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Tina Turner: An appreciation of the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll"

Rock legend Tina Turner died Wednesday at her home in Switzerland. Our appreciation comes from music journalist and longtime "Sunday Morning" contributor Bill Flanagan:

It's hard to call the death of an 83-year-old performer startling - but the passing of Tina Turner was a shock. 

We grew up with Tina always being there, and I guess we figured she was immortal.

Tina Turner - What's Love Got To Do With It (Official Music Video) by Tina Turner on YouTube

Tina Turner has been called the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll," and I cannot think of anyone who would challenge her for that title.

She came up at a time when rock 'n' roll was defined as a mix of Black and white American music, the cross-pollination that gave us Little Richard and Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Motown. In the early '70s that union began to split; radio divided "rock" from "R&B." Tina Turner defied that re-segregation, having hits with songs written by The Beatles:

Tina Turner - Come Together (1970) STUDIO VERSION by DownInNutbush on YouTube

And Creedence Clearwater Revival:

Ike & Tina Turner Revue "Proud Mary" on The Ed Sullivan Show by The Ed Sullivan Show on YouTube

The Ike & Tina Turner Revue toured with the Rolling Stones:

Tina Turner - 1970 - Gimme.Shelter by Johanna Ouwerling on YouTube

In The Who's "Tommy," Tina was the Acid Queen.

Tommy | Tina Turner Singing Acid Queen by NOW PLAYING on YouTube

She went to London to stage her comeback, with contributions from Dire Straits, Heaven 17, and other British stars of the 1980s. She dueted with David Bowie:

Tina Turner - Tonight (with David Bowie) [Live] by Tina Turner on YouTube

She stole the show at Live Aid with Mick Jagger:

Mick Jagger / Tina Turner - State Of Shock / It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (Live Aid 1985) by Live Aid on YouTube

U2 wrote a James Bond theme for her:

Tina Turner - Golden Eye (HD) by Colour Bar on YouTube

So, yes, Tina Turner was the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, but that's not ALL she was. She defied stereotypes. She was a proud African American woman whose audience, after the 1970s, was mostly white. She was a symbol of the USA who lived for decades in Europe. She was a feminist icon who wore the shortest mini-skirts we ever saw.

She never did anything "nice and easy." Every attempt to categorize Tina Turner fails. She could not be put in a box.  She did not fit any mold. She was the one and only Tina Turner.

Simply the best.

Tina Turner - The Best (Official Music Video) by Tina Turner on YouTube

Story produced by Robbyn McFadden. Editor: Chad Cardin. 

See also: 

From the archives: Tina Turner on a life of suffering and triumph 09:19
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