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Legendary rock’n’roll singer Tina Turner dies aged 83 at her home in Switzerland

Her publicist Bernard Doherty announced the death in a statement

William Grimes New York Published 25.05.23, 05:08 AM
Tina Turner

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Tina Turner, the earth-shaking soul singer whose rasping vocals, sexual magnetism and explosive energy made her an unforgettable live performer and one of the most successful recording artists of all time, died on Wednesday at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, near Zurich. She was 83.

Her publicist Bernard Doherty announced the death in a statement.


Turner embarked on her half-century career in the late 1950s, while still attending high school in East St. Louis, Illinois, when she began singing with Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm. At first, she was only an occasional performer, but she soon became the group’s star attraction — and Turner’s wife. With her potent, bluesy voice and her frenetic dancing style, she made an instant impression. “I’d be writing songs with Little Richard in mind, but I didn’t have no Little Richard to sing them, so Tina was my Little Richard,” Ike Turner wrote in Takin’ Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner (1999), written with Nigel Cawthorne. “Listen closely to Tina and who do you hear? Little Richard singing in the female voice.”

Their ensemble, soon renamed the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, became one of the premier touring soul acts in black venues on the so-called chitlin’ circuit. After the Rolling Stones invited the group to open for them, white listeners in both countries began paying attention.

Turner, who insisted on adding rock songs by the Beatles and the Stones to her repertoire, reached an enormous new audience, giving the Ike and Tina Turner Revue its first Top 10 hit with her version of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song Proud Mary in 1971 and a Grammy Award for best R&B vocal performance by a group.

But if the Ike and Tina Turner Revue was a success, the Ike and Tina Turner marriage was troubled, and Turner’s career faltered after a painful breakup in the late 1970s. Her album Private Dancer, released in 1984, returned her to the spotlight — and lifted her into the pop stratosphere.

Working with younger songwriters, and backed by a smooth, synthesised sound, she delivered three mammoth hits: the title song, written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits; Better Be Good to Me; and What’s Love Got to Do With It.

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 for best female rock vocal performance.

The album went on to sell five million copies and establish Turner as a worldwide phenomenon. In 1988 she appeared before about 180,000 people at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, breaking a record for the largest paying audience for a solo artist. 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 performer in history.

New York Times News Service


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