Why the death of pop stars like Tina Turner is so moving

Why the death of pop stars like Tina Turner is so moving
Flowers for Tina Turner on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In the case of people who died much too young, such as Freddie Mercury, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse or Whitney Houston, the shock is different than when people over 80 die. But the death of Tina Turner at 83 also hits millions of people in the heart. Why is that?

“Now one of the last icons of the 80s and 90s is dead,” some think spontaneously – the end of an era. But it should be remembered that many stars from back then are still alive, including Madonna, Kate Bush, Cher, Mariah Carey, Kylie Minogue, Boy George, Stevie Wonder or Elton John (who, for example, is on his farewell tour until July).

With Tina Turner, however, a woman died who was particularly close to German-speaking Europe. With her husband Erwin Bach she had a positive relationship to Germany. The native American from Tennessee also lived on Lake Zurich for decades and had even become a Swiss citizen.

“When someone dies like Tina Turner, whom you’ve known for what feels like an eternity, who was a superstar who meant something to you with his music, then memories come up in older people, from their youth, from the analog era, when the world was still was completely different,” says media psychologist Sebastian Buggert. It’s almost like dying someone you’ve known for a long time, haven’t seen for a long time – and whom you might have wanted to call again. You didn’t know that things were going so badly for him, or you suppressed them.

“Such a death and the farewell associated with it are an occasion for many people to just be sad, to go into themselves and see what has changed, everything – unlike before – is no longer there.” , says Buggert, who is a member of the management board at the Rheingold Institute in Cologne and heads the media research department there. “Then a melancholy arises, which can also have something to do with current stresses, how life is today – more unpredictable, and for many also full of fears for the future.”

When celebrities from earlier decades, from the time without the Internet, die, then this grief will also be a return to a time “that was different, when many things seemed more carefree than today,” says Buggert.

Tina Turner also played a role in the fact that she was an incredible fighter who had a difficult life with her brutal ex-husband Ike or the death of her own children while she was still alive. “And she still fought through. That’s also something that people see as a role model. And some might also associate that with today’s time, where we feel like we have to pull ourselves together and fight through.”

Buggert also emphasizes in relation to Tina Turner: “What was always so clear in interviews with her: Despite all the difficulties in her life, she always tried to remain optimistic. And she apparently also found a very good way of dealing with her age.”

Turner became spiritual in old age, made a clear goodbye, retired from her music career, retired. “These are all difficult stages of development in everyone’s life. But you can see in her as a model how to do it well – and also admire how she did it.”

The thought that almost all superstars of the (supposedly) good old days are dead comes up quickly, but that doesn’t make it right. Tina Turner’s death could be an occasion to listen to hits from the past, to remember catchy tunes from other big stars, to select old titles instead of waiting for the next bereavement.

Millions of people around the world are listening to Tina Turner songs as a tribute these days, but perhaps they are also aware of songs by the Rolling Stones, Abba, Genesis, Paul McCartney, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Lionel Richie or Cyndi Lauper.

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