Tina Turner obituary: The woman who taught Mick Jagger to dance

The woman who taught Mick Jagger to dance: Tina Turner rocketed to fame with husband Ike in the 60s – then quit abusive relationship to become 1980s MTV megastar and influence Beyoncé and Rihanna as ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’

  • Turner, who died on Wednesday aged 83, was raised in small town in Tennessee and overcame an abusive relationship to become an international megastar
  • She earned the nickname ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ with her distinctive, gravelly voice that won her a total of 12 Grammy awards and sold 200 million records
  • After an at-times troubled personal life, including her abusive relationship with Ike Turner, she settled with long-time partner Erwin Bach in Switzerland

With her unmistakable voice and a commanding stage presence, Tina Turner secured her status as the ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ with a catalogue of powerful hits that showcased her boundless energy and gravelly vocals.

And she achieved her international stardom in the face of a tough upbringing on a farming community in Tennessee and abusive relationships, with both her father and also guitarist Ike Turner.

Her unique talents, which won her 12 Grammy awards and sold 200 million albums worldwide, would inspire some of today’s most successful artists – including Beyoncé and Rihanna.

And she also took credit for teaching Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger how to dance – revealing to the Daily Mail in 2017 that she schooled him in the 1960s move the Pony.

Turner died peacefully after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, her representative said.

Turner died peacefully after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, her representative said

Tina employed her strong voice and strenuously rehearsed dance routines as lead vocalist in an ensemble called the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. The two married in Mexico in 1962. Pictured in 1975, three years before their divorce

In 1985 Turner met German music executive Erwin Bach who became her long-term partner. She married Bach in July 2013, relinquishing her U.S. citizenship and becoming a citizen of Switzerland

Turner began her career in the 1950s during the early years of rock and roll and evolved into an MTV phenomenon.

In the video for her chart-topping song ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It,’ in which she called love a ‘second-hand emotion,’ Turner epitomized 1980s style as she strutted through New York City streets with her spiky blond hair, wearing a cropped jean jacket, mini skirt, and stiletto heels.

With her taste for musical experimentation and bluntly-worded ballads, Turner gelled perfectly with a 1980s pop landscape in which music fans valued electronically-produced sounds and scorned hippie-era idealism.

Sometimes nicknamed the ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ Turner won six of her eight Grammy Awards in the 1980s. The decade saw her land a dozen songs on the Top 40, including ‘Typical Male,’ ‘The Best,’ ‘Private Dancer’ and ‘Better Be Good to Me.’ Her 1988 show in Rio de Janeiro drew 180,000 people, which remains one of the largest concert audiences for any single performer.

By then, Turner had been free from her marriage to guitarist Ike Turner for a decade.

The superstar was forthcoming about the abuse she suffered from her former husband during their marital and musical partnership in the 1960s and 1970s. She described bruised eyes, busted lips, a broken jaw and other injuries that repeatedly sent her to the emergency room.

‘Tina’s story is not one of victimhood but one of incredible triumph,’ singer Janet Jackson wrote about Turner, in a Rolling Stone issue that placed Turner at No. 63 on a list of the top 100 artists of all time.

‘She’s transformed herself into an international sensation – an elegant powerhouse,’ Jackson said.

Beyonce performs with Tina Turner at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S. February 10, 2008

Rock legend Tina Turner, the growling songstress who electrified audiences from the 1960s and went on to release hit records across five decades, has died at the age of 83

Turner in the 1960s

Tina Turner poses at home for a portrait in December 1984 in Los Angeles, California

Turner at a reception at the White House in December 2005

In 1985, Turner gave a fictional turn to her reputation as a survivor. She played the ruthless leader of an outpost in a nuclear wasteland, acting opposite Mel Gibson in the third instalment in the Mad Max franchise, ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.’

Most of Turner’s hit songs were written by others, but she enlivened them with a voice that New York Times music critic Jon Pareles called ‘one of the more peculiar instruments in pop.’

‘It’s three-tiered, with a nasal low register, a yowling, cutting middle range and a high register so startlingly clear it sounds like a falsetto,’ Pareles wrote in a 1987 concert review.


She was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in the rural Tennessee community of Nutbush, which she described in her 1973 song ‘Nutbush City Limits’ as a ‘quiet little old community, a one-horse town.’

