The huge voice, the big hair, the towering personality — has anyone ever strutted their stuff quite like Tina Turner? In a career that covered five decades, the singer wowed crowds around the world with her mix of hits spanning rhythm-and-blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll. She picked up an impressive 12 Grammy Awards, and along the way even managed to give Mad Max a run for his money as the glamorous Aunty Entity in 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
Classic singles such as “River Deep, Mountain High,” “What's Love Got to Do With It,” and “The Best” propelled Turner to stardom and secured her a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame not once, but twice — first alongside Ike Turner in 1991 and again 30 years later as a solo artist.
After ending a tumultuous and abusive relationship with husband Ike, Turner struggled at first to make it big on her own. But in the 1980s, she pulled off what Billboard called “one of the greatest comebacks in music history.” In 1984, at the age of 44, she released the multi-platinum album Private Dancer, which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. The diva was back, and better than ever. After joining Turner onstage during the final concert of her 1985 British tour, David Bowie famously said, “Standing up there next to her was the hottest place in the universe.”
Today, at 82, Turner remains an inspiration — and along with her songs, she has given us plenty of wise words through the years, including the following quotes on self-confidence, inner beauty, and overcoming adversity.
At every moment, we always have a choice, even if it feels as if we don’t. Sometimes that choice may simply be to think a more positive thought.
I am strong. I lived through a divorce, separation from my family. I never let it break me down. I’m not an alcoholic. I’ve never smoked. I’ve never done drugs. I’ve floated through the disaster of my past clean. I arrived here undamaged.
You asked me if I ever stood up for anything. Yeah, I stood up for my life.
I don’t want to do sexy films, and I’m not funny, so I couldn’t do comedy. I want to be dealing with some kind of war, with physical strength in a woman. It’s my personality; it’s how I am.
If you are unhappy with anything... whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self, comes out.
My greatest beauty secret is being happy with myself… It’s a mistake to think you are what you put on yourself. I believe that a lot of how you look is to do with how you feel about yourself and your life.
I have a simple, childlike view of life, and I want to keep it. That's why I never got into that Beverly Hills world. So many pretentious people. They just aren't real.
This is what I want in heaven… words to become notes and conversations to be symphonies.
If there’s one lesson I’ve learned, it’s that encountering adversity, as I have, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s what we make of it, how we use it to shape ourselves and our futures, that ultimately determines our success and happiness.
Age is no issue to me. Fifty is the new 30. Seventy is the new 50. There are no rules that say you have to dress a certain way, or be a certain way. We are living in exciting times for women.
Buddhism has taught me that inner beauty, the beauty that comes from loving and accepting yourself, imperfections and all, radiates to the outside. Whether I’m wearing a designer dress or a pair of old jeans, I’m still the same Tina. It’s happiness that becomes me.
My legacy is that I stayed on course from the beginning to the end, because I believed in something inside of me that told me that it can get better.
Photo credit: Michael Olivers/ Alamy Stock Photo