Tina Turner has passed away in Switzerland following a long illness.
One of the most distinct voices in rock, soul and R&B, Turner was in her 40s before she found global success as a solo artist, with 1984’s Private Dancer becoming one of the biggest selling albums of the decade.
Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee. Her father worked on a local farm where she and her sister Alline picked cotton as young girls. Her mother left when she was eleven and when her father remarried two years later, she went to live with her strict religious grandparents in Brownsville, Tennessee. In 1958 she started working at a hospital in St Louis where she and her sister first saw Ike Tuner perform with The Kings Of Rhythm.
She was asked to join Ike Turner’s group after grabbing the microphone during a performance of BB King’s You Know I Love You. At the time she was in a relationship with the group’s saxophone plater Raymond Hill, with whom she had a child, but soon started a relationship with Ike. The pair married in 1962 and while Ike And Tina Turner recorded some of the decade’s best songs, including the Phil Spector-produced River Deep Mountain High in 1966, she suffered years of physical and mental abuse from him.
“My relationship with Ike was doomed the day he figured out I was going to be his moneymaker,” Turner wrote in her 2018 biography My Love Story. “He needed to control me, economically and psychologically, so I could never leave him.”
In 1976, she left Ike and though virtually penniless successfully sued for divorce and to keep her stage name Tina Turner. Following two unsuccessful solo albums, Turner reinvented herself as rock singer, purposely making a bid for a more mainstream audience and went on to huge international success.
She semi-retired from music aged 61, but in 2008 made a comeback and toured to celebrate 50 years as singer.
Her first son, Craig Raymond Tuner, passed away in 2018 and last year her other son Ronnie died of cancer. She is survived by two of Ike Turner’s sons, Ike Turner Jr and Michael Turner, whom she adopted.
My legacy is that I stayed on course,” Turner said of her long career, “from the beginning to the end, because I believed in something inside of me.”