On the 26th of November, 1939, Anna May Bullock astounded her parents with her inaugural wail upon her entrance into the world. While it is not uncommon for infants of diverse ethnic backgrounds to possess vigorous vocal cords at birth, the resounding timbre of Anna’s cry was particularly remarkable, foreshadowing her future, fabled existence.
Anna, endowed with remarkable aptitude, unfortunately entered this world as a scion of indigence. Her mother toiled ceaselessly as a female laborer in the factory, while her father, after undergoing the sacrament of baptism, assumed the role of a steward on the farm. The meager wages earned by both parents scarcely sufficed to sustain the family. During the Second World War, her parents relocated in search of employment, leaving Anna in the care of relatives until after the war’s cessation. However, a few years later, the reunited family was once again separated, and her mother ventured alone to St. Louis for work. Anna was reared by her grandmother until her reunion with her mother during her high school years.
It was during this period that she encountered the man who would irrevocably alter the trajectory of her life: Ike Turner. He served as the frontman for the esteemed “King of Rhythm” ensemble, possessing prowess in songwriting and musical instrumentation. As early as 1951, his album “Rocket 88” secured his induction into the illustrious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. When chance brought the two together, Anna boldly inquired if she might have the opportunity to perform a song in his presence. Initially perceiving her audacious request as jest, Ike Turner eventually relented in response to Anna’s persistent entreaties. As Anna unleashed her vocal prowess, all present were profoundly moved by her melodic expressions, astonished that such a tender age could encapsulate such explosive vocal resonance.
Ike Turner, captivated by Anna’s prodigious talents, promptly inducted her into his ensemble, bestowing upon her the stage name “Tina.” Two years hence, they exchanged vows in Mexico, and henceforth, she became known as Tina Turner. Together, they formed their own musical group, the “Eck and Tina” ensemble. Despite her tender age of merely twenty-one, Tina rapidly ascended to prominence, emerging as a rising luminary within the world of music. It was during this period that she began incorporating dynamic dance movements into her performances, enthralling audiences and engendering a succession of emotional climaxes. This marked the genesis of Tina’s distinctive performing style.
Simultaneously, Tina’s husband, Eke, increasingly succumbed to indolence and apathy. Bereft of creative intent, he steadily revealed inclinations toward domestic violence. Within the confines of their household, Eke maintained complete dominion over Tina, resorting to physical abuse whenever she failed to meet his expectations. The bond between the couple teetered upon the precipice of dissolution. On one occasion, Tina suffered a broken nose, necessitating plastic surgery. She even contemplated self-inflicted harm on multiple occasions, albeit without success. Ultimately, in her thirties, Tina reached a nadir, teetering on the brink of mental collapse. Following another instance of domestic violence, she summoned the courage to escape the clutches of her family.
In 1976, after a decade of matrimony, Tina Turner mustered the strength to initiate divorce proceedings, finally severing ties with her tormentor, Eke, a man who embodied both love and loathing. At that time, she possessed a mere 36 cents and a gasoline card.
Post-divorce, Tina Turner released two albums, both of which garnered lackluster sales. Plunged into despair, Tina inked a contract with the esteemed record label “Capitol,” causing a sensation across Europe with her rendition of Al Green’s classic, “Let’s Stay Together.” This marked the turning point in her beleaguered career.
Her hastily assembled follow-up album, “Exclusive Dancer,” propelled her back into the limelight, with chart-topping hits “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and “Exclusive Dancer,” captivating audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. To this day, the album stands as one of the best-selling records in the world.
At the age of forty-five, Tina commenced a musical odyssey, defying the conventions that dictated retirement for many of her illustrious peers. From 1987 to 1988, Tina’s global tour traversed numerous nations, attracting millions of enraptured spectators and propelling her to the zenith of solo stardom.
As the 1990s dawned, Tina Turner emerged as the undisputed “Queen of Rock and Roll,” holding sway over a plethora of accolades, including eight Grammy Awards and the distinction of commanding the highest tour fees worldwide. In 1995, she lent her voice to the theme song of “007’s Golden Eye,” an anthem that resonates to this daywith her departure from this earthly realm, Tina Turner’s extraordinary life drew to a close on the 24th of May, 2023, at her abode in Switzerland, succumbing to a prolonged illness at the ripe age of 83. Thus, the realm of music bid farewell to a true legend.