“Simply the best”, simply the best, as one of his songs says. Tina Turnerwho died this Wednesday at the age of 83, racked up hits during her long career as a rocker, revived in the 1980s.
Black skin, long blonde hair, a devastating smile and an explosive performance on stage: the “queen of rock‘n’roll” wowed stadium crowds around the world.
From Canada to Australia, more than 200 million people have applauded the singer, a true showbiz miracle that earned her eight Grammy Awards.
July 1976: Tina sneaks out of the hotel room in Dallas, Texas, where her husband, singer Ike Turner, who had just hit her for the last time, is sleeping. At 36, she has hit rock bottom.
He only has 36 cents in his pocket, he has just finished the tour that was going to start that night and begins a wandering existence to escape this drug addict and violent husband.
The turbulent life with Ike
The couple had met 20 years earlier in Saint-Louis (Missouri, center). Tina, who was still called Anna Mae Bullock, was just 16 years old and sang for “Kings of Rhythm,” the blues group led by Ike Turner, eight years her senior.
With Ike, Tina, born in Nutbush, Tennessee, on November 26, 1939, escapes her fate as the daughter of divorced workers, placed at an early age as a maid.
But she also discovers the violence of a man who decides everything and makes her change her name and surname.
“The Ike and Tina Turner Revue” became one of the most popular black bands in the country in the 1960s.
But the group, which spins at the hellish pace of 270 concerts a year, struggles to break through the black circuit.
Things changed in 1966 when Ike and his musicians opened the Rolling Stones’ UK tour, opening the door for the pair to success in Europe.
England will also be the occasion for Tina Turner start his career in the cinema, with “Tommy” (1975), the opera rock of the British pioneers of the mod movement, The Who.
But Ike takes offense at his wife’s success, until in 1976 his victim finally runs away.
Changing hideouts regularly to escape her pursuer, Tina ends up getting a divorce and takes refuge in Buddhism.
But the debts were piling up and his career seemed to be on the sidelines. Until the day he meets Australian producer Roger Davies, who had already launched Joe Cocker’s career.
Roger changes everything: look, musicians, repertoire and gives the singer a decidedly rocker boost. Tina returns to the stage alongside such giants as Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and David Bowie.
In 1983, Tina reprises a 1971 hit, “Let’s Stay Together,” which marked her resurrection. But it wasn’t until that song was number six on the UK charts that the single was finally released in America.
The following year is the year of consecration with the album “Private Dancer”, whose authorship is signed by guitarist Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits).
With “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, Tina finally makes it to the top of the charts in her native country.
He triumphed in the cinema in 1985 in the third film of “Mad Max”, with Mel Gibson and signs another success: “We Don’t Need Another Hero”.
End of life in Switzerland
With over 50 million albums sold, Tina Turner rack up fake farewell tours. At 70, she was still active on the stage.
He settled permanently in Europe in the 1980s, dividing his life between Zurich and a villa in Villefranche-sur-Mer, near Nice, with his partner Erwin Bach, 17 years his junior. They married in 2013, when she also took Swiss nationality and abandoned the American one.
She racked up distinctions such as the French Medal of Arts and Letters and an invitation to the White House from George W. Bush, who greeted her with the title of “the most famous legs in show business.”
Tragedy struck his life in 2018 with the suicide at the age of 59 of his eldest son Craig, the result of his relationship with saxophonist Raymond Hill.