Tina Turner


American-Swiss singer, dancer, actress, and author

Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock, November 26, 1939) is a singer, songwriter, and actress. Originally from the United States, she became a Swiss citizen in 2013. Turner rose to prominence with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm before recording hit singles both with Ike and as a solo performer. One of the best-selling recording artists of all time, she has been referred to as The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll and has sold more than 200 million records worldwide.[2][3] Turner is noted for her energetic stage presence, powerful vocals, career longevity, and trademark legs.

Anna Mae Bullock was born in Nutbush, Tennessee. She began her career in 1958 as a featured singer with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm, first recording under the name "Little Ann". Her introduction to the public as Tina Turner began in 1960 as a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue with the single "A Fool In Love."[4] Success followed with a string of notable hits credited to the duo, including "A Fool In Love" (1960), "River Deep – Mountain High" (1966), "Proud Mary" (1971), and "Nutbush City Limits" (1973). In her autobiography, I, Tina: My Life Story (1986), she revealed that Ike Turner had subjected her to domestic violence prior to their 1976 split and subsequent 1978 divorce. Raised a Baptist, she became an adherent of Nichiren Buddhism in 1973, crediting the spiritual chant of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo with helping her to endure during difficult times. After her divorce and professional separation from Ike, she rebuilt her career through live performances.

In the 1980s, Turner launched a major comeback as a solo artist. The 1983 single "Let's Stay Together" was followed by the 1984 release of her fifth solo album, Private Dancer, which became a worldwide success. The album contained the song "What's Love Got to Do with It"; the song became Turner's biggest hit and won four Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year. Turner's solo success continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s with multi-platinum albums and hit singles. In 1993, What's Love Got to Do with It, a biographical film adapted from Turner's autobiography, was released along with an accompanying soundtrack album. In 2008, Turner returned from semi-retirement to embark on her Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour; the tour became one of the highest-selling ticketed shows of all time. Turner has also garnered success acting in films such as the 1975 rock musical Tommy, the 1985 action film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and the 1993 film Last Action Hero.

Turner has won 12 Grammy Awards; those awards include eight competitive awards, three Grammy Hall of Fame awards, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Rolling Stone ranked Turner 63rd on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time and 17th on its list of the 100 greatest singers of all time. Turner has her own stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. In 1991, Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Ike Turner. She is a 2005 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.

Early life

Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee,[5] the youngest daughter of Zelma Priscilla (née Currie) and Floyd Richard Bullock.[6][7] She was born at Poindexter Farm on Highway 180, where her father worked as an overseer of the sharecroppers; Bullock later recalled picking cotton with her family at an early age.[8][9] Turner participated in the PBS documentary African American Lives 2 with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, who shared her DNA estimates of predominantly African-American descent, with approximately 33% European and 1% Native American ancestry.[10][11] (However, DNA cannot reliably indicate Native American ancestry, and no DNA test can indicate tribal origin.[12][13][14][15][16])

Bullock had two older sisters, Evelyn Juanita and Ruby Alline. As young children, the three sisters were separated when their parents relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, to work at a defense facility during World War II.[9] Bullock went to stay with her strict, religious paternal grandparents, Alex and Roxanna Bullock, who were deacon and deaconess at the Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church.[17][9] After the war, the sisters reunited with their parents and moved with them to Knoxville.[9] Two years later, the family returned to Nutbush to live in the Flagg Grove community, where Bullock attended Flagg Grove Elementary School from first through eighth grade.[18][19]

As a young girl, Bullock sang in the church choir at Nutbush's Spring Hill Baptist Church.[20][21] When she was 11, her mother Zelma ran off without warning, seeking freedom from her abusive relationship with Floyd Bullock; she relocated to St. Louis to live with her daughters' great-aunt.[22] As a teen, Bullock worked as a domestic worker for the Henderson family. Two years after her mother left the family, her father married another woman and moved to Detroit. Bullock and her sister were sent to live with their grandmother Georgeanna in Brownsville, Tennessee.[22] An adult Turner stated in her memoir, I, Tina, that she felt her mother had not loved her, that she "wasn't wanted", and that her mother had planned to leave her father when pregnant with her.[23] "She was a very young woman who didn't want another kid," Turner wrote.[23][24]

A self-professed tomboy, Bullock joined both the cheerleading squad and the female basketball team at Carver High School in Brownsville, and "socialized every chance she got".[8][22] When Bullock was 16, her grandmother died, so she went to live with her mother in St. Louis and was reunited with her sister. There, she graduated from Sumner High School in 1958.[25] After her graduation, Bullock worked as a nurse's aide at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.[26]

Ike & Tina Turner

Origins: 1957–1960

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"I would have been lost in my life at that point without him. I mean, I could do two things: work in a hospital or sing in Ike's band. I didn't know anything else. Or anyone else. And I wanted to sing."

