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‘I had a terrible life. I just kept going’ – The trauma and triumph of rock icon Tina Turner

Tina Turner said in a documentary about her life released in 2021, “Look what I’ve done with this body in this lifetime.” “I am a girl who grew up in a cottonfield, and I have risen above the things that were not taught to her.”

Tina Turner‘s story was one of triumph and trauma. She was known for her energetic performances on stage and her soulful, husky vocals. She overcame many personal and professional challenges to become Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

After her passing at age 83 tributes were paid by fellow musicians to the White House. Social media was flooded with videos of her greatest hits, including Proud Mary and Nutbush City Limits.

“The world has lost a legend” – Tina Turner


Throughout her career Turner has won 12 Grammys. She was also inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame twice, both as a soloist and with the duo that she formed in the 1960s with Ike Turner.

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Tina Turner sings The Best

She is the first woman ever to be featured on the Rolling Stone cover and she holds the Guinness World Record as the most paying audience for solo performers. In 1988, her performance at the Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, attracted an audience of 188,000.

She also inspired a musical based on the incredible story of her life. The story of a star who achieved stratospheric fame, including the sale of more than one hundred million records in the world, after overcoming abuse from her father and her ex-husband and the pushback of those who said she couldn’t make it as an independent star.

Tina Turner: More information

Tina Turner, born Anna Mae Bullock, was born in Nutbush (Tennessee) on 26 November 1939 to Zelma Pricilla and Floyd Richard Bullock. She moved in with her grandmother at the age of 11 after her mother ended her abusive relationship with their father.

Tina and her abusive ex-husband Ike Turner, who was also her musical partner in 1966. Pic: AP

She was 16 when she moved to St Louis, Missouri with her mother and her sister Alline. This is where she met her future husband.

The Ike and Tina Turner Revue was formed in 1960 when Tina Turner reimagined her as a member of his band The Kings Of Rhythm.

In 1962, Turner had their first child, Ronnie, and they were married in Tijuana. Ronnie was Turner’s second child. Her first, Craig Raymond Turner was with Raymond Hill, the saxophonist of the Kings Of Rhythm.

Turner’s legs, reportedly, were insured for millions. Pic: AP

The release was followed by a UK tour with strong>a href=”″ rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>The Rolling Stones/a>/strong> as the band’s support act. After the release, the group went on a UK tour as support for Rolling Stones.

Come Together, Honky Tonky Woman, and Proud Mary all helped to cement their reputation. The latter song won them a Grammy award in 1972.

Turner suffered abuse from her husband behind closed doors.

She was with him until 1976 but revealed later that she had tried to commit suicide during the relationship. In her 2018 memoir she described the moment when she reached rock bottom as “I could not take it anymore”.

Image: After her death, flowers were left at her Hollywood Walk of Fame star

She reportedly requested nothing more during their divorce than to be allowed to use her stage name. She then reinvented herself as a solo artist.

Tina Turns the Country On had a slow debut. In 1974, Turner released her debut album Tina Turns The Country On, which was followed by Acid Queen the following year. She resisted those who said that she could never transition from rock to pop as a woman of color approaching 40.

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Tina Turner: Simply the best in pictures

Tina Turner’s most streamed tracks

  • 1. The Best
  • 2. What Does Love Have To Do With It
  • 3. Proud Mary
  • 4. What Does Love Have To Do With It All? (with Kygo)
  • 5. River Deep Mountain High with Ike Turner
  • 6. Thunderdome: We don’t need another hero
  • 7. Nutbush City Limits with Ike Turner
  • 8. Private Dancer
  • 9. It’s only Love (with Bryan Adams).
  • 10. Proud Mary with Ike Turner

Throughout the 1980s she rebuilt her music career with a series of hits, starting with a 1983 cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and her 1984 album Private Dancer. In 1989, she released her most famous song, a version of The Best. Her image with big hair, miniskirts and her famous legs had already become iconic.

Turner received a star in 1986 on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. In 1991, Turner was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame for her collaboration with Ike. Neither she nor Ike attended the ceremony. In 2021, she was inducted as a soloist.

In a recorded speech of acceptance, she said: “If I’m still getting awards at 81 years old, then I must have done some thing right.”

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Turner on Recognition and Achievements

Angela Bassett – the actress who played Turner in the film What’s love got to do with it? – was the one who inducted her. Bassett, who played Ike in the 1993 film What’s Love Got To Do With It, and Laurence Fishburne were both nominated for Oscars.

Bassett, at the Hall Of Fame Ceremony, said, “Imagine a black girl who was born in Nutbush Tennessee and possessed more talent than anyone could ever imagine.” Imagine that same girl breaking down every barrier and making history one day.

“People continue to tell me what Tina meant to them. I understand exactly what they are saying, because Tina has meant so much to me. “I am also one of the people who have been blessed by Tina’s incredible gift to inspire.”

Turner became a Bond musician in the 1990s when he sung the title song of Pierce Brosnan’s Goldeneye.

Image: Turner and Sir Mick Jagger at a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Performance in 1989

She returned to the spotlight in 2008, after a short break from the showbiz, at the Grammy Awards where she sang Proud Mary with Beyonce. Some of her other notable duets include performing with David Bowie and The Rolling Stones at Live Aid 1985.

She embarked on a 50th anniversary tour in 2008 and announced Tina, The Tina Turner Musical, in 2016.

She will sell the rights to the back catalogue in 2021 after reaching a deal with BMG. The last of her 34 UK Top 40 hit singles was released in 2020 when she rerecorded the song What’s love got to do with it with Norwegian DJ Kygo.

Image: Turner with her husband on the opening night of Tina the Musical in April 2018

Turner’s solo work includes 10 studio albums and two live albums. There are also two soundtracks, five compilations and two soundtracks. Together, these have sold over 100 million records. Turner has also appeared in several films, including Tommy (1975), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and Last Action Hero (1996).

She met Erwin Bach, a music producer, in the 1980s. They married on the shores of Lake Zurich, Switzerland, where the couple lived. She revealed that in 2013, Bach saved her by donating one of his kidneys.

In 2022, her second son Ronnie, who was born in , died from cancer.

Picture: AP

In an interview she gave to the New York Times, in 2019, she revealed that despite being known for her resilience and strength throughout her life: “I do not necessarily want be a strong person.” I had a horrible life. “I just kept going.”

Turner never stopped going.

In what was probably one of her final interviews before her death, she told The Guardian how she wanted to remembered – the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. “A woman who taught other women it’s okay to achieve success on their terms.”


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