By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Tina Turner, the “Queen of Rock ‘n Roll’ whose legend grew after she overcame a bitter divorce to musician Ike Turner that was filled with violence, has died at the age of 83. The superstar’s family confirmed her death in a statement on Wednesday, May 24, noting that Turner died “peacefully” at her home near Zurich, Switzerland.
“Starting with her performances with her ex-husband Ike, Turner injected an uninhibited, volcanic stage presence into pop,” Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos declared in a tribute.
“Even with choreographed backup singers — both with Ike and during her own career — Turner never seemed to reign in,” Spanos, who co-authored the tribute with David Browne, asserted.
“Her influence on rock, R&B and soul singing and performance was also immeasurable.
“Her delivery influenced everyone from Mick Jagger to Mary J. Blige, and her high-energy stage presence (topped with an array of gravity-defying wigs) was passed down to Janet Jackson and Beyoncé.
“Turner’s message — one that resounded with generations of women — was that she could hold her own onstage against any man.”
Born Anna Mae Bullock in Tennessee in 1939, Turner started her career in 1958 as the lead singer for Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm band.
Later, the couple changed the name to the Ike & Tina Revue and spun out hit after hit with songs like “Nutbush City Limits,” “River Deep,” and the seminal “Proud Mary.”
Following a tumultuous and abusive relationship, Tina escaped from Ike’s clutches in 1976 with no money and just the clothes on her back that reportedly were bloodied following Ike’s latest assault.
During divorce proceedings, Tina simply demanded that she keep her stage name which the judge granted.
With assistance from rock stars like Mick Jagger and David Bowie, Turner rebounded several years later and topped the pop music charts with her 1984 solo album, Private Dancer.
The album included a bevy of hit singles, including a remake of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” which became the title of her successful 1993 biopic starring Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne.
She then enjoyed the starring role alongside Mel Gibson in the 1985 movie, “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.” In 1986, Tina wrote her memoir, “I, Tina,” which writers used to create the film, What’s Love Got to Do With It.”
Over her career, Turner earned 11 Grammy Awards, and sold an estimated 180 million records globally.
In 2001, Turner earned induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, in 2008, after having taken a hiatus from performing, toured the world for her 50th anniversary in show business.
“Heaven has gained an angel,” singer Ciara tweeted.
“Thank you for the inspiration you gave us all.”
The Defender Network’s Twitter account praised Turner as “an unstoppable musical force who exuded grace and resilience. “
And hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash said Turner would be missed.
“My condolences to the Turner family,” Flash said. “Rest in peace Tina Turner you will be missed.”