— Tina Turner (1986)[6]

Bullock and her sister began to frequent nightclubs in St. Louis and East St. Louis.[22] She first saw Ike Turner perform with his band the Kings of Rhythm at Club Manhattan in the East St. Louis.[22] Bullock was impressed by his talent, recalling that she "almost went into a trance" watching him play.[6] She felt the urge to sing with Turner's band despite the fact that few women had ever sung with him.[21] One night in 1957, she was given a microphone by Kings of Rhythm drummer Eugene Washington during an intermission and she sang the B.B. King blues ballad, "You Know I Love You".[27][28] Upon hearing Bullock sing, Turner asked her if she knew more songs, and she sang the rest of the night; becoming a featured vocalist with the Kings of Rhythm.[29][30][31] During this period, he taught her the finer points of vocal control and performance.[29] Bullock's first studio recording was in 1958 under the name "Little Ann" on the single "Boxtop." She is credited as a vocalist on the record alongside Ike and fellow Kings of Rhythm singer Carlson Oliver.[32]

In 1960, Turner wrote "A Fool in Love" for singer Art Lassiter. Bullock was to sing background with Lassiter's background vocalists, the Artettes. However, Lassiter failed to show up for the recording session. Turner already paid for the studio time so Bullock suggested to sing the song.[33][32] He decided to use her to record a demo with the intention of erasing her vocals and adding Lassiter's at a later date.[32][29][34] Local St. Louis disc jockey Dave Dixon convinced Ike to send the tape to Juggy Murray, president of R&B label Sue Records.[32][35] Upon hearing the song, Murray was impressed with Bullock's vocals, later stating that "Tina sounded like screaming dirt. It was a funky sound."[36] Murray bought the track and paid Turner a $25,000 advance for the recording and publishing rights.[35][37][38] Murray also convinced Turner to make Bullock "the star of the show".[38] Turner responded by giving Bullock the name "Tina" because it rhymed with Sheena.[35][39] He was inspired by Sheena, Queen of the Jungle and Nyoka the Jungle Girl to create her stage persona.[32][40] Turner added his last name and trademarked the name as a form of protection, so that if she left him like his previous singers had, he could replace her with another "Tina Turner."[32]

Early success: 1960–1965

Tina performing with Ike Turner in Hamburg, Germany, in 1972

"A Fool In Love" was released in July 1960 and became an immediate hit, peaking at number 2 on the Hot R&B Sides chart and number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. Kurt Loder described the track as "the blackest record to ever creep into the white pop charts since Ray Charles's gospel-styled 'What'd I Say' that previous summer."[36][41] Another hit by the duo, "It's Gonna Work Out Fine," reached number 14 on the Hot 100 and number 2 on the R&B chart in 1961. It and earned them a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock and Roll Performance. Notable singles released between 1960 and 1962 included the R&B hits "I Idolize You," "Poor Fool," and "Tra La La La La."

After the release of "A Fool In Love," Ike created the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, which included the Kings of Rhythm and a girl group called the Ikettes backing Tina. He remained in the background as the bandleader. Ike put the entire revue through a rigorous touring schedule across the United States, performing 90 days straight in venues around the country.[42] During the days of the Chitlin' Circuit, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue built a reputation as "one of the most hottest, most durable, and potentially most explosive of all R&B ensembles", with its show rivaling that of the James Brown Revue in terms of musical spectacle.[43] The shows provided them financial success. Due to their profitable performances, they were able to perform in front of desegregated audiences in southern clubs and hotels.[44]

Between 1963 and 1965, the band toured constantly and produced moderately successful R&B singles. Tina's first credited single as a solo artist, "Too Many Ties That Bind"/"We Need An Understanding" was released from Ike's label Sonja Records in 1964.[45][46] Another single by Ike and Tina, "You Can't Miss Nothing That You Never Had," reached number 29 on the Billboard R&B chart. After their tenure at Sue Records, the duo signed with more than ten labels during the remainder of the decade, including Kent, Cenco, Tangerine, Pompeii, A&M, and Minit.[32][47] In 1964, they signed with Loma Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records and run by Bob Krasnow, who had become their manager shortly after they left Sue Records. On the Warner Bros. label they achieved their first charting album. Live! The Ike & Tina Turner Show peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot R&B LP's chart in February 1965.[48] Their singles "Tell Her I'm Not Home" released by Loma and "Good Bye, So Long" released by Modern Records were top 40 R&B hits in 1965.

