There’s no rock and roll without recognizing the Queen. Following the announcement of her passing on May 24 at the age of 83, we remember the talent and tenacity that made her a legend.
Anna Mae Bullock was born on Nov. 26, 1939, in the small town of Nutbush, TN. Coming from a sharecropping family, she found herself leaning into her musical talents. The exploration led her to join Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm. Bullock hit her stride in the 1960s, and after marrying Ike Turner, the powerful vocalist started performing under the stage name Tina Turner with “Proud Mary” the highlight of their show.
Following the split of the duo and their divorce, Turner flourished into her solo career in the 1980s, according to Brittanica. Building on the success of a remake of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” and the later anthem “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” the music legend went on to sell over 100 million records worldwide. What’s more, she was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (the first time as a duo with Ike Turner), won 12 Grammy Awards, and was the first Black musician and the first woman to be on the cover of Rolling Stone.
The accolades go on but what may have been Turner’s biggest accomplishment was her resilience, fearlessness, and authenticity in an industry that silences and harms women. Her artistry has inspired the likes of Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe, and more.
After Turner’s passing, millions of people gathered online to honor her for what she had contributed to music and the impact she made on many lives.
“How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world,” Angela Bassett, who played Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do With It?,” said in an Instagram post.
Bassett continued, “Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter what the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and for others who look like her, Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like.”
Prior to Turner’s passing, to ensure that her timeless music was preserved, she took matters into her own hands. In October 2021, Turner sold the rights to her music catalog to BMG, according to Reuters.
The deal with the music company included Turner’s artist’s share of her recordings, her music publishing writer’s share, neighboring rights, and her name, image, and likeness.
“Like any artist, the protection of my life’s work, my musical inheritance, is something personal,” Turner shared in the statement, per Reuters. “I am confident that with BMG and Warner Music my work is in professional and reliable hands.”
The intent of Turner joining forces with BMG was for their support in what she wanted both musically and commercially.
“We are honoured to take on the job of managing Tina Turner’s musical and commercial interests,” BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said at the time. “It is a responsibility we take seriously and will pursue diligently. She is truly and simply, the best.”
Just like her courageous spirit, her timeless music that has forever left a mark on millions of lives will live on.