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The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Tina Turner, who inspired artists like Beyoncé and Janelle Monáe, has died.

Tina Turner sings into a microphone with a backup singer and a guitar player in the background.

Greetsia Tent—WireImage/Getty Images

Before Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna, there was Tina Turner. Turner’s raw, husky voice and energetic dancing made her a worldwide superstar and inspired countless other performers. Turner died on May 24, 2023, at age 83. 

Turner’s talent was clear from the time she was a teenager. In the 1950s, she got up on stage during a performance by musician Ike Turner, who she had never met, and began to sing. Her bold moves and powerful stage presence earned her a spot in the band. Ike and Tina eventually got married, and the couple formed a group called the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. In 1971, with Tina as the lead singer, the group scored a Grammy Award for a song called “Proud Mary.” 

But Tina’s fame wouldn’t reach its true peak until much later. In 1976, Tina struck out on her own after years of abuse from Ike. At first, she struggled to launch a solo career—but her gifts were undeniable. Mick Jagger, the lead singer of the rock band the Rolling Stones, called her “an enormously talented performer and singer.” Another well-known singer, David Bowie, told friends that Turner was his favorite singer. In 1984, Turner released her first solo album, Private Dancer. The album won four Grammy Awards, and its most popular song, “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” made Turner a superstar. She would go on to release more hits, including “I Don’t Wanna Fight No More,” “The Best,” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” Her first greatest hits album was titled Simply the Best.

Over the years, Turner became a pop icon. Her life inspired a movie called What’s Love Got to Do with It after her biggest hit, and her music inspired a Broadway musical called Tina

After Turner’s death, Lizzo paid tribute by performing “Proud Mary” at her concert. “As a Black girl in a rock band, I would not exist if it was not for the Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll,” Lizzo told the audience, according to CNN.

Actor Angela Bassett, who played Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It, posted a tribute on Instagram. “While we mourn the loss of this iconic voice and presence, she gave us more than we could have ever asked,” Bassett wrote. “She gave us her whole self. And Tina Turner is a gift that will always be ‘simply the best.’”

You can read more about Tina Turner at Britannica School.

Did You Know?

Julie Harris and Suzanne Farrell are seated in front of Tina Turner, who stands between Tony Bennett and Robert Redford.

Scott Suchman—WireImage/Getty Images

In 2005, Tina Turner received a Kennedy Center Honor. This award is given to actors, singers, and other artists who have made major contributions to American culture.

Other 2005 inductees, shown in the photo with Turner, included singer Tony Bennett, actors Robert Redford and Julie Harris, and dancer Suzanne Farrell.

Legends

© Pgiam—iStock Unreleased/Getty Images; Gie Knaeps—Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Anthony Sanchez; Mike Theiler—USO/PRNewsFoto/AP Images; Shutterstock.com: © Mark III Photonics, © Stephen Lovekin; Dreamstime.com: © Michael Bush, © Alexandre Paes Leme, © Featureflash;  Getty Images: TV Times, Michael Ochs Archives, Noam Galai; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

In 2021, Tina Turner was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was created to honor artists who have played an important role in the history of rock music. 

Hall of Fame inductees for 2023 include Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, the Spinners, DJ Kool Herc, Link Wray, Chaka Khan, Al Kooper, Bernie Taupin, and Don Cornelius. 

What do they all have in common, aside from their contributions to music? Lasting success. Musicians are considered for induction into the Hall of Fame only after it’s been 25 years or more since they made their first recording. 

Who are your picks for future Hall of Fame inductees?

The Story of Rock and Roll

Pictorial Press Ltd./Alamy, Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images: Al Pereira, Moviepix

Pictorial Press Ltd./Alamy, Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images: Al Pereira, Moviepix

Tina Turner is known as the Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll. That makes her the ruler of a giant domain! Rock and roll first developed in the 1950s and later gave birth to music styles like disco, punk rock, and hip-hop. 

You can read about the history of rock and roll at Britannica School.

WORD OF THE DAY

magnetic

PART OF SPEECH:

adjective

Definition:

: having great power to attract and hold the interest of other people

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