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Updated 11:20 PM EDT, Wed May 24, 2023
These are the songs that made Tina Turner an icon
01:38 - Source: CNN
What we covered here
- Legendary singer Tina Turner has died after a “long illness,” her family said in a statement on Wednesday. She was 83.
- Known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Turner’s mega-hits include “Proud Mary,” “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and “The Best.”
- She began her career as the lead singer of theIke & Tina Turner Revuewith her ex-husband before becoming a solo performer.
- Tributes have poured in from the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Angela Bassett and Mick Jagger.
Our live coverage has ended. Read more on Tina Turner’s lifehere,or read through the posts below.
Stars tell CNN what Tina Turner meant to them
Stars are reflecting on the legacy and impact of Tina Turner with CNN. The iconic singer died peacefully Wednesday at the age of 83, her family said.
Singer and actress Sheryl Lee Ralph called Turner “an icon, a queen, a dynamic, electrifying performer.”
“Every time, now, when I hear ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It,’ I keep thinking in terms of her passing, it’s got everything to do with it because this was an artist who was truly, deeply loved and who loved what she did, getting up on that stage and turning it on for her audience,” Ralph told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Wednesday. “I mean Tina Turner, that’s a one-in-a-million type artist.”
Actress Debbie Allen speaks with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on the legacy of Tina Turner on May 24, 2023.
Actress, dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen called Turner’s hit song “Proud Mary” “an anthem for young Black women.”
“She was like the divine feminine incarnate — this incredible Black woman who was a rockstar,” Allen told Blitzer of Turner. “She just like jumped across the labels of what music she was supposed to be singing. She made it what it was.”
Allen added that Turner is “an inspiration to millions of people around the world and will always be.”
Ruth Pointer, the last surviving original member of the Pointer Sisters group, said she began to weep upon learning of Turner’s passing Wednesday.
“I loved her so much. In my opinion, she was my queen in the music industry. She was my queen,” Pointer told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “I wanted to be her, you know. I tried to be her with my sisters.”
Pointer, who worked with Turner and other music legends on “We are the World” in 1985, recalled seeing Turner perform several times — one of which being after Pointer had graduated from high school.
“I was never the same after that,” Pointer said about the performance.
Ruth Pointer (left) and Bryan Adams speak with CNN's Erin Burnett on Tina Turner's legacy on May 24, 2023.
Singer-turned-photographer Bryan Adams spoke to Turner’s character.
“She was not only really kind to me in the beginning, but just fabulous to work for,” Adams told Burnett.
Adams, who recorded the 1985 duet “It’s Only Love” with Turner and who wrote her award-winning 1986 hit “Back Where You Started,” said that being on tour with Turner “was unbelievable.”
“She asked me to come and be her support act in Europe back in 1985, it changed everything for me as a solo performer,” Adams said. “It really opened up everything and I will never ever be able to articulate how grateful I am for her for that.”
Obamas call Tina Turner "a star whose light will never fade"From CNN's Kevin Liptak
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama released a joint statement Wednesday following the news of Tina Turner’s death.
“Tina Turner was raw. She was powerful. She was unstoppable. And she was unapologetically herself—speaking and singing her truth through joy and pain; triumph and tragedy,” the Obamas wrote. “Today we join fans around the world in honoring the Queen of Rock and Roll, and a star whose light will never fade.”
Here are times Tina Turner made history
Aside from her talent, Tina Turner also made history over the course of her decades-long career.
Here are some of the times the iconic singer made history:
Her comeback as a solo artist in her 40s:Although she didn’t like the song at first and had to be talked into recording it, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” made her, at 44, the oldest female artist to score a No. 1 hit.
Turner wasthe first Black artist and the first female artistto feature on the cover of Rolling Stone, according to the music publishing company BMG. Her solo works include 10 studio albums, two live albums, two soundtracks and five compilations, which in total have sold more than 100 million records.
Turner was also among only a handful of artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Turner was first inducted into the organization, alongside her ex-husband and musical partner Ike Turner, in 1991. She was later inducted in 2021 as a solo artist.
