Beyoncé sings ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ to honor Tina Turner

Beyoncé
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Beyoncé was more than Tina Turner’s fan. The multi-Grammy Award winner considered Turner an inspiration and an influence, and this adoration has been expressed regularly throughout the years.

Just a week after Turner’s death, Beyoncé paid another tribute to the Grammy Lifetime Achievement winner. At the London stop of her Renaissance World Tour this past weekend, Beyoncé sang a simpler and more somber version of Turner’s rollicking hit “River Deep, Mountain High.”

“I want you guys to help me sing one of my favorite songs,” said the 41-year-old as she introduced the song, which was captured by a fan who shared it on Twitter. “We love you, Tina.”

Other stars have honored Turner with covers of her music since her death as well. Last week, Lizzo offered a tribute to Turner when she sang “Proud Mary” during her concert stop in Phoenix. And Beyoncé’s cover of “River Deep, Mountain High” wasn’t the first time that she has expressed her sorrow at Turner’s passing.

“If you’re a fan of mine, you’re a fan of Tina Turner,” Beyoncé said to the audience at Stade de France, near Paris, on Friday. “Cause I wouldn’t be on this stage without Tina Turner. I feel so blessed that I was alive to witness her brilliance. I also feel very blessed to be here to perform once again.”

Beyoncé’s comments during concerts have felt extra poignant as she and her husband, Jay-Z, have been facing an online backlash to their song “Drunk in Love.” The 2013 hit includes a portion in which Jay-Z raps a reference to the abuse suffered by Tina Turner at the hands of her then-husband Ike Turner. They lyrics have put Beyoncé and Jay-Z in the hot seat, but they haven’t directly commented on this issue.

Instead, Beyoncé has focused on her love for the late singer, including posting this message on her personal website:

“My beloved queen. I love you endlessly,” Beyoncé wrote. “I’m so grateful for your inspiration, and all the ways you have paved the way. You are strength and resilience. You are the epitome of power and passion.”

But her tributes go back many years. In 2005, Beyoncé performed when Turner was presented with her Kennedy Center Honors by former President George W. Bush. Before launching into “Proud Mary,” Beyoncé praised Turner for her character and her contributions to musical culture:

“I’ll never forget the first time I saw you perform,” Beyoncé said to Turner, who was watching her from the audience. “I never in my life saw a woman so powerful, so fearless, so fabulous — and those legs!”

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About the Author
Bridget Sharkey
Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer covering pop culture, beauty, food, health and nature.

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