Tina Turner died on May 24, 2023 in Switzerland at the age of 83. And even if the last few years have been marked by health problems, fans and companions will remember an exceptionally strong woman. ROLLING STONE has compiled ten facts that show how special the artist’s life and career really was.
1. Ike Turner owned the rights to the Tina Turner name
Tina Turner’s real name was Anna Mae Bullock. She started her musical career under the name Little Ann – only her former partner Ike Turner convinced her to take the name Tina Turner. But what few people know: Ike Turner had her name protected so that he could have replaced her with a new singer for his revue if necessary. With the divorce from Ike Turner, Tina Turner not only received the rights to the songs she had written, but also the full rights to her stage name.
2. That’s how she found the love of her life
In her memoirs, Tina Turner recalled how she met her future husband, Erwin Bach. In 1986, the artist was on tour in Europe – at Cologne/Bonn Airport, the 16-year-old German boss of the record company EMI personally picked her up. It was about Erwin Bach. “My heart suddenly started beating: boom, boom, boom! It drowned out all other sounds. My hands were freezing.” She later revealed it was love at first sight. The two married in 2013 and even after more than 30 years of partnership, Bach is said to have written her love letters.
3. Tina Turner lived according to Buddhist principles
Turner was a follower of the religious movement Sōka Gakkai International – the religion is based in part on Buddhist teachings and was founded in Japan in 1937 by Makiguchi Tsunesaburō. The singer was introduced to the organization by Valerie Bishop – a woman who worked as a staff member at Ike Turner’s recording studio.
4. Tina Turner was a huge Mad Max fan
In 1985, Turner played the role of Aunty Entity in the film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. The artist had previously come out as a big fan of the “Mad Max” series – according to her autobiography, “Mad Max II – The Executor” is even her favorite film. She had two hits and even won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Performance with “We Don’t Need Another Hero” and “One for the Living,” which also appeared in the film.
5. This is where the “Tina Turner Highway” runs
The song “Nutbush City Limits” is about the town of Nutbush, Tennessee, where Tina Turner, then Anna Mae Bullock, grew up. As a songwriter, she remembered the restrictive customs and local prohibitions that governed life in her then homeland. The section of Highway 19 between Nutbush and Brownsville was named the “Tina Turner Highway” in 2002.
6. Cooperation with other music greats
Although Tina Turner only made her big solo breakthrough with the album “Private Dancer”, she was already well connected in the music industry. Rod Stewart engaged her for a duet in 1981 “Saturday Night Live” She also performed with The Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry before David Bowie got her signed to Capitol Records.
7. Tina Turner held a world record
In 1988, Tina Turner set a new world record. Back then, during her “Break Every Rule” tour, she played in Rio de Janeiro in front of 184,000 people. No other musician in the world had played a live show of this dimension before.
8. Tina Turner also released spiritual albums
In June 2009 she released the album Beyond with yoga teacher and music therapist Regula Curti and mantra singer Dechen Shak-Dagsay. It contains: spiritual, Buddhist, but also Christian chants. All income generated should benefit charitable projects for children and young people. In 2011 and 2014 the trio continued their collaboration again – the albums “Children Beyond” and “Love Within – Beyond” were released.
9. Tina Turner’s biological children predeceased her
In July 2018, her son Craig committed suicide at the age of 59. Tina Turner had it when she was 18 – her child was from a brief relationship with saxophonist Raymond Hill. Her second son, Ronnie, was born to Ike Turner. In 2022, however, he also died. He died of cancer at the age of 62. Tina Turner wrote on Instagram: “Ronnie, you left the world way too soon. In sorrow I close my eyes and think of you, my beloved son.”
10. Ike Turner once broke her nose and jaw
Many know that Tina Turner was unhappy and abusive in her marriage to Ike Turner. But few people know how dramatic the relationship was. Between 1962 and 1976 her husband even broke her nose and jaw. With these serious injuries, she is said to have even played concerts. She also suffered third-degree burns.
“What was already ugly and hateful between us got worse with every hit of cocaine. He threw hot coffee in my face and gave me third degree burns. He used my nose as a punching ball so often that I could taste the blood in my throat as I sang. He broke my jaw. And I couldn’t remember what it was like not to have a black eye.” Luckily, Tina Turner escaped this marriage — having only 36 cents in her pocket when she escaped, she initially worked as a cleaning lady and as a singer and dancer in clubs and hotels to be able to stand on their own two feet.