Tina's own profile was raised after several solo appearances on shows such as American Bandstand and Shindig!, while the entire revue appeared on Hollywood A Go-Go. In 1965, Phil Spector attended an Ike and Tina show at a club on the Sunset Strip, and he invited them to appear in the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show.[49]

Mainstream success: 1966–1975

Impressed by Ike and Tina's performance on The Big T.N.T. Show, Phil Spector was eager to produce Tina. Working out a deal, Spector offered Ike a $20,000 advance for creative control over the sessions to which Ike agreed.[32][50] Tina recorded the song "River Deep – Mountain High" which was released in 1966 on Spector's Philles label. Spector considered that record, with Tina's maximum energy over a symphonic sound, to be his best work.[51] It was successful overseas, particularly in the United Kingdom, where it eventually reached number 3 on the singles chart, but it failed to go any higher than number 88 on the Billboard Hot 100.[52] The impact of the record gave Ike and Tina an opening spot on The Rolling Stones UK tour in the fall of 1966.[6]

The duo signed with Blue Thumb Records in 1968, releasing the album Outta Season in 1969. The album produced their charted cover of Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long." Later that year they released The Hunter. The title track, Albert King's "The Hunter" earned Tina a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.[53] The success of the albums led to the Revue headlining at Las Vegas where their shows were attended by a variety of celebrities including David Bowie, Sly Stone, Janis Joplin, Cher, James Brown, Ray Charles, Elton John, and Elvis Presley.[54]

Turner performing in 1972

In the fall of 1969, Ike and Tina's profile in their home country was raised after opening for the Rolling Stones on their US tour.[55] They gained more exposure from performances on The Ed Sullivan Show, Playboy After Dark, and The Andy Williams Show[56][57][58] The duo released two albums in 1970, Come Together and Workin' Together.[32] Their cover of "I Want to Take You Higher" peaked at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 whereas the original by Sly and the Family Stone peaked four numbers below that position.[59] The Come Together and Workin' Together albums marked a turning point in their careers in which they switched from their usual R&B repertoire to incorporate more rock tunes such as "Come Together," "Honky Tonk Woman" and "Get Back".[55]

In early 1971, their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" became their biggest hit. The single reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over a million copies, winning them a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group.[60][61][62] Later in 1971, their live album, What You Hear Is What You Get, taken from a performance at Carnegie Hall, was their first album to be certified gold. In 1972, Ike opened the Bolic Sound studio near their home in Inglewood.[63] After Liberty was absorbed into United Artists Records, the duo was assigned to that label. Around this time, Tina began writing more songs. She wrote nine out of the ten tracks on the 1972 album Feel Good.[64] Ike and Tina released moderately successful singles in 1972 and 1973 with "I'm Yours (Use Me Anyway You Wanna)," "Up In Heah," and "Early One Morning."[59] Their hit single "Nutbush City Limits," penned by Tina, was released in 1973. It peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 11 on the R&B chart, and number 4 in the UK. Follow up R&B hits include "Sweet Rhode Island Red" and "Sexy Ida."[59]

In 1974, Ike and Tina released two Grammy nominated albums. Tina's first solo album, Tina Turns the Country On!, earned her a nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female.[65]The Gospel According to Ike & Tina was nominated for Best Soul Gospel Performance.[53] Ike also had a solo nomination for his single "Father Alone" from the album.[66] That year, Tina traveled to London to participate in the filming of the rock musical, Tommy, in which she played The Acid Queen, a drug-addicted prostitute; her performance was critically acclaimed. Shortly after filming wrapped, Tina appeared on Ann-Margret's TV special.[67] Following the release of Tommy, another Tina solo album, Acid Queen, was released in 1975.[68] The album reached 39 on the Billboard R&B chart. It produced charting singles "Baby, Get It On" and the Led Zeppelin cover "Whole Lotta Love."[69]

Demise of the duo: 1976

By the mid-1970s, Ike was heavily addicted to cocaine which hindered his relationship with Tina.[70] In 1976, Ike made plans to leave United Artists Records for a five-year, $150,000 deal with Cream Records. The deal was to be signed on July 6. On July 1, Ike and Tina flew from Los Angeles to Dallas where the revue had a gig at the Dallas Statler Hilton. They got into a physical altercation en route to the hotel. Shortly after arriving to the hotel, Tina fled from Ike and later hid at a friend's house.[71] On July 27, Tina filed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.[72][73][74] After their separation, two more studio album were released on United Artists credited to the duo, Delilah's Power (1977) and Airwaves (1978).[32][6] Their divorce was finalized on March 29, 1978. Tina assumed responsibility for the debts incurred from canceled concerts as well as a significant IRS lien.[75]

