Tina Turner, Rock and Soul Powerhouse, Dead at 83

Photo: David Redfern/Redferns

Tina Turner — legendary singer and performer across rock, soul, and pop music — died on May 24 at age 83. Her publicist confirmed the news to U.K. agency PA Media. In a statement, her family said that Turner had “died peacefully” at her home in Switzerland “after a long illness … With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”

Turner is known as one of the best vocalists in rock history and a high-energy live performer, earning her nickname, the “Queen of Rock and Roll.” Born Anna Mae Bullock, she began singing with guitarist and singer Ike Turner in 1957. She performed as Little Ann until 1960, when Ike gave her the name Tina Turner and they debuted as a duo on “A Fool in Love.” The song became a rare R&B crossover hit and set up Ike & Tina Turner’s early success as a duo. (Despite Tina’s name, they didn’t marry until 1962.) They had more success after their single “River Deep – Mountain High,” which reached No. 3 on the U.K. Singles Chart and earned them a slot opening for the Rolling Stones. Appearing on the second-ever issue of Rolling Stone, Turner was the first woman and first Black woman on the magazine’s cover. She went on to have more hits with Ike — including their signature song, a 1971 cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary.”

Tina filed for divorce in 1976, setting up the end of the duo. She later revealed that Ike had abused her. (He died in 2007.) She began performing as a soloist, surpassing their work as a duo in 1983 with a hit cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” Turner launched what’s widely considered to be music’s biggest career resurgence with the album Private Dancer in 1984, which went multiplatinum and earned Turner her first and only No. 1, “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” She had further hits in the 1980s with the songs “Better Be Good to Me,” “Typical Male,” and “The Best.” She acted from time to time — including in the 1985 film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, for which she released the hit single “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” Turner recorded James Bond song “GoldenEye” in 1995. Her final album, Twenty Four Seven, was released in 1999.

Turner’s legacy solidified in recent years. She earned a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2018 on top of eight previous Grammy awards — including trophies in the rock, pop, and R&B fields. After first being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Ike in 1991, she was again inducted as a solo artist in 2021 — one of the few women to be inducted twice. Her story hit Broadway in 2019 in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, which she collaborated on. In 2021, HBO released a documentary about her life and career.

Tina Turner, Rock and Soul Powerhouse, Dead at 83