We say goodbye to the Queen of Rock and role Tina Turner. Her distinct hair, style, clothes, and that rock voice. She was rock and roll personified in a life.
Tina Turner (Anna Mae Bullock) was born on 26 November 1939 in Tennesse. She picked cotton at an early age with her family. When she was 11 her mother run away from her abusive father. Two years after her mother left, her father married another woman and sent her and her sisters to live with their maternal Grandmother. She stated in her autobiography I, Tina. That she thought her parents didn’t love and want her.
“I would have been lost in my life at that point without him. I mean, I could do two things: work in a hospital or sing in Ike’s band. I didn’t know anything else. Or anyone else. And I wanted to sing.” Tina Turner
Tina met Ike Turner at the Manhattan Club in New Orleans. She was impressed by his band and later on, after watching her sing, he allowed her to sing with them. Tina became Tina after writing” A Fool in love” for Art Lassiter who failed to show up to record the song. Tina sang lead and Juggy Murray of Sue Records said she sounded like “screaming dirt.. a funky sound”. Murray convinced Ike to make Tina the star. Ike named her Tina after Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Tina rhymed with Sheena.
Tina would become Ike’s fool in love. Before they became a couple, Tina said they had a brother and sister from another lifetime relationship. Tina dated Raymond Hill ( who lived with Ike) the saxophonist from Ike’s Kings of Rhythm. She moved in with Hill during her senior year of high school after becoming pregnant with his child. Hill left Tina before their son Craig was born.
Ike had a live-in girlfriend Lorraine Taylor who he cheated on with Tina. After recording a fool in love Tina told Ike she didn’t want to continue the relationship. He hit her in the head with a shoe stretcher. She stayed even though she was afraid of him, she didn’t know she had written her own future with A fool love.
She stayed because she loved him and he had done so much for her. They had a son Ronnie on October 1960, and moved to Los Angeles in 1962 with Ronnie, Craig, and Ike’s sons with Lorraine, Ike Jnr. and Michael. They married in Tijuana. Ike was abusive and a cheater throughout the marriage. Tina tried to commit suicide in 1968. Ike was diagnosed as bipolar in his later years. Ike Died on 12 December 2007.
On July 1 1967 Tina decided she had, had enough. What’s love got to do with it. She divorced Ike. After she played small clubs and lived on food stamps to pay debt for almost 2 years. Ike still denied beating her citing he slapped her and they had fights, he punched her to the ground without thinking but never beat her. His delusion was outstanding, he said he still loved her. In 1968 Tina finally found love with a man she found simply the best, better than all the rest; Erwin Back (over 16 years younger than her). After a 27 year romantic relationship they married in a civil ceremony in July 2013.
Tina became estranged from her sons ( including Ike’s who she adopted after the divorce). Tina’s son Craig died in 2018 of suspected suicide. Ronnie died of colon cancer in December 2022.
Tina Turner won 13 Grammy awards including a few times for best female rock vocal performance. 3 of her songs are in the Grammy hall of fame. She’s the only female artist to have won a Grammy in the pop, rock and R&B fields. Tina received a Grammy lifetime achievement Award in 2018. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame with Ike Turner. She’s received a Kennedy Centre Honours. Tina was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame as a solo artist. She was the first black artist and first female on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. At 44 Tina was the oldest female artist to top the Hot 100 with What’s Love Got To Do With It.
Tina dealt with multiple illnesses for years and died on 24 May 2023. Tina taught us how to be a survivor. She was the true definition of rock, a life lived on ones own terms. She was the woman who taught us we could start again. It’s never too late to change your story.
She was simply the best. She taught us what has love got to do with loving people who abuse, don’t love us back, hurt or don’t value us. She taught us we deserve simply the best love and life. The legs, the dancer. The rock voice rising from dirt with funk! A Turner Tina was. Proud Mary you will keep on burning and rolling, rolling like a living river through your life and music. Rest well phoenix electrifier.
Author: Akosua Darko