Solo career

Early solo career: 1977–1983

In 1977, with finances given to her by United Artists executive Michael Stewart, Turner returned onstage, giving a round of shows in Las Vegas in a cabaret setting, influenced by the cabaret shows she witnessed while a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. She took her cabaret act to smaller venues in the United States. Turner earned further income by appearing on shows such as The Hollywood Squares, Donny and Marie, The Sonny & Cher Show and The Brady Bunch Hour.[76] Later in 1977, Turner headlined her first solo concert tour, throughout Australia. In 1978, United Artists released her third solo album, Rough, with distribution both in North America and Europe with EMI. That album, along with its 1979 follow-up, Love Explosion, which included a brief diversion to disco rhythms, failed to chart.[77] The albums completed her United Artists/EMI contracts, and Turner left the labels. Continuing her performing career with her second headlining tour, Wild Lady of Rock 'n' Roll, she continued to be a successful live act even without the premise of a hit record.[78]

Manager Roger Davies agreed to manage Turner's career in February 1980. A recorded cover of The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" for the UK production team BEF, featuring Robert Cray, became a hit in European dance clubs in 1982.[79] Following performances and tours with Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones, and Chuck Berry, Turner filmed a music video that later aired on then-fledgling music video channel MTV; this made her one of the first African American artists to gain airtime on the channel.[80]

Career resurgence and superstardom: 1983–2000

Turner performing at Drammen, Norway, in 1985

During her stint at The Ritz in 1983 Turner signed with Capitol Records.[6] In November 1983, she released her cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" on Capitol. The record became a hit, reaching several European charts, including a top 10 placement in the United Kingdom. The song peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached the top 10 of the Hot Dance Club Songs and Hot Black Singles charts.[81][82][83]

Recorded in two months in London, the Private Dancer album was released in June 1984. That same month, Capitol issued the album's second single, "What's Love Got to Do with It", earlier recorded by the rock group Bucks Fizz in 1984. It reached the top 10 within a month and in September had reached number 1 on the Hot 100 in the U.S. Featuring other hit singles such as "Better Be Good to Me" and "Private Dancer", the album peaked at number 3 on the Billboard 200, selling over ten million copies worldwide; Private Dancer became her most successful album.[84][85][86] Turner's comeback culminated in early 1985 when she won four Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for "What's Love Got to Do with It."[53] In February of that year, she embarked on her second world tour supporting the Private Dancer album, where she toured to huge crowds. One show, filmed at Birmingham, England's NEC Arena, was later released on home video. During this time, she also contributed vocals to the USA for Africa benefit song "We Are the World".[40]

Turner's success continued when she traveled to Australia to star opposite Mel Gibson in the 1985 post-apocalyptic film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The movie provided her with her first acting role in ten years; she portrayed the glamorous Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown.[87] Upon release, critical response to her performance was generally positive. The film became a global success, making more than $36 million in the United States alone.[88] Turner later received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress for her role in the film. She also recorded two songs for the film, "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" and "One of the Living"; both became hits, with the latter winning her a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. In July, Turner performed at Live Aid alongside Mick Jagger;[89] their performance shocked observers[90] when Jagger ripped Turner's skirt off.[5] Turner sang a duet called "It's Only Love" with Bryan Adams. Released as a single in 1985,[91] the song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and the accompanying video won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance.[92]

Turner and Clapton, on stage, sharing a microphone stand, singing.
Tina Turner on tour with special guest Eric Clapton, June 17, 1987, in Wembley Arena, England

Turner released Break Every Rule in 1986. Featuring "Typical Male", "Two People" and "What You Get Is What You See", the album sold more than a million copies alone in the United States.[93] Prior to the album's release, Turner published her memoir, I, Tina (which later became a bestseller) and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Tina's Break Every Rule World Tour, which culminated in March 1987 in Munich, Germany, yielded record-breaking sales. In January 1988, Turner performed in front of approximately 180,000 at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, setting a Guinness World Record[94][95][96] at the time for the "largest paying rock concert attendance for a solo artist".[97] Turner released the Tina Live in Europe album in April 1988.[98] Tina took time off following the end of the Break Every Rule World Tour, emerging once again with Foreign Affair in 1989;[99] the album included the hit single "The Best."[100]