"Our forever goddess of rock 'n' roll": Oprah shares Tina Turner tribute
Oprah Winfrey reflected on her friendship with Tina Turner in a tribute shared on her official Instagram account. Winfrey wrote in the post caption that she “started out as a fan of Tina Turner, then a full-on groupie, following her from show to show around the country” with the two of them eventually becoming friends.
“She is our forever goddess of rock ‘n’ roll who contained a magnitude of inner strength that grew throughout her life. She was a role model not only for me but for the world. She encouraged a part of me I didn’t know existed,” Winfrey wrote in the post featuring pictures of the two together over the years.
“Once she claimed her freedom from years of domestic abuse, her life became a clarion call for triumph. I’m grateful for her courage, for showing us what victory looks like wearing Manolo’s and a leather miniskirt. She once shared with me that when her time came to leave this earth, she would not be afraid, but excited and curious. Because she had learned how to LIVE surrounded by her beloved husband, Erwin, and friends. I am a better woman, a better human, because her life touched mine. She was indeed simply the best,” Winfrey wrote.
See the full post here:
Biden calls Tina Turner "a once-in-a-generation talent”From CNN's DJ Judd
President Joe Biden offered condolences on the death of global music icon Tina Turner, calling the late musician “a once-in-a-generation talent that changed American music forever.”
“Before she was the Queen of Rock and Roll, Tina Turner was a farmer’s daughter in Tennessee. As a child, she sang in the church choir before becoming one of the most successful recording artists of all time,” he wrote in a statement Wednesday. “Jill and I send our love and prayers to her husband Erwin, the rest of the Turner family, and fans around the world who are mourning today for the woman they agree was ‘simply the best.’”
In pictures: Tina Turner throughout the yearsFrom CNN staff
A trailblazer, trendsetter and icon: Tina Turner will leave behind a rich legacy of culture for her contributions to the music industry.
The resilient singer said that professionally, some of her happiest moments were when she was performing her hit songs live.
“One of my early career goals was to become the first Black woman to fill stadiums around the world,” she told NBC’s Today Show in 2021. “At the time, it seemed impossible. But I never gave up, and I’m so happy I made that dream come true.”
Here’s a look back at Turner’s life and career over the years:
Tina Turner performs in London in 1986.
Ike and Tina Turner perform onstage in 1964 in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas.
Turner poses in a winged-costume in Los Angeles in 1977.
Turner on stage in Congresgebouw, Den Haag, Netherlands, on March 27, 1982.
Turner in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1988.
Turner performs during a 1990 concert in Versailles, France.
Turner and Angela Bassett rehearse a song performance in 1993 for the film "What's Love Got to Do with It."
Turner sings as part of the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVI on January 30, 2000, in Atlanta.
Flowers were placed on Turner's Hollywood Walk of Fame starFrom CNN’s Krecyte Villareal
A person places flowers on Turner's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California, on Wednesday, May 24.
A floral wreath was placed onTina Turner’s staron the Hollywood Walk of Fame Wednesday afternoon.
Fans gathered near her star following the news of her passing.
“I’m very blown away right now, all of us are. My family, we loved Tina Turner,” Adrienne Rohas, a fan of Turner’s since the 1970s, told CNN while visiting the late musician’s star. “The greatest legs, the best voice and all the moves that you can get – she had them all, she’s the best.”
According to the California landmark’s website, Turner received a star during an induction ceremony on August 28, 1986.
Actress Angela Bassett pays tribute to Tina TurnerFrom CNN's Alli Rosenbloom
Turner and Bassett rehears a performance in 1993 for the film "What's Love Got to Do with It."
Actress Angela Bassett, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic — “What’s Love Got to Do with It” — paid tribute to Turner in a statement shared with CNN on Wednesday.
“How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world? Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and for others who look like her,” Bassett wrote.
“Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like. Her final words to me - for me - were ‘You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world.’ I shall hold these words close to my heart for the rest of my days. I am honored to have known Tina Turner.
“I am humbled to have helped show her to the world. So on today, while we mourn the loss of this iconic voice and presence, she gave us more than we could have ever asked. She gave us her whole self. And Tina Turner is a gift that that will always be ‘simply the best.’ Angels, sing thee to thy rest…Queen,” she concluded.
