Tina Turner

I, Tina: The Later Years Were Simply The Best

The Queen of Rock n’ Roll’s life and career after early fame and deep heartbreak.

Quintessa Williams
Published in
6 min readMay 31
Spotlight Illustration of Tina Turner | Photo Courtesy of The Herald Standard

“You ask me if I ever stood up for anything. Yeah, I stood up for my life.”

It’s 1984, and Prince is Making Doves Cry, Ashford & Simpson are Solid as a rock, Stacey Lattisaw and Johnny Gill are the Perfect Combination, Lionel Richie is calling in to say Hello, Patti Labelle is Loving, Needing, and Wanting Us, and Michael Jackson Can’t Get Out of the Rain. 1984. What a time.

And entering at #2 is Tina Turner singing, What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Released on May 1, 1984, What’s Love Got To Do With It became Tina Turner’s first solo hit, selling over 200,000 copies worldwide and spending 24 weeks on the charts. At the time, Turner who was 44, also became the oldest solo female to top the Hot 100 and the single became the second highest selling of 1984.

The significance of What’s Love Got To Do With It not only signified the inception of Turner’s successful solo career but also marked a redefining era for her later years.

Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, Turner’s early life was marked by rural life in Nutbush Tennessee, unexpected separation from her parents, and strict religious upbringing. However, Turner found solace and freedom singing in the church choir, the kind that would inform her early career and success.

Tina Turner’s name and early success wouldn’t have been shaped without the collaboration of Ike Turner, her ex-husband, and musical half of the famous Ike & Tina Turner duo. After a string of R&B hits such as Fool in Love, It’s Gonna Work Out Fine, Poor Fool, and Proud Mary, Ike, and Tina catapulted to mainstream success. However, along with musical success came deep heartbreak from years-long abuse, drug addiction, and suicide attempts.

Turner’s early life and career are widely discussed in mainstream media and music. You can rarely talk Tina without Ike or think of her music without the early success of R&B hits like Proud Mary. Turner’s early life is inevitable from discussion, but it was necessary. And strangely enough, Turner held no regrets.



Quintessa Williams
Writer for

Freelance Writer & Journalist 📝📚| #WEOC | Blackivist | EIC of TDQ | Editor for Cultured, WEOC, & AfroSapiophile. Bylines in ZORA, Momentum & GEN Publications.