In 1991, Ike & Tina Turner were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[101] Ike was incarcerated and Tina did not attend; stating through her publicist she was taking a leave of absence following her Foreign Affair European Tour and that she felt "emotionally unequipped to return to the U.S. and respond to the night of celebration in the manner she would want."[102] Phil Spector accepted the honor on their behalf.[103]

In 1993, the semi-autobiographical film What's Love Got to Do with It was released.[104] The film starred Angela Bassett as Tina and Laurence Fishburne as Ike; the two actors received Best Actress and Best Actor Oscar nominations for their roles in the film.[105] While she was not heavily involved in the film, Turner contributed to the soundtrack for What's Love Got to Do with It, re-recording songs from her Ike & Tina days and recording several new songs. The single, "I Don't Wanna Fight", from the soundtrack, was a Top 10 hit.[100][106]

[...] Private Dancer was the beginning of my success in England and basically Europe has been very supportive of my music. [...] [I am] not as big as Madonna [in the United States]. I'm as big as Madonna in Europe. I'm as big as, in some places [in Europe], as the Rolling Stones [sic].

—Turner reflecting on her European success, Larry King Live, 1997[107]

Tina Turner returned to the studio in 1995, releasing "GoldenEye", which was written by Bono and The Edge of U2[108] for the James Bond film of the same name. Turner released the Wildest Dreams album in 1996 accompanied by a successful world tour. Before celebrating her 60th birthday, Tina released the dance-infused song "When the Heartache Is Over" in September 1999 as the leading single from her tenth and final album, Twenty Four Seven.[109] The success of "When the Heartache Is Over" and her tour supporting the album helped it become certified gold by the RIAA.[93] The Twenty Four Seven Tour became her most successful concert tour to date and became the highest-grossing tour of 2000, grossing over $100 million.[110] At a July 2000 concert in Zürich, Switzerland, Turner announced that she would retire at the end of the tour.[111]

Recent years: 2000–present

In 2002, Tennessee State Route 19 between Brownsville and Nutbush was named "Tina Turner Highway".[112][113][114]

U.S. President George W. Bush congratulates Tina Turner during a reception for the Kennedy Center Honors in the East Room of the White House on December 4, 2005. From left, the other honorees are singer Tony Bennett, dancer Suzanne Farrell, actress Julie Harris, and actor Robert Redford.

In December 2005, Turner was recognized by the Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and was elected to join an elite group of entertainers.[115] President George W. Bush commented on her "natural skill, the energy, and sensuality",[116] and referred to her legs as "the most famous in show business".[117][118] Several artists paid tribute to her that night including Oprah Winfrey, Melissa Etheridge (performing "River Deep – Mountain High"), Queen Latifah (performing "What's Love Got to Do with It"), Beyoncé (performing "Proud Mary"), and Al Green (performing "Let's Stay Together"). Winfrey stated, "We don't need another hero. We need more heroines like you, Tina. You make me proud to spell my name w-o-m-a-n".[119]

Turner made a public comeback in February 2008 at the Grammy Awards where she performed alongside Beyoncé.[120][121] In addition, she picked up a Grammy as a featured artist on River: The Joni Letters. In October 2008, Turner embarked on her first tour in nearly ten years with the Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour.[122][123] In support of the tour, Turner released another hits compilation. The tour became a huge success and was one of the best-selling tours of all time.[110]

In April 2010, mainly due to an online campaign by fans of Rangers Football Club, Turner's 1989 hit, "The Best", returned to the UK singles chart, peaking at number 9 on the chart. This made Turner the first female recording artist in UK chart history to score top 40 hits in six consecutive decades: the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s.[124] In 2011, Beyond's second album Children – With Children United in Prayer followed and charted again in Switzerland. Turner promoted the album by performing on TV shows in Germany and Switzerland in December that year. Turner appeared on the cover of the German issue of Vogue magazine in April 2013, becoming at the age of 73 the oldest person worldwide to feature on the cover of Vogue.[125] On February 3, 2014, Parlophone Records released a new compilation titled Love Songs.[126]

Turner announced in December 2016 that she had been working on Tina, a musical based on her life story, in collaboration with Phyllida Lloyd and Stage Entertainment.[127] The show opened in London in April 2018 with Adrienne Warren in the lead role.[95] Her second memoir, Tina Turner: My Love Story, was released in October 2018.[128]

In January 2018, it was announced that Turner would receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[129] In October 2018, it was announced that the biographical musical Tina would open on Broadway in the fall of 2019.[130]

