Tina Turner’s best performances, from GoldenEye to the Grammys
Tina Turner‘s career spanned decades, genres and countless unforgettable performances: here are five that are simply the best.
Musical legend Tina Turner has passed away in Switzerland at the age of 83 after a lengthy struggle with intestinal cancer.
A pioneering rock ‘n’ roll star, Turner began her career as a duo with Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm in 1957. Having scored hits with songs including “Proud Mary” and “River Deep, Mountain High” in the 1960s, she divorced the abusive Ike and found musical fame as a solo act in the 1980s with the surprise success of a cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” with British electro-pop group Heaven 17.
After cemented her status as a solo star with “What’s Love Got to Do With It” in 1984, the hits came thick and fast.
In a career spanning over 60 years, Turner electrified the world with her distinctive vocals, magnetic stage presence and powerful expression of sexuality. Not only did she earn legions of fans with her riveting performances, but she won countless accolades, including twelve Grammy Awards, as well as selling more than 180 million albums worldwide.
She also blazed a trail for Black women across the music industry, touching the lives of superstar talent including soul star Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor, Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe and many others.
To celebrate the life and legacy of Tina Turner, here are five of the most iconic performances from the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Ike and Tina Turner perform “Proud Mary” (1970)
Although “Proud Mary” is actually a cover of a song by American Rock band Creedance Clearwater Revival, Turner’s version became the version.
During a turn on The Ed Sullivan Show back in 1970, the rock ‘n’ roll icon performed what would become a staple of her discography, featuring everything fans would come to expect from Turner; a soft and sultry start, a powerhouse vocal performance, a fabulous fringe dress, instantly iconic choreography and that signature finish – “nice and rough”.
It would be hard to top – but top it she did.
Live Aid (1985)
Tina Turner was a fierce philanthropist, so it was no surprise when she appeared at Live Aid in 1985 to help raise funds for relief of the 1980s famine in Ethiopia.
Introduced by Mick Jagger asking: “Alright, where’s Tina?”, Ms Turner burst onstage in stiletto heels and that signature attitude to perform “State of Shock” and “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll”.
The performance featured several costume changes and an undeniably electric chemistry between the pair.
Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as the famous 007 agent James Bond for the 1995 film Goldeneye was accompanied by a theme tune that would instantly become iconic.
Sexy, raspy, feline and topped off with a sensational final note, Turner’s captivating vocals remain one of the greatest Bond theme tunes of all time – a feat all the more impressive given that she was sent a “really rough” demo by the track’s songwriters, U2’s Bono and The Edge.
“He didn’t make a proper demo, someone had just thrown the music together,” she told the BBC in 2018. “I thought, how do I put this together? It wasn’t showing me what the melody was. So I created as close to what I thought the melody was of that.
“I had to work really hard. I knew then that I could sing anything put before me.”
Tina Turner and Beyoncé at the Grammys (2008)
The Grammys were never the same after Beyoncé performed “Proud Mary” with her musical icon, Tina Turner, in 2008.
Beyoncé had previously performed the same song as a tribute to Turner three years earlier when the latter was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors in 2005. To see the pair duet in celebration of Turner’s public comeback was a moment that would go down in musical history.
Tina Turner’s final concert (2009)
There is perhaps no better showcase of Turner’s star quality than the final show of her 2009 farewell tour in Sheffield.
Performing career staples such as “The Best”, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “River Deep, Mountain High”, screaming crowds showered Tina with the love and adoration that she truly deserved.
Tina Turner, simply the best.
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