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Remembering The Legendary Queen of Rock, Tina Turner

Written by Emma Cohen. Published: May 31 2023


Tina Turner, a rock ‘n’ roll powerhouse and trailblazer, died May 24, 2023, at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, at the age of 83. Her striking vocal power, vigorous stage presence, and inspiring wisdom made her a beloved role model and music icon. 


Born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 in Tennessee, Turner rose to fame in the 1960s as the frontwoman of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. She swiftly became a star as everyone took notice of her energetic performances and husky, dynamic voice. In 1971, we got the classic “Proud Mary”, which reached the Top 10 and earned her group its first Grammy Award. Through deliberate choice, she evolved from an R&B act and redefined herself as a rock ‘n’ roll artist. In doing so, she became a pioneer in the music industry by showcasing a sound that was completely hers.




In 1976, Turner left her abusive husband, Ike Turner. Her candor about being a survivor opened up a wider conversation about domestic violence that, up until this point, was nearly absent from the surrounding culture. Following this, her career temporarily fell as she tried to get back on her feet. By 1984, her fifth album as a solo artist,Private Dancer, was released. This album catapulted her back into prominence and reinvigorated her career. This wasn’t just a comeback – this was her true emergence.




Her albumPrivate Dancer bestowed upon us her legendary song, “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. This pop-soul hit spent 28 weeks on the Billboard chart and held the No. 1 spot for three weeks. She also had a major category sweep at the 1985 Grammy Awards, with “What’s Love Got to Do With It” winning Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. “Better Be Good To Me”, another Top 10 hit, earned her the Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance that same year. In 1989, Turner would release the song which would quickly become an unofficial anthem for the star: "The Best".




In addition to numerous other accolades, Turner has won 8 Grammy Awards and received 25 nominations. She also has 3 Grammy Hall of Fame awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. 




While reaching new heights in her singing career, Turner also made her mark in the film world with roles in titles such asMad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Tommy, and Last Action Hero. For What's Love Got to Do With It, the 1993 Angela Bassett-led biopic, she recorded some of her classics as well as a new hit, “I Don’t Wanna Fight”.




In 2009, after concluding her Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour, she officially went into retirement. In 2021, 30 years after first being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Ike Turner, she was inducted for the second time, but now as a solo artist. Tina Turner’s profound strength, soul-stirring performances, and unparalleled talent made her an extraordinary person both on and off the stage, influencing other superstar artists from David Bowie to Beyoncé, and she will always wear the crown for the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.


In a 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Turner said, “My legacy is that I stayed on course from the beginning to the end, because I believed in something inside of me that told me that it can get better… So my legacy is a person that strived for wanting it better and got it.”