Personal life

Relationships and marriages

Early relationships

While still in Brownsville, Turner (then called Anna Mae Bullock) fell in love for the first time with Harry Taylor.[40] They met at a high school basketball game. Taylor attended a different school, but relocated to Bullock's school to be near her.[131] She spoke about this relationship in her 1986 interview with Rolling Stone: "Harry was real popular and had tons of girlfriends, but eventually I got him, and we went steady for a year."[132] Their relationship ended after she learned that Taylor had married another girl he impregnated.[132]

After moving to St. Louis, Bullock and her sister Alline became acquainted with the Kings of Rhythm. Alline was dating the band's drummer Eugene Washington and Bullock began dating the saxophonist Raymond Hill. During Bullock's senior year of high school, she became pregnant. After her mother Zelma found out, Bullock moved in with Hill, who lived with Ike Turner.[6] She said, "I didn't love [Hill] as much as [she had] loved Harry. But he was good-looking. I thought, 'My baby's going to be beautiful.'"[132] Their relationship ended after Hill broke his ankle during a wrestling match with Kings of Rhythm singer Carlson Oliver. The injury was so severe that Hill returned to his hometown of Clarksdale before their son Craig was born in August 1958; leaving Bullock to become a single parent.[133][134]

Ike Turner

Tina's relationship with Ike Turner was strictly platonic from the time they met in 1957 until 1960. Their affair began while Ike was still with his common-law wife Lorraine Taylor.[6][32] Tina told Rolling Stone that they became intimate after she had gone into Ike's bedroom to escape from another musician who attempted to have sex with her.[132] After the birth of their son Ronnie in October 1960, the couple moved to Los Angeles in 1962. They married that same year in Tijuana. By 1964, Ike had bought a house in View Park and they brought their son Ronnie, Tina's son Craig, and Ike's two sons with Lorraine, Ike Jr. and Michael from St. Louis to live with them.[6][32]

According to Tina, Ike first struck her after she told him she did not want to change her name and expressed concern about going on tour.[133] He responded by hitting her in the head with a wooden shoe stretcher and then instructed her to get into bed.[135][136] Tina wrote in her memoir, I, Tina, that this incident was the first time Ike had "instilled fear" in her, but she decided to stay with him because she "really did care about him."[41][135] She said, "It was my relationship with Ike that made me most unhappy. At first, I had really been in love with him. Look what he'd done for me. But he was totally unpredictable."[6] Tina alleged that Ike was abusive throughout their marriage.[6] Feeling hopeless in the relationship due to Ike's infidelity and volatile behavior, Tina attempted suicide in 1968 by swallowing 50 Valium pills before a show in Los Angeles.[21] Ike was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his old age.[137] In his memoir, Takin' Back My Name (1999), Ike said: "Sure, I've slapped Tina. We had fights and there have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I never beat her."[32] In 1999, Roseanne Barr coaxed him to publicly apologize to Tina on The Roseanne Barr Show.[138]

Tina abruptly left Ike after they got into fight on their way to the Dallas Statler Hilton on July 1, 1976.[71] Tina later recalled that she fled with only 36 cents and a Mobil credit card in her pocket.[139][140] A few weeks later on July 27, Tina filed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.[72][73] Her divorce petition asked for $4,000 a month in alimony, $1,000 a month in child support, and custody of her sons Craig and Ronnie.[6] After over a year in court, the divorce was finalized on March 29, 1978.[6] In the final divorce decree, Tina took responsibility for missed concert dates as well as an IRS lien. Tina retained songwriter royalties from songs she had written, but Ike got the publishing royalties for his compositions and hers. She also kept her two Jaguars, furs and jewelry along with her stage name.[6][141] Tina gave Ike her share of their Bolic Sound recording studio, publishing companies, real estate, and he kept his four cars.[6] "My peace of mind was more important," she said.[74] After she left Ike, several promoters lost money and sued to recoup their losses. For almost two years, she received food stamps and played small clubs to pay off debts.[74]

In a 1996 radio interview on Fresh Air, Ike claimed that he was never officially married to Tina and that her birth name is Martha Nell Bullock, not Anna Mae Bullock.[142] He also mentioned this on The Howard Stern Show in 1993 and 2007.[143] His claim about her name was later supported by a 1977 contract that was up for auction by Heritage Auctions; Tina signed her legal name as Martha Nell Turner.[144]

On December 12, 2007, Ike died from a cocaine overdose. He had also been suffering from emphysema and cardiovascular disease. Tina issued a brief statement through her spokesperson, stating: "Tina hasn't had any contact with Ike in more than 30 years. No further comment will be made."[145] Tina's sister Alline still considered Ike her brother-in-law and attended his funeral.[137] Phil Spector criticized Tina at the funeral and said, "Ike made Tina the jewel she was."[146]

