this month, an Australian production opened at the Theatre Royal in Sydney.

In 2021, Turner signed a deal with BMG, which gave the company a stake in her recordings, songs and brand. Yesterday, its outgoing CEO Hartwig Masuch said: “There will only ever be one Tina Turner. Her music and her life’s journey touched so many people. We send our condolences to her dear manager and husband Erwin and all those who loved her”.

Meanwhile, CEO of Recorded Music at her record label Warner Music, Max Lousada, said in his own statement: “All of us at Warner Music are deeply saddened by the passing of the one and only Tina Turner. A global icon and trailblazer, instantly recognisable by her incredible voice and inimitable style, she was one of the greatest stars of all time”.

“Even after the countless awards, the 180 million album sales, the record-breaking tours and unforgettable acting roles, Tina will be remembered most through the sheer joy of her music”, he continued. “So powerful is her extraordinary, universal appeal that there is no doubt she will continue to influence generations to come. She stands as the epitome of artistic self-empowerment”.

Turner is survived by her second husband Erwin Bach, and two of Ike Turner’s sons from his first marriage, Ike Turner Jr and Michael Turner, whom she adopted.