Tina Turner Has Died At Age 83

Her life, rich with triumph and resilience, inspired "TINA - THE Tina Turner Musical," a powerful retelling of her journey that has left an indelible mark.

By: May. 24, 2023
Tina Turner Has Died At Age 83

Tina Turner, the "Queen of Rock'n Roll" has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.  With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model. 

With her music and her inexhaustible vitality, Tina Turner thrilled millions of fans and inspired many artists of subsequent generations. Global hits like "What's Love Got To Do With it", "Private Dancer" and "The Best", more than 180 million albums sold, 12 Grammy Awards and over three decades of sold-out stadium tours around the world are just part of her unique legacy.

There will be a private funeral ceremony attended by close friends and family.

Her life, rich with triumph and resilience, inspired TINA - THE Tina Turner Musical, a powerful retelling of her journey that has left an indelible mark on the world of theater.

A collaborative effort between Tina Turner and Stage Entertainment, James L. Nederlander, and Tali Pelman, the musical captured the essence of her compelling life story. Its narrative, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Katori Hall alongside Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins, encapsulated the strength of a woman who overcame the challenges of racism, sexism, and ageism, to ultimately ascend to the throne as the global Queen of Rock n' Roll.

The creative team behind the musical matched its compelling narrative with a top-tier production. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast, the musical was a visual spectacle that mirrored Turner's vibrant energy and groundbreaking style. The set and costume designs by Mark Thompson, along with lighting by Bruno Poet, and sound design by Nevin Steinberg, further brought to life the decades-spanning journey of Turner.

The musical had its world premiere in London in April 2018, where it was met with critical acclaim and broke box office records at the Aldwych Theatre. The success of the original production led to further stagings in Hamburg, Germany, and on Broadway in 2019, Utrecht, Netherlands, in 2020, Madrid, Spain, in 2021, a 2022 US Tour, and a 2023 production in Sydney, Australia.

After nearly fifty years in the music business, Tina Turner became one of the most commercially-successful international female rock stars of her time. Her sultry, powerful voice, her incredible legs, her time-tested beauty and her unforgettable story all contributed to her legendary status. The world mourned her passing as it reflected on the incredible legacy she left behind.

Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, in Haywood County, Tennessee, to Zelma Priscilla (Currie) and Floyd Richard Bullock. Her family were sharecroppers. Tina was raised in the segregated South. She and her elder sister were abandoned by their sparring parents early on and were then raised by their grandparents. After her grandmother's death, she eventually moved to St. Louis, Missouri to reunite with her mother. This opened up a whole new world of R&B nightclubs to the precocious 16-year-old.

Her introduction to stardom began when she was called up to sing on-stage with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm in 1956. She displayed a natural talent for performing which the band leader was keen to develop. Soon, Anna Mae's aspirations of a nursing career were forgotten and she began to frequent the group's performances. When the singer booked to record "A Fool in Love" failed to turn up for the session, Ike drafted in Anna Mae to provide the vocal with the intention of removing it later. However, once he heard her spine-tingling performance of the song, he soon changed his plans. He changed her name to Tina Turner and when the record became a hit, Tina became a permanent fixture in Ike's band and his quest for international stardom. One thing led to another: they were married in Mexico between the births of Tina's two sons - the first a result of an earlier relationship with a musician, the second with Ike.

The Ike and Tina Turner Revue tore up large and small R&B and soul venues throughout the early and mid-1960s. The hits were relatively few, but the unsurpassed energy and excitement generated by the live stage show (read: Tina) made the Revue a solid touring act, along with the likes of James Brown and Ray Charles. Their greatest attempt to "cross over" came in 1966 with the historic recording of the Phil Spector production, "River Deep, Mountain High". While it was a commercial flop in the United States, it was a monster hit in Europe - marking the start of Tina's European superstar status, which never faded during her long stint of relative obscurity in America in the late 1970s.

Entering the 1970s, the Revue was a top touring and recording act, with Tina becoming more and more recognized as the star power behind the group's international success. Ike, while justly described as an excellent musician and a shrewd businessman, was also described (by Tina and others) as a violent, drug-addicted wife-beater. Despite hits such as "Proud Mary" and Tina's self-penned "Nutbush City Limits", further mainstream success eluded the group and Ike blamed Tina. After years of misery and a failed suicide attempt, Tina finally had enough in July 1976, when she fled the marriage (and the Revue).

Enduring a long and, at times, humiliating trek back to superstardom, Tina worked many substandard gigs and performed a repertoire of current Top 40 hits and old Ike & Tina tunes in hotel ballrooms and supper clubs. She now admitted she was having the time of her life at this point, simply putting together her own show and performing. She refused to wrangle for a settlement from the divorce, despite being in huge debt to all the tour promoters she had let down by fleeing the Revue.

After an appearance on Olivia Newton-John: Hollywood Nights (1980), Tina persuaded Newton-John's management team to take her on. With Roger Davies at her side, Tina's profile began to rise, and performances alongside the likes of Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones introduced her to the rock market she so wanted to pursue.

The European release of her cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" in 1983 was a major turning point in Tina's career. The record hit #6 in the British chart and Capitol Records were soon demanding a full album. "Private Dancer" was hurriedly produced in England in two weeks. The rest is rock and roll history. The next single - "What's Love Got to Do with It?" - became Tina's first #1 single the following year and the album hung around the Top 10 for months, spawning two further hits. At the 1985 Grammy Awards, her astonishing comeback was recognized with nominations in the rock, R&B and pop categories and rewarded with four trophies.

In the years that followed, the successes just kept coming: a starring role in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985); duets with Bryan Adams, David Bowie, Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger amongst others; several sell-out world tours; a string of hit albums and awards; a bestselling autobiography, "I, Tina"; and the blockbuster biopic What's Love Got to Do with It (1993) chronicling her life.

After her "Twenty Four Seven Millenium Tour" in 2000, Tina announced her retirement from the concert stage, but continued to record and play live on a smaller scale. Four years later, at age 65, she released a career retrospective entitled "All the Best" featuring new recordings, and reached #2 in the American album chart, her highest-ever placing for an album there. She ended 2005 as one of five recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, the highest form of recognition of excellence in the arts in America.

Tina Turner left an indelible mark on the music world. Despite changing the direction of her working life, she was always remembered as a dynamic live performer and recording artist, able to thrill audiences like no other woman in music history. Tina Turner was, and will forever be remembered as, the undisputed Queen of Rock and Roll.

Play Broadway Games

The Broadway Match-Up The Broadway Scramble
Tony Awards Trivia Broadway World Game


Tony Nominee Rose Gregorio Passes Away at 97 Photo
Tony Nominee Rose Gregorio Passes Away at 97

Rose Gregorio, a Tony nominee for her performance in The Shadow Box, has passed away at the age of 97. 

Frank Owens, Musical Director For ITS SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO, Dies Photo
Frank Owens, Musical Director For IT'S SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO, Dies

Frank Owens, Broadway Musical Virtuoso, Former Musical Director for 'It's Showtime at the Apollo' Dies. A pianist for nearly seven decades, Owens backed talent on Broadway stages, recording studios and TV sets – backing artists from Lena Horne to The Washington Ballet.

Video: Remembering Michael McGrath Photo
Video: Remembering Michael McGrath

Veteran actor Michael McGrath passed away at the age of 65. With these videos, we are remembering McGrath with highlights from some of his greatest onstage moments.

Tony Award-Winning Actor Michael McGrath Dies At Age 65 Photo
Tony Award-Winning Actor Michael McGrath Dies At Age 65

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report the passing of Tony Award-winning actor Michael McGrath.



Recommended For You