Though Tina Turner retired from the concert stage in 2008, the R&B superstar — who died Wednesday at age 83 — was not forgotten by the town whose history intersected for decades with her own. “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” had already been set to play Las Vegas June 6-11 at the Smith Center.
“With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow,” an update posted by Turner’s official Facebook site read. “Today, we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music.”
Simply the Best
Turner — born Anna Mae Bullock in a segregated Tennessee hospital — made a career of overcoming obstacles. In addition to poverty and racism, she also survived the physical abuse and financial ruination heaped on her by Ike Turner, her 20-year musical and romantic partner, with whom she had hits with the signature songs “Proud Mary” and “River Deep, Mountain High.”
In August 1969, Ike & Tina Turner headlined the International Hotel — not in the main theater but in the 500-seat Casino Theatre. It was during this stint that Ike began using cocaine, according to a profile in Ebony magazine published following his death from a cocaine overdose on Dec. 12, 2007.
The duo also performed at Caesars Palace in May 1971, as the opening act for Johnny Mathis, and at the Las Vegas Hilton in their own residency from Dec. 13-26, 1973.
Let’s (Not) Stay Together
When Turner finally found the courage to break out of the orbit of the man who discovered her, she returned to Caesars Palace to launch a solo career from July 21 to August 2, 1977. In her 40s — an age when most female singers are relegated to the oldies concert circuit — she finally became a superstar. Her hit “What’s Love Got to Do With It” was the best-selling single of 1984, selling more than 2 million copies worldwide.
Turner shared the bill with Elton John as part of two “Millennium Concert” performances they gave Dec. 30-31, 1999 at the Thomas & Mack Center. And Turner performed three concerts at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in 2000.
It was also on the Caesars stage — during a May 2008 “Oprah Winfrey Show” taping with Cher — that Turner announced her retirement at age 68. Her 50th anniversary tour spanned 84 concerts in North America and Europe from October 2008 though May 2009.
Turner sold more than 150 million records during her career, won 12 Grammys, and was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice –with Ike in 1991, and on her own 30 years later. She was also honored by the Kennedy Center in 2005.
Turner died at her home in Switzerland, where she became a citizen a decade ago. According to her spokesperson, the cause of death was “a long illness” that was not identified.
Turner was predeceased by her sons, Ronnie Turner, who died in 2022 at age 62, and Craig Turner, who died in 2018 by suicide.
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