Lizzo pays emotional tribute to Tina Turner with epic impromptu Proud Mary cover
Lizzo has paid an emotional tribute to the queen of rock’n’ roll, Tina Turner, following the legendary singer’s death on Wednesday (24 May).
Turner, best known for huge solo hits including “The Best”, died “peacefully” from natural causes at her home in Zurich, Switzerland. She was 83 years old.
In the days since, the world of entertainment has come together to remember Tina Turner as a pioneer in the rock genre, a survivor and an unflinching LGBTQ+ ally.
Queer artists including Janelle Monáe, Elton John and RuPaul’s Drag Race icon Peppermint have led tributes, while huge names like Beyoncé, Barack Obama and Angela Bassett have shared posts celebrating Tunrner’s life and legacy.
Fellow singer-songwriter and powerhouse Lizzo, who is currently touring her recent album Special, paused her Phoenix show after learning of the superstar’s death, telling the roaring crowd that she “would not exist” if it weren’t for Tina Turner.
“Today we lost an icon,” she shared, appearing visibly emotional. “And I haven’t allowed myself to be sad, I haven’t allowed myself to cry about it, and I don’t want to right now because I’d much rather celebrate what an incredible legend Tina Turner is and always will be.”
Standing centre stage in a green sequined gown, Lizzo shared with the crowd how Turner had inspired her career.
“As a Black girl in a rock band, I would not exist if it were not for the queen of rock ‘n’ roll. Remember this, there would be no rock and roll without Tina Turner,” she said, passionately shouting the last line several times.
Turner started her career as part of a duo with her abusive former husband Ike Turner, in his ‘50s band Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm. While the band secured hits including “Proud Mary” and “River Deep, Mountain High”, Tina Turner shone brightest in the years following her ‘80s comeback.
Years after divorcing Ike and fighting to return to the spotlight, she dropped her magnum opus “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, and swiftly bagged hit after hit. She ended her 60-year career with 12 Grammy Awards, a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and more than 180 million record sales.
Alongside reclaiming her narrative, she managed to shape of modern day rock ‘n’ roll music, and is remembered as the star who blazed a trail for Black female artists including Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys and of course, Lizzo.
Taking a moment away from her standard setlist, Lizzo told the audience that she would be paying tribute to Tina Turner with a rendition of one of her biggest hits.
“I hope you don’t mind if we do a lil something something for you … hit that s**t!,” she said, before tearing away the bottom half of her gown and beginning a fiery version of “Proud Mary” that would have made Turner herself proud.
If there’s anyone who can mimic Tina Turner’s high-kicking, intoxicating live performances, it’s Lizzo.
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