Despite finding success in America, some legendary artists felt compelled to hightail it out of the country for various reasons. Whether it was for personal fulfillment, career opportunities, or a desire to escape racial discrimination, these musicians chose to start anew in foreign lands, leaving behind a lasting legacy in music history. Let’s explore the stories of these artists who embarked on journeys to find love, inspiration, and freedom.
Tina Turner Moved for Personal and Professional Reasons
For the iconic Tina Turner, the decision to leave the United States was a mix of career and personal motivations. She found immense success in England and Europe, where her album “Private Dancer” catapulted her to stardom. Turner acknowledged the overwhelming support she received in Europe, stating, “‘Private Dancer’ was the beginning of my success in England, and basically, Europe has been very supportive of my music.” This love and appreciation drew her away from her homeland.
Additionally, Turner’s relationship with her boyfriend, Erwin Bach, played a significant role in her departure from the US. The couple’s love brought Turner to settle in Zürich, Switzerland, and become a Swiss citizen. Living in Switzerland allowed her to lead a regular life away from the pressures of fame. Despite her lasting impact on American music, Turner found a new sense of belonging and fulfillment in Europe.
Jim Morrison Wanted Some Time Off
The legendary frontman of The Doors, Jim Morrison, sought solace and inspiration in Paris after finishing the recording of the band’s album “L.A. Woman.” His decision to take a break may have been influenced by his conviction for indecent exposure in Miami, which led him to face legal troubles. The self-proclaimed Lizard King hoped that Paris, a city rich in artistic history, would be a place for personal growth and recovery.
Tragically, Morrison passed away in Paris at the young age of 27. His time in the city allowed him to connect with his poetic spirit and escape the pressures of fame. Although his move wasn’t intended to be permanent, it became his final resting place, leaving an indelible mark on music history.
Josephine Baker Sought Freedom
Josephine Baker’s life journey was a remarkable one, marked by a search for freedom and liberation. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Baker faced discrimination and racial unrest in her hometown, including the 1917 East St. Louis Race Riot. These experiences fueled her desire to leave the United States and find a place where she could thrive without the burden of racism.
Paris became her sanctuary, where she became a celebrated singer and dancer in the 1920s. Baker’s passion for justice extended beyond the stage, as she worked with the French Resistance during World War II. She became a French citizen in 1937 and used her platform to fight against racial discrimination. Her decision to leave the US and embrace life in Paris showcased her courage and resilience in the face of adversity.
Jimi Hendrix Was a Huge Hit
Jimi Hendrix, one of the greatest guitarists in history, was originally part of various American bands before his solo career took off. However, it was in London where he found enormous success and recognition. Chas Chandler of The Animals recognized Hendrix’s talent and brought him to England to launch his solo career.
London became Hendrix’s home, where he experienced both musical success and personal happiness. He fell in love with Kathy Etchingham and lived in various locations, including 23 Brook Street, now a museum in his honor. Although his life was cut tragically short, Hendrix’s time in London remains a testament to his lasting impact on the music world.
Nina Simone Felt Betrayed
Nina Simone’s journey to find a sense of belonging took her across different continents. Born in North Carolina, she achieved fame with her music but became increasingly vocal about racial injustice and discrimination in America. The unrest following the 1963 Alabama church explosion deeply affected her, leading her to write protest songs.
Simone sought refuge from the racial climate in the United States and decided to move abroad. She lived in various countries, including Barbados, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, as she felt unsafe and betrayed by her homeland. Her decision to distance herself from the US was driven by a desire for personal safety and freedom.