In 2018, while promoting Tina: The Musical, Tina told The Sunday Times that she has forgiven Ike: "As an old person, I have forgiven him, but I would not work with him. He asked for one more tour with me, and I said, 'No, absolutely not.' Ike wasn't someone you could forgive and allow him back in."[147][148]

Erwin Bach

While at a record label party in London in 1986 during the time Turner was touring for the Private Dancer album, Turner met German music executive Erwin Bach. Bach is sixteen years her junior. Initially friends, Turner and Bach began dating the following year, and have remained together ever since. In July 2013, after a 27-year romantic partnership, the couple married in a civil ceremony on the banks of Lake Zurich, in Küsnacht, northern Switzerland.[149]


Tina Turner had two biological sons, Craig Raymond Turner (with Raymond Hill) and Ronald Renelle Turner, known as Ronnie (with Ike Turner). She also adopted two of Ike Turner's children, Ike Turner Jr. (born October 3, 1958) and Michael Turner (born February 23, 1960), raising them as her own.[40]

Tina's eldest son was born Raymond Craig Hill on August 20, 1958, when she was 18 years old. His biological father was Kings of Rhythm saxophonist Raymond Hill,[29] but he was adopted by Ike Turner in 1962 and his name was changed to Craig Raymond Turner.[150] In July 2018, Craig was found dead at age 59 in an apparent suicide; according to the initial report of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's Office, the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.[151]

Tina's youngest son Ronald "Ronnie" Renelle Turner was born on October 27, 1960. Ronnie played bass guitar in his mother's band soon after his parents divorced, and he later played in a band with his father.[32] He is married to French-American singer Afida Turner.[152][153] Through Ronnie, Tina is a grandmother of two.[1]

During Ike and Tina's divorce trial, Ike sent the four boys to live with Tina at her home and gave her money for one month's rent.[6][154] Ike Turner Jr. worked as a sound engineer at Bolic Sound and for Tina after the divorce.[6] He later won a Grammy Award for his involvement with his father's album Risin' with the Blues.[155] In 1985, Ike accused Tina of bad parenting, even alleging she had sent Michael to a mental hospital.[156] Tina denied his claims, telling TV Week that Ike "gave [her] those children and not a penny to look after them with."[157] However, she admitted in I, Tina that she became "a little bit estranged" from all her sons except Craig.[6]


Turner revealed in her 2018 memoir Tina Turner: My Love Story that she had suffered life-threatening illnesses.[158] In 2013, three weeks after her wedding to Erwin Bach, she suffered a stroke and had to learn to walk again. In 2016, she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Turner opted for homeopathic remedies to treat her high blood pressure that resulted in damage to her kidneys and eventual kidney failure. Her chances of receiving a kidney were low, and she was urged to start dialysis. Turner considered assisted suicide and signed up to be a member of Exit, but Bach offered to donate a kidney for her transplant; the transplant took place on April 7, 2017.[133][159][160]


Turner has sometimes referred to herself as a "Buddhist-Baptist", alluding to her upbringing in the Baptist church and her later conversion to Buddhism.[161] Throughout her childhood and early adulthood, Turner was Baptist.[162] In a 2016 interview, Turner said, "I consider myself a Buddhist."[163] Turner began practicing Nichiren Buddhism in 1973[164][163][165] after learning of Buddhism from a friend of Ike's named Valerie Bishop.[165][166] In her autobiography I, Tina, Turner wrote that after she learned the Buddhist chant Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō from Bishop, Ike—instead of hitting her for supposedly singing wrong notes during recording sessions—would give her money to go shopping; Turner regarded this change as a benefit of her newfound spiritual practice.[167]

Turner has collaborated with Tibetan Buddhists and met with the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso in Einsiedeln, Switzerland in 2005, citing this as an inspiration for a spiritual music project she later co-founded called Beyond.[168][169]

In an August 2011 interview with Shambhala Sun, Turner stated that she adhered to the teachings and values of the Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International.[170] Turner said in an August 2018 interview with World Tribune that during the hardest times of her life she chanted four hours per day, and although she no longer chants as much she still maintains a daily practice.[165]

In a March 2016 interview with Lion's Roar, Turner likened Buddhist chanting to singing:

.mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is like a song. In the Soka Gakkai tradition we are taught how to sing it. It is a sound and a rhythm and it touches a place inside you. That place we try to reach is the subconscious mind. I believe that is the highest place.[163]

Residences and citizenship

Turner has been living in the lake house Château Algonquin in Küsnacht, near to Zürich, since 1994.[171][172] She owned property in Cologne, London, and Los Angeles, and a villa on the French Riviera named Anna Fleur.[173]

