Tina Turner

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Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock; November 26, 1939) is an American-born Swiss singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress. Turner rose to international prominence as a featured singer with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm before recording hit singles both with Ike and as a solo performer. One of the world's best-selling artists of all time, she has been referred to as The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll[3][4][5] and has sold more than 200 million records worldwide to date.[6] Turner is noted for her energetic stage presence, powerful vocals, career longevity[4][7] and well-known for her trademark legs.[8]

Anna Mae Bullock was born to a small family in Nutbush, Tennessee. Growing up throughout the Southeastern United States, she began singing in local church choirs. She began her career in 1958 as a featured singer with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm, first recording under the name "Little Ann".[9] Her introduction to the public as Tina Turner began in 1960 as a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.[10] Success followed with a string of notable hits credited to the duo, including "A Fool in Love",[11] "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" (1961), "River Deep – Mountain High" (1966), "Proud Mary" (1971), and "Nutbush City Limits" (1973), a song that she wrote.

In her autobiography, I, Tina (1986), Turner revealed several instances of severe domestic abuse against her by Ike Turner 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, which Turner says helped her to endure during difficult times.[12][13][14] After her divorce from Ike, Turner rebuilt her career through live performances.

In the 1980s, Turner launched a major comeback with another string of hits, starting in late 1983 with the single "Let's Stay Together" 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", which became Turner's biggest hit and won four Grammy Awards including Record of the Year. Her solo success continued throughout the 1980s and 90s with multi-platinum albums including Break Every Rule and Foreign Affair, and with singles such as "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)", "Typical Male", "The Best", "I Don't Wanna Fight", and "GoldenEye" (from the 1995 James Bond film of the same name). 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;[15] the tour became one of the highest-selling ticketed shows of 2008–09.[16] In addition to her musical career, Turner has also garnered success acting in films, including the role of the Acid Queen in the 1975 rock musical Tommy, a starring role alongside Mel Gibson in the 1985 action film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and a cameo role in the 1993 film Last Action Hero.

Throughout her career, Turner has won 12 Grammy Awards, including eight competitive awards, three Grammy Hall of Fame awards, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the only female artist to garner concurrent Grammy nominations for pop, rock, and R&B.[17][18] Turner holds the record for the most wins with four awards given for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.[19][20]Rolling Stone ranked Turner 63rd on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time[21] and 17th on their list of the 100 greatest singers of all time.[7] 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.[22] Turner has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[23] Turner has held a Guinness World Record for the largest paid audience (180,000 in 1988) for a solo performer.[24][25] In 1991, Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[26]

Early life

Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee, the daughter of Zelma Priscilla (née Currie; November 18, 1918 - October 9, 1999) and Floyd Richard Bullock (1912-1967). She was born at Poindexter Farm on Highway 180, where her father worked as an overseer of the sharecroppers; Anna later recalls picking cotton with her family at an early age.[27][28] She is of African-American descent, with approximately 33% European and 1% Native American ancestry.[29][30] The latter was revealed when she appeared on the PBS documentary African American Lives 2, and the host Henry Louis Gates shared the results of her ancestral tests.[31][32]

Anna Mae Bullock had an older sister, Ruby Alline (December 1, 1936 - September 4, 2010). As young children, Anna and Alline were separated when their parents relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, to work at a defense facility during World War II.[28] Anna went to stay with her strict, religious paternal grandparents, Alex and Roxanna Bullock, who were deacon and deaconess at the Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church, which was located on Woodlawn Road off Highway 19.[33][28] After the war, the sisters reunited with their parents and moved with them to Knoxville.[28] Two years later, the family returned to Nutbush to live in the Flagg Grove community, where Anna attended Flagg Grove Elementary School from first through eighth grade. In 1889, her great-great uncle had sold the land on which the school was built to the school trustees.[34][35]

As a young girl, Anna sang in the church choir at Nutbush's Spring Hill Baptist Church.[36][37] 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.[38] As a teen, Anna worked as a domestic worker for the Henderson family. Two years after her mother left, her father married another woman and moved to Chicago. Anna and her sister were sent to live with their grandmother Georgeanna in Brownsville, Tennessee.[38] Tina Turner later stated in her memoir, I, Tina, that she felt her mother had not loved her and that she "wasn't wanted", stating further that her mother had planned to leave her father when pregnant with her.[39] "She was a very young woman who didn't want another kid," Tina wrote.[39][40] Her relationship with her mother remained estranged until Bullock's death in 1999.[41]

A self-professed tomboy, Anna Bullock joined both the cheerleading squad and the female basketball team at Carver High School in Brownsville, and "socialized every chance she got".[27][38] Her first boyfriend, while she was living in Brownsville, was Harry Taylor, who originally attended a rival school to hers. Taylor relocated to Anna's school to be near her.[42] The relationship ended after Anna learned that Harry had married another woman.[43] When Anna was 16, her grandmother died suddenly. After the funeral, she went to live with her mother in St. Louis, where she was reunited with her sister. There, she graduated from Sumner High School in 1958.[44] After her graduation, she worked as a nurse's aide at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Ike & Tina Turner


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

Anna and her sister began to frequent nightclubs in the St. Louis and East St. Louis areas around this time.[38] At Club Manhattan, a nightclub in the East St. Louis area, she first saw Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm, perform.[38] Anna was impressed by the band's music and Ike's talent, claiming the bandleader's music put her "into a trance."[45][38] Anna felt the urge to sing on stage with Ike's band despite the fact that few women had ever sung with him.[37] One night in late 1956 or early 1957, 17-year-old Anna was given a microphone by Kings of Rhythm drummer Eugene Washington during an intermission where she sang the B.B. King blues ballad, "You Know I Love You.[46] Upon hearing her sing, Ike asked her if she knew more songs; she was allowed to sing that night, becoming a featured vocalist with the Kings of Rhythm from then on.[47][48][49] Through this period, Ike taught her the points of voice control and performance.[47] Her first studio recording was in 1958, under the name "Little Ann", on the Ike Turner song, "Box Top", where she is credited as a vocalