Obituary for Tina Turner: The Master of Resurrection


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Kcan an imperfect voice be beautiful? Sure, all you had to do was listen to Tina Turner. There was always this roughness to the point of screaming. But she could also sound like a tortured animal. A creaturely sound that she knew how to transform into captivating, unmistakably individual tones with the greatest skill, sovereignty, imagination and energy.

Then again, this aggressive, yet self-contained Turner tube, glaring and full of vibrato, was capable of an immense number of mood nuances between sky-high rejoicing and deathly sad, crazy happy and fucked up – or as she sang it and said: “River Deep – Mountain High”.

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Tina Turner, that was always emotion and energy – including all the ups and downs of this unique career. Far more than this small, delicate but tough person would have you believe, who, by the way, had also made the sometimes shaggy, sometimes smooth brushed wig socially acceptable in the rock business of all places.

Obit Tina Turner

1985 in Los Angeles: Tina Turner receives a Grammy Award

What: AP/Nick Ut

And of course it was the story of a black woman who was nearly beaten to pieces and drugged by her discoverer, husband and alleged owner Ike Turner in the hard and fast lived ’70s. She was at times completely down and still made a radiantly self-confident comeback in the mid-80s when she was over forty. And which made many a younger pop siren pale and showed it to the makers and blokes.

Raising her head, wiping the tears from the corners of her eyes, walking straight ahead on her high heels and making it clear that an unprivileged girl from a cotton-picking family from Nutbush City – also this Tennessee town she created a hit monument – can do it . Even twice.

Resurrection Phoenix Miracle from the Ashes

And whose later career became even bigger, great, dazzling, more enviable when they became classic and timeless – with a fantastic, idiosyncratic look all in black and songs grandiosely tailored to them, often with a second level. It was so present that, although she hadn’t appeared lately, one was ill and wondered in amazement whether Turner, who has now died, was really 83 years old.

The Tina Turner of the 80s and 90s, this self-confident resurrected phoenix wonder from the ashes of a long-gone career, of course, that was always this once glittering diva at the side of the lithe Ike, who had re-pupated and is now a minimalist moth threw out vocal crimson dust. A vocal and social phenomenon.

“The Best”, “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, “We Don’t Need Another Hero”, “Private Dancer” have long been supple, classic songs and at the same time confessions: This Tina Turner was able to Age worthy with their fans and their children as followers.

Singer Tina Turner dies at 83

Turner at a concert in Scotland in 1987

Those: dpa/Pa

She sang the iconic “Golden Eye” for James Bond in 1995 and drove more than 180,000 viewers live at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. A great, eternal, ageless, dignified, until the last regular album “Twenty Four Seven” (1999) and her self-chosen farewell tour from 2009. She was 69 years old and had sold 180 million records.

Tina, the divine

Tina, the divine, was celebrated once again and for the last time as a global idol, despite all the stories of blood and tears. At the age of 45, this sore, strong woman had already become her own, albeit very living monument. Who had fun as a little actor fling from the rock star path in the end-time spectacle “Mad Max III – Unter der Thunderdome” next to Mel Gibson as a criminal Aunty Entity in a ragged costume and gloomily rolled his eyes.

At the same time, this became Tina Turner, and in 1992 the biographical film “Tina – What’s Love Got to Do with It?” was released, as well as the corresponding soundtrack as an album, a finally happy wife. Turner led a wonderfully stuffy middle-class life with the Cologne music manager Erwin Bach near Zurich in Switzerland, she couldn’t emphasize it often enough with relish. They only got married in 2013. He donated a kidney to her, was there for her when she got cancer, her two biological sons died, and let her end her old age gently.

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Tina Turner with husband Erwin Bach

On her 80th birthday, Tina Turner announced in a final video message: “I look great. I feel good. I have survived some serious illnesses. And get a second chance. I am happy.”

Singer Tina Turner dies at 83

In 2000, as part of her farewell tour, Turner gave a concert in Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion

Source: dpa/Stefan Hesse

Someone had defied the tough rock star existence, the deformities and temptations, had been broken and healed again. She had almost drawn strength from the injuries that had been inflicted on her and which she now spoke out aggressively without ever appearing as a victim. She took her life into her own hands, reinvented herself, in a sharp leather skirt, different but authentic. Her aura could be felt during performances, even from hundreds of meters away from the screen in the stadium. That was honest, sincere singing work, service to the fan, but also the ecstasy of still being a rock stand-up woman. Even if her sweat was digital, you thought you felt it wet.

Born 1939 as Anna Mae Bullock

Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939. In the segregated American South, she was only truly happy in the choir of her Baptist church. In 1958 she became a backing singer for Ike Turner and his band Kings of Rhythm. In 1960 she stepped in as lead singer and recorded “A Fool in Love”. Suddenly she was number 27 on the US charts.

Ike called Anna Mae Tina and by the time the two married in 1962, it was gig after gig. The crazy Phil Spector produced them and made the act known in Europe. Her self-written signature song “Nutbush City Limits” reached number two in the German single charts in 1973 and lasted 26 weeks.

Tina Turner died

Ike and Tina Turner perform as a duo in California (undated recording)

Source: dpa/Bert Reisfeld

In 1976, Tina Turner left her violent husband. In 1978 she was finally divorced, but broke with a pile of tax debts. Whether disco or soul, nobody wanted to hear the solo voice of Tina Turner at first. She muddled through.

But her new manager Roger Davies was persistent, making her visible again through guest appearances with Tom Jones, Rod Stewart, David Bowie and as the support act for the Rolling Stones. Nevertheless, she remained a worn-out old star for the record companies.

Until Tina Turner recorded a cover version of the Al Green song “Let’s Stay Together” for Capitol Records, which became a hit in Europe in 1983. The result was the 1984 album “Private Dancer”. The rest is rock history, manifested in the follow-up album from 1986, prophetically titled Break Every Rule. The autobiography “I, Tina – My Life” followed – and the new star was back on solid ground.

Tina Turner remained a star, walking tall, as a professing Buddhist, to the end. In the spring of 2018, Turner – who has long since retired – came to life again with “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical” at London’s Aldwych Theatre. March 2019 was in Hamburger Operettenhaus German premiere. So by then she was already immortal, raptured as an idol.

The real Tina Turner died on May 24th after a long illness in her Château Algonquin near Küsnacht. But the voice, simply the bestshe continues to roar: “River Deep – Mountain High”.

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