On January 25, 2013, it was announced that Turner had applied for Swiss citizenship,[174][175] and that she would relinquish her U.S. citizenship.[176][177] In April, she undertook a mandatory citizenship test which included advanced knowledge of German (the official language of the canton of Zürich) and of Swiss history. On April 22, 2013, she became a citizen of Switzerland and was issued a Swiss passport.[178] Turner signed the paperwork to give up her American citizenship at the U.S. embassy in Bern on October 24, 2013.[177]

Awards, nominations, and accolades

Turner is noted for her "swagger, sensuality, gravelly vocals and unstoppable energy",[179] along with her career longevity[180][181] and trademark legs.[118] Author Kurt Loder has asserted that Turner's voice "'combined the emotional force of the great blues singers with a sheer, wallpaper-peeling power that seemed made to order for the age of amplification'".[179] According to The Guardian:

Turner merged sound and movement at a critical turning point in rock history, navigating and reflecting back the technological innovations of a new pop-music era in the 60s and 70s. She catapulted herself to the forefront of a musical revolution that had long marginalized and overlooked the pioneering contributions of African American women and then remade herself again at an age when most pop musicians were hitting the oldies circuit. Turner's musical character has always been a charged combination of mystery as well as light, melancholy mixed with a ferocious vitality that often flirted with danger.[179]

  • Ike & Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.[182]
  • In 1993, the World Music Awards recognized Turner's years in the music business by awarding her the Legend Award.[183]
  • In 1996, Turner received the accolade of Légion d'Honneur from the French education minister.[184]
  • In 2000, Turner was the female artist with the most shows with 25 at Wembley Arena and with 5 at Wembley Stadium (three in 1996 and two in 2000) by Wembley Arena Record.[185]
  • In 2004, People ranked her 1985 performance of "What's Love Got to Do With It" as one of the Grammy Awards' top moments,[186] as did Time in 2009.[187]
  • Turner received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2005.[188]
  • In 2008, Turner was listed in 17th place on Rolling Stone's list "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time".[181]Rolling Stone also ranked Turner 63rd on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.[189]
  • In 2013, at age 73, Turner became the oldest person to be featured on the front cover of Vogue; she surpassed Meryl Streep, who covered American Vogue in 2012, aged 62.[190]
  • Also in 2013, ABC ranked her second on their list of the "30 Greatest Women in Music", behind Whitney Houston.[191]
  • In 2014, Turner was inducted into the SoulMusic Hall of Fame.[192]
  • As of 2018, Turner has sold more than 200 million records worldwide.[193][3]
  • In 2019, Turner was selected to be inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.[194]
  • In the United Kingdom, Turner is the first female artist to have a top 40 hit in six consecutive decades; she has had a total of 34 UK top 40 hits.[195]
  • Turner has her own stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame[196] and on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[197]
  • Turner has held a Guinness World Record for the largest paid audience (180,000 in 1988) for a solo performer.[97][94]
  • Turner is often referred in the media as "The Queen of Rock and Roll".[198][180][190]
  • Turner has sold more concert tickets than any other female performer in history.[199]
  • Turner is the only female artist to garner concurrent Grammy nominations for pop, rock, and R&B.[200][201]
  • Turner has won a total of 12 Grammy Awards. These awards include eight competitive Grammy Awards;[53] she holds the record with four awards given for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.[202][203] Three of her recordings--"River Deep – Mountain High" (1999), "Proud Mary" (2003), and "What's Love Got to Do with It" (2012)--are in the Grammy Hall of Fame.[204] She also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.[205]




Year Film Role Notes
1966 The Big T.N.T. Show Herself Sequel to T.A.M.I. Show
1970 It's Your Thing Herself Documentary on The Isley Brothers concert at Yankee Stadium
1970 Gimme Shelter Herself Documentary on The Rolling Stones' 1969 American tour
1971 Soul to Soul Herself Documentary on the Independence Day concert in Ghana
1971 Taking Off Herself
1971 Good Vibrations from Central Park Herself
1975 Tommy The Acid Queen
1975 Ann-Margret Olsson Herself
1975 Poiret est à vous Herself
1978 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Our Guests at Heartland
1982 Chuck Berry: Live at the Roxy with Tina Turner Herself
1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Aunty Entity Won (1986) – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
1993 What's Love Got to Do with it Herself Singing voice for Angela Bassett, also archive footage
1993 Tina Turner: Girl From Nutbush Herself Documentary
1993 Last Action Hero The Mayor



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External links

Preceded by
Gladys Knight
James Bond title song performer
Succeeded by
Sheryl Crow
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