They called her an icon, and “one of the most powerful and charismatic performers in the world.” She was hailed time and again as a force of nature, a living legend. Countless writers, fans, and fellow musicians over the years declared “Tina Turner is the Queen of Rock and Roll.”
Turner, who was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 to a farm manager and his wife in Brownsville, Tennessee, died on May 24 at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, at the age of 83. No specific cause of death has been given, but she had struggled with multiple health issues – including a stroke, intestinal cancer, and kidney failure – for a decade.
The journey from her childhood home in the rural town of Nutbush to her castle-like villa outside Zürich (and a recently purchased $76 million “weekend getaway” not far away) was long and full of twists and turns.
As a music-loving teenager, by then living in St. Louis, Bullock encountered rhythm-and-blues star Ike Turner, eventually joining his band as a vocalist and then marrying him. Touring and recording as Ike & Tina Turner, the two had some initial successes in the early ‘60s, but attracted widespread attention for the first time in 1966 with the epic “wall of sound” single “River Deep-Mountain High,” produced by Phil Spector.
The record wasn’t a big success in the U.S., but it was the start of something. Over the next decade, Ike & Tina opened for the Rolling Stones (and Tina became the first female and first Black woman to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone), won Grammy nominations, and had a string of genuine hits, including “Proud Mary” and “Nutbush City Limits.” They became one of the most popular musical duos of all time.
Click here for a list of Tina Turner’s biggest hit albums
The two split up in 1976 – Ike was addicted to cocaine (which eventually killed him) and abusive – and Tina’s career quieted down. She did cabaret shows, Italian television, and a controversial tour of South Africa. In 1983, though, a hit cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” got her a solo album deal. That album, “Private Dancer,” yielded one of her most famous singles, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” – which also became the title of a Turner 1993 biopic, starring Angela Bassett – and won her three Grammys. One hit single and best-selling album after another followed, as did countless awards and honors.
In 1986, Turner met a German music business professional named Erwin Bach, 16 years her junior. They started dating and didn’t stop. After 27 years, in 2013, they got married in Switzerland. At the time, Turner relinquished her American citizenship and adopted Swiss nationality – joining the ranks of famous Americans who are no longer U.S. citizens.
Turner announced her retirement in 2000, but made a comeback in 2008, performing at the Grammy Awards with Beyoncé, and embarking on a 90-show North American and European “50th Anniversary Tour” – which became one of the best-selling tours of all time by any artist.
In 2009, she retired again, and this time she meant it – though she remained active in charitable works, wrote autobiographical and self-help books, and developed a musical based on her life story.
Both as a solo artist and with Ike, Turner released more than 80 albums, counting compilations and soundtracks, over the span of her career. To identify Tina Turner’s best albums, 24/7 Tempo reviewed every album on the Billboard 200, a record chart ranking database tracking popularity of musical albums released in the United States since 1963. Our ranking is based on the total cumulative weeks each album spent on the Billboard chart.
Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor
Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.