Legendary musician, actor, dancer, and author Tina Turner passed away today (May 24, 2023) at her home in Switzerland after an extended illness. She was 83.
Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 and grew up in rural Nutbush, Tennessee (the town inspired her 1973 hit song “Nutbush City Limits”). First recording in the late 1950s with her soon-to-be husband and musical partner Ike Turner, Tina’s incredible vocal and performance work would go on to span more than six decades. Among her trailblazing moments was becoming the first Black artist and first woman on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1967 and, decades later, having an incredible comeback career in her 40s that inspired countless women to live out loud.
While she first gained fame with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, Tina overcame intense personal hardship and eventually reinvented herself as one of the biggest-selling solo artists of all time. She also wrote three books, and there have since been documentaries, a musical, and a feature film made about her life.
Below are seven incredible songs that mark some of the key musical moments in her life story.
1. “Proud Mary”
Ike and Tina Turner’s 1971 version of John Fogerty’s “Proud Mary” reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the pair their first GRAMMY. In this version, Tina shows off her amazing energy.
2. “The Acid Queen”
In 1975 Tina Turner debuted on screen in her first film role as the Acid Queen in the Who’s rock opera Tommy. It was just a hint of her great film and soundtrack work to come.
3. “Let’s Stay Together”
After her split from Ike, Tina was a nostalgia act playing smaller venues. However, she had an incredible ability to cover songs in a fresh way with her rocking R&B voice. In this case, though, the cover (Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”) reinvented her by helping her relaunch her career…and her life. The cover surprised everyone by charting No. 6 in the U.K. and No. 26 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart.
4. “Better Be Good to Me”
Following this surprise hit, Capitol Records gave her an instant green light to record a solo album, with one caveat: she had two weeks to make it happen. The result was the incredible album Private Dancer, which reached No. 3 in the U.S., spawned three Top 10 hits, won three Grammy Awards, and was certified 5X platinum. Her subsequent world tour included this amazing performance.
5. “Addicted to Love”
By the time she was 48, Tina’s Break Every Rule tour was spanning the globe, culminating in an awe-inspiring moment when she broke the Guinness World Record for the largest paying concert attendance for a solo artist. Some 180,000 people in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil gave her transformative energy as she performed that night. She began the concert with a cover of a song she never recorded, Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love.”
6. “Proud Mary” with Beyoncé
After contributing to both the Mad Max and Golden Eye soundtracks, Tina took a break from touring. Then in early 2008 she had yet another incredible comeback, this time for a performance of “Proud Mary” with Beyoncé at the Grammy Awards. This led the way for her to embark on her 50th anniversary tour, after which she announced her retirement from live touring.
7. “What’s Love Got to Do with It” with Kygo
The last song released by Tina Turner was a remix that dropped in July 2020. At age 80 she came out of retirement to work with Norwegian producer Kygo for a reimagined version of her 1984 No. 1 hit song “What’s Love Got to Do with It.”
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