HBO Tina Turner documentary left audiences craving an encoreFrom CNN's Brian Lowry
Tina Turner performing in the 1970s, as shown in the HBO documentary 'Tina'
In 2021, HBO released a documentary titled “Tina” that shed new light on the iconic Tina Turner.
Below is an excerpt from the CNN review of the documentary:
“Tina” is that rare documentary that leaves you craving an encore, as if two hours weren’t quite enough to do Tina Turner’s life and career justice. Weaving in a new interview with the (at the time)81-year-old icon, the footage then and now underlines the impression of Turner as a force of nature, rocking and rolling with and without Ike.
The documentary opens with Turner’s 1981 People magazine interview, in which she opened up about the abuse she received from her husband and musical partner, Ike Turner, before leaving him five years earlier. The film devotes roughly the first hour to that part of her story, which included the domineering Ike coming up with her stage name – born Anna Mae Bullock – without her permission.
At the time, as third-party voices note, such frank discussion of domestic abuse was unusual, and Turner’s efforts to put her marital split behind her by speaking out – and later writing a book – didn’t really work. Yet it did mark a turning point for her professionally, as she teamed up with manager Roger Davies and embarked on a path that saw her filling arenas and stadiums, going from Vegas cabaret act to international rock star.
“You gave me this name,” Katori Hall, who wrote “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” says in summarizing Turner’s attitude toward Ike as she achieved personal and professional independence. “But watch what I build with it.”
Directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin unearth all kinds of fabulous video of the young Tina, dancing with a sense of joy and power that belied the tumult and pain she endured in private.
Like HBO’s recentBee Gees documentary, “Tina” simultaneously takes the audience back in time while rekindling appreciation for the music, virtually ensuring anyone familiar with the songs will be humming a few of them (“Proud Mary” and “I Don’t Wanna Fight,” in this case) days later.
Read more here.
HBO, like CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia.
Tina Turner "died peacefully," family saysFrom CNN's Megan Thomas
Tina Turner’s family said the iconic singer died after a “long illness.”
“Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock & Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland,” her family said in a statement shared to CNN. “With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.”
CNN has reached out to representatives of Turner.
Tributes pour in on social media for Tina Turner: "You're simply the best"
Tributes are pouring in on social media following the death of iconic singer Tina Turner:
NBA legend Magic Johnson called her “one of my favorite artists of all time.”
“She always gave you your moneys worth,” the athlete said alongside a picture with Turner.
Grammy-winning singer Ciara thanked Turner “for the inspiration you gave us all.”
“Heaven has gained an angel,” she wrote on Twitter with pictures of Turner performing. “Rest in Paradise Tina Turner.”
“I Will Survive” singer Gloria Gaynor spoke to Turner’s trailblazing career in a tribute shared on Twitter.
“I am so, so very sad to hear of the passing of @TinaTurner, the iconic legend who paved the way for so many women in rock music, black and white,” Gaynor wrote. “She did with great dignity & success what very few would even have dared to do in her time and in that genre of music.”
Actor Forest Whitaker said Turner is “simply the best.”
“Tina Turner was an icon, whom we loved for her voice, her dancing, and her spirit,” he said on Twitter. “As we honor her, let’s also reflect on her resilience, and think about all the greatness that can follow our darkest days. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, Tina. You’re simply the best.”
Actress and singer Kelly Rowland expressed love for the singer on Instagram.
“Thank you Queen, for giving us your all!” she captioned a post featuring photos of Turner. “We Love You!!”
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger called Turner his “wonderful friend” and shared pictures on Twitter of the two performing together.
Grammy-winning neo-soul singer Erykah Badu shared the news of Turner’s passing on her Instagram account Wednesday.
“Cultural Icon down. Safe Journey Anna Mae Bullock,” Badu wrote, addressing Turner by her birth name. “You were HERE.”
Singer-songwriter Mariah Carey called Turner “an incredible performer, musician and trailblazer.”
“The words legendary, iconic, diva, and superstar are often overused and yet Tina Turner embodies them all and so many more - an incredible performer, musician and trailblazer,” Carey said on Twitter. “To me, she will always be a survivor and an inspiration to women everywhere. Her music will continue to inspire generations to come. Rest in Peace, Queen.”
White House calls Tina Turner's death a "massive, massive loss"From CNN's Kevin Liptak
The White House called the death of Tina Turner “a massive, massive loss” on Wednesday after learning of the rock singer’s passing.
“Tina Turner was an icon, a music icon who had many stages, many amazing moments in her career,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “Very sad to hear the news. I was a huge fan of Tina Turner. As you can see from my reaction, that is the first I’m hearing of it. And it is a massive loss, massive loss to the communities that that loved her, certainly to the music industry.”
Jean-Pierre added that Turner’s music “will continue to live on” and expressed condolences for her family and friends.
President Joe Biden has expressed his love previously for Turner’s song “The Best,” and included it on a summer listening list in 2016.
In an interview in 2020, he said“Simply the Best” was his favorite backstage or walkout song and that it reminds him of his wife Jill.
How Tina Turner overcame an abusive marriage to become one of the most popular artists of all timeFrom CNN's Lisa Respers France
Ike Turner and Tina Turner at Heathrow Airport in London, UK on October 27, 1975.
As Tina Turner has stated in her autobiography and in interviews, physical abuse from her husband Ike Turner began almost from the start of their marriage in 1962.
Thin-skinned and mercurial, Ike Turner would fly into fits of rage at the slightest provocation, she said, adding that he would hit her with whatever was available – coat hangers, telephones, a wooden shoe stretcher, his fists.
Often, she said, he’d even beat her before they went onstage.
“He’d hit me in the ribs, and then always try to give me a black eye. He wanted his abuse to be seen. That was the shameful part,” Turner said in a 2005 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Tina sang lead on most of their songs with the help of female backup singers, while her husband remained in the background, usually on guitar. Their musical partnership yielded a string of R&B hits, including “A Fool In Love,” “Nutbush City Limits” and “Proud Mary,” their 1971 cover of a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, which reached No. 4 on the pop charts and won them a Grammy.
But offstage their marriage remained tumultuous, fueled in part by Ike Turner’s cocaine addiction.
“Another night we had a fight in the dressing room, and when I went onstage, my face was swollen,” she told Winfrey. “I think my nose was broken because blood was gushing into my mouth when I sang. Before, I’d been able to hide under makeup. But you can’t hide swelling.”
She stuck with Ike Turner for more than a decade, terrified of his temper and determined not to abandon him like others had.
But things came to a head inJuly 1976when they flew to Dallas for a show. Turner wrote in her book that after a flight on the airplane, her husband began hitting her in a car on the way to their hotel. While he slept, she slipped out of their room, carrying only a Mobil credit card and 36 cents – “a quarter, a dime and a penny.”
She fled across a busy highway to a motel, where a sympathetic clerk saw her bloodied face and gave her a room. She then called a lawyer she knew, who arranged for a friend to pick her up and put her on an airplane back to Los Angeles.
“After my plane landed in California, my heart was in my ears. I was afraid Ike would be there because when I’d left once before, he tracked me down on a bus…” she told Oprah. “So when I got off that plane, I ran like mad. I said to myself, ‘If he’s here, I’m going to scream for the police. And I had one chant in my head: ‘I will die before I go back.’”
Tina Turner: A look back at the life of the "Queen of Rock and Roll"From CNN's Lisa Respers France
Tina Turner was a dynamic rock and soul singer who rose from humble beginnings and overcame a notoriously abusive marriage to become one of the most popular female artists of all time.
She was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 to poor sharecroppers near Nutbush, Tennessee, a rural community north of Memphis that she later made famous in her autobiographical song, “Nutbush City Limits.” She spent her early years living with her grandmother after her parents split.
“We weren’t in poverty. We had food on the table. We just didn’t have fancy things, like bicycles,” Turner said in a 2005 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“We were church people, so on Easter, we got all done up. I was very innocent and didn’t know much else. I knew the radio — B.B. King, country and western,”Turner said.“That’s about it. I didn’t know anything about being a star until the white people allowed us to come down and watch their television once a week.”
Following the death of their grandmother in the 1950s, Turner and her sister Ruby moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to live with their mother.
It was in St. Louis that she began to visit some of the local clubs and met musician Ike Turner, whose band, Kings of Rhythm, were popular in the area. He recruited her at age 17 to join his band as a singer.
“Ike had to come to the house and ask Ma if it was OK for me to sing with him. He knew I had the potential to be a star. We were close, like brother and sister,” Turner told Winfrey.
She began performing as Tina Turner and, in 1960, they formed the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.
Their relationship evolved and their son Ronnie was born that same year. They married in 1962 and raised four children, including two children from Ike’s previous relationships and Tina’s son, Craig, also from a previous relationship.
A riveting live performer, Turner had a string of R&B hits in the 1960s and early ’70s with her domineering and violent husband Ike Turner before she left him — fleeing their Dallas hotel room with 36 cents.
Her solo career floundered for years before she mounted a stunning comeback in 1984 with her multiplatinum album “Private Dancer” and its No. 1 hit, “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”
Before long Turner was a global superstar, commanding MTV with her spiky wigs, short skirts and famously long legs strutting across concert stages in three-inch heels.
Her talent earned her acclaim as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” while her resiliency made her a hero to battered women everywhere. When she sang of pain and heartache in her husky, full-throated voice, every word rang true.
“For a long time I felt like I was stuck, with no way out of the unhealthy situation I was in,” she told Harvard Business Review in 2021. “But then I had a series of encounters with different people who encouraged me … And once I could see myself clearly, I began to change, opening the way to confidence and courage. It took a few years, but finally I was able to stand up for my life and start anew.”
Read more about Turner’s extraordinary life.
Tina Turner, resilient singer hailed as the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll," dies at 83From CNN's Lisa Respers France and Brandon Griggs
Tina Turner performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 23, 1997 in Mountain View California.
Tina Turner, the dynamic rock and soul singer who rose from humble beginnings and overcame a notoriously abusive marriage to become one of the most popular female artists of all time, has died, according to a post on her verified Facebook account. She was 83.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner. With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow. Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music. All our heartfelt compassion goes out to her family. Tina, we will miss you dearly,” the statement read.
CNN has reached out to representatives for Turner for further comment.
Tina Turner was honored last year with a Barbie doll inspired by "What’s Love Got to Do With It"From CNN's Zoe Sottile
A Barbie doll in the likeness of musician Tina Turner is in front of the Christopher Street Station in Manhattan on October 17, 2022.
In 2022, Tina Turner was immortalized with a Barbie doll in her honor.
The doll was inspired by Turner’s Grammy-winning hit, “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” The Barbie depicts Turner’s outfit from the song’s music video, wearing a black mini dress, denim jacket and drop earrings, along with her famous hairstyle.
It was designed to celebrate the singer’s “unmatched career,”according to an Instagram post from the official Barbie account.
“What’s Love Got to Do With It” was released in 1984. The song, taken from Turner’s fifth solo album, received three awards at the 1985 Grammys and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2012.
Tina Turner sold rights to her music catalog to music publishing company BMG in 2021From CNN's Amy Woodyatt
In 2021, Tina Turner sold the rights to her music catalog spanning six decades — including songs “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “The Best” — to music publishing company BMG.
The legendary singer also sold the artist’s share of her recordings, her music publishing writer’s share, neighboring rights and name, image and likeness as part of the deal, according to BMG, which did not disclose financial terms.
Industry experts estimated the deal was worth more than $50 million, specialist publication Music Business Worldwidereported.
“Tina Turner’s musical journey has inspired hundreds of millions of people around the world and continues to reach new audiences. We are honored to take on the job of managing Tina Turner’s musical and commercial interests,” BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said in a statement. “It is a responsibility we take seriously and will pursue diligently.”
Turner was the first Black artist and the first female artist to feature on the cover of Rolling Stone, BMG said. Her solo works include 10 studio albums, two live albums, two soundtracks and five compilations, which in total have sold more than 100 million records.
“Like any artist, the protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, is something personal,” Turner had said in a statement. “I am confident that with BMG and Warner Music my work is in professional and reliable hands.”