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Born Anna Mae Bullock on Nov. 26, 1939, Tina Turner came from humble beginnings. Her parents were struggling sharecroppers, who split up when she was 11 years old and left Tina and her sister, Alline, to be raised by their grandmother in Nutbush, Tennessee.
However, Turner found her way to the top, winning eight Grammys, critical acclaim and the adoration of fans through the course of her lengthy career.
On what would have been her 84th birthday on Nov. 26, take a look back at the late superstar’s life in photos.
Tina Turner’s Early Life
After her grandmother died when she was 16, Tina followed her mother to St. Louis. It was there where she got involved in the music scene and met her future husband, Ike Turner.
Tina Turner’s Star Turn
In 1965, during a performance with his former band, Kings of Rhythm, Ike called on the then-17-year-old Tina to sing onstage. Enamored by her innate stage presence and raspy vocals, Ike was keen to develop her budding talent and allowed her to hang around the band.
Preparation met opportunity when the singer who was booked to record “A Fool in Love” didn’t show up for the recording session, and Tina rose to the occasion.
“A Fool in Love” was an instant hit and Ike realized he needed Tina in his troupe. He changed her name to Tina Turner and she became the lead vocalist for what became known as Ike & Tina Turner Revue.
Ike and Tina Turner’s Marriage
Though Ike and Tina’s relationship was platonic at first, with Tina admitting in the HBO Max documentary, Tina, she viewed him as a big brother, their connection gradually escalated to romance and they got married in 1962.
But their union was no sweeping love story. For one, the pair got married in Tijuana in a ceremony the “Proud Mary” singer found out about the same day.
“When Ike asked me to marry him, I knew it was for a reason,” she told Gayle King in an interview for CBS Good Morning. “But I had to say yes, I knew, or it was going to be a fight.”
Ike was famously abusive and the marriage ultimately ended in divorce 16 years later.
Tina Turner’s ‘Proud Mary’
While the association between “Proud Mary” and Tina is indelible, the song is actually not an original Ike and Tina record.
According to Biography.com, the song was written by John Fogerty, lead singer of the band Creedence Clearwater Revival, in 1967 and became a crowd favorite when Ike and Tina Turner Revue would perform.
As the duo was working on their second album, Workin’ Together, Tina suggested Ike add the song since it had so much success on the road. Ike added the famed guitar riffs and other production elements to make it the hit we know today.
“Proud Mary” reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 5 on the R&B chart in 1971, Biography.com reports. The song sold more than 1 million copies and earned the duo a Grammy Award for best R&B vocal performance by a group.
Tina Turner Reclaims Her Name
In 1976, Tina filed for divorce from Ike after managing to escape his grip. The “I Don’t Wanna Lose You” singer chose not to fight over any of the assets they had accrued together, though she did want the rights to her stage name, which she won.
Tina Turner’s Comeback
After divorcing Ike, Tina found herself in financial arrears. Not only were there business debts to settle, she was also in charge of the four kids the couple shared as proceedings dragged on.
To make ends meet, she went back on tour and began her comeback performing covers.
In 1983, she was signed to Capitol Records, with whom she released Private Dancer. The album housed hits such as the titular song, “Private Dancer,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and “Better Be Good to Me.”
The album earned three Grammy Awards and has been dubbed one of the biggest comebacks in music history.
Tina Turner’s Private Dancer Tour
Following the release of the hit album, Tina embarked on a tour from February 1985 to December 1985. The Private Dancer tour encompassed a whopping 182 dates throughout Europe, North America, Australia and Asia.
Tina Turner Headlines the Super Bowl XXXIV Halftime Show
In 2000, Tina lit up the stage at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta when she headlined the Super Bowl halftime show that year. It would be one of her last performances before she went on hiatus for a few years.
Tina Turner at the Kennedy Center Honors
In 2005, Tina was among one of the artists who received a Kennedy Center Honor for her contribution to the culture. In her class were other legends such as Robert Redford, Tony Bennett, Suzanne Farrell and Julie Harris.
Tina Turner Finds Love Again
In 2013, Tina tied the knot with her long-term beau, music producer Erwin Bach, after 27 years together. They spent their time quietly together in Zurich, Switzerland.
The pair first met in 1986 at Cologne Bonn Airport where Bach was assigned to pick the singer up. The connection was instantaneous.
“He was [16 years] younger [than me]. He was 30 years old at the time and had the prettiest face. I mean, you cannot [describe] it,” Tina stated in an HBO Max documentary about her life. “It was like insane. [I thought], ‘Where did he come from?’ He was really so good-looking. My heart [was beating fast] and it means that a soul has met, and my hands were shaking.”
Tina Turner’s 50th Anniversary Tour
After taking some much-deserved time off — eight years away from the public eye, to be exact — Tina announced while on The Oprah Show that she’d be hitting the stage one more time. She was 68.
The 50th Anniversary Tour began in October 2008 and went through May 2009 with a total of 84 sold-out dates across North America and Europe.
This would be her final tour, as she announced her retirement once the tour wrapped.
Tina Turner on Broadway
In 2018, the living legend made one last foray into the public eye when Tina: The Tina Turner Musical premiered on Broadway. Like What’s Love Got to Do With It — a 1993 film following Tina’s life in the spotlight — the play chronicled her illustrious life and career, but focused more on her comeback era and mega hits.
Tina Turner’s Final Years
Throughout her five-decade-long career, Tina amassed a slew of awards, including eight Grammys, three AMAs, seven Billboard Music Awards and many more.
She received three Grammy Hall of Fame Awards for “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” “River Deep, Mountain High” and “Proud Mary.”
She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice — the first time in 1991 with Ike, and the second time in 2021, weeks ahead of her 82nd birthday.
On May 24, 2023, Tina died at age 83 after a long illness at her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.
“With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model,” her spokesperson, Bernard Doherty, said in a statement.