Her father worked as an overseer on a farm and her mother left the family when the singer was 11 years old, according to the singer’s 2018 memoir ‘My Love Story.’ As a teenager, she moved to St. Louis to rejoin her mom.

Ike Turner, whose 1951 song ‘Rocket 88’ has often been called the first rock and roll record, discovered her at age 17 when she grabbed the mic to sing at his club show in St. Louis in 1957.

The band leader later recorded a hit song, ‘A Fool In Love,’ with his protégé and gave her the stage name Tina Turner, before the two married in Tijuana, Mexico.

The release of River Deep – Mountain High in 1966 increased their popularity globally and was followed by a tour in the UK with The Rolling Stones as the band’s support act. 

Turner developed a close relationship with Stones front man Jagger – and even took credit for his distinct dance moves, telling the Daily Mail in 2017: ‘Mick wanted to dance — and I was a dancer — but he never gave me the credit! He said his mother taught him how to dance. But we worked with him in the dressing room, me and the girls, and we taught him how to Pony.’

Jagger paid a touching tribute to Turner on Wednesday, writing on Instagram: ‘I’m so saddened by the passing of my wonderful friend Tina Turner. She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer. She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.’

Mick Jagger and Tina Turner in 1987

Turner performs with Mick Jagger in 1989. She previously claimed credit for teaching the Rolling Stones front man how to dance, telling the Daily Mail: ‘We worked with him in the dressing room, me and the girls, and we taught him how to Pony’

Tina employed her strong voice and strenuously rehearsed dance routines as lead vocalist in an ensemble called the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. She collaborated with members of rock royalty, including The Who and Phil Spector, in the 1960s and 1970s and appeared on the cover of issue two of Rolling Stone magazine in 1967.

Ike and Tina Turner bounced between record labels, owing much of their commercial success to a relentless touring schedule. Their biggest hit was a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Proud Mary’.

Turner left her husband one night in 1976 on a tour stop in Dallas, after he pummeled her during a car ride and she struck back, according to her memoir. Their divorce was finalized in 1978.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted Ike and Tina Turner in 1991, calling them ‘one of the most formidable live acts in history.’ Ike Turner died in 2007.

Turner shakes hands with King Charles III, then the Prince of Wales, as she stands in a lineup with fellow rock stars including Paul McCartney and Rod Stewart

Tina Turner with David Bowie in 1985


After leaving her husband, Turner spent years struggling to regain the limelight, releasing solo albums and singles that flopped and gigging at corporate conferences.

In 1980, she met new manager Roger Davies, an Australian music executive who went on to manage her for three decades. That led to a solo no.1 – ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’ – and then in 1984 her album ‘Private Dancer’ landed her at the top of the charts.

‘Private Dancer’ went on to become Turner’s biggest album, the capstone of a career that saw her sell more than 200 million records in total.

In 1985 Turner met German music executive Erwin Bach who became her long-term partner and in 1988 she moved to London, beginning a decades-long residency in Europe.

She released two studio albums in the 1990s that sold well, especially in Europe, recorded the theme song for 1995 Bond movie ‘GoldenEye,’ and staged a successful world tour in 2008 and 2009.

Turner’s palatial lakefront home in Küsnach near Zurich, Switzerland

Turner is survived by her husband, 68-year-old Erwin Bach, and two adult sons 

After that, she retired from show business. She married Bach, relinquishing her U.S. citizenship and becoming a citizen of Switzerland.

She battled a number of health problems after retiring. In her 2018 memoir, extracts of which were published in the Daily Mail, turner told the powerful story of how Bach gave her the gift of life by donating his kidney to her in 2016.

In 2018 she faced a family tragedy, when her oldest son, Craig, took his life at age 59 in Los Angeles. Her younger son Ronnie died in December 2022.

Turner told the New York Times in 2019: ‘I don’t necessarily want to be a ‘strong’ person. I had a terrible life. I just kept going.

‘You just keep going, and you hope that something will come.’

Her name continues to draw audiences years after her retirement. Musical stage show ‘TINA: The Tina Turner Musical,’ with Adrienne Warren initially acting and singing the star’s life story, was a hit first in London’s West End in 2018, and later on Broadway, and is still running. And in 2021 HBO released a documentary about her life, ‘Tina.’

She is survived by Bach and two sons of Ike’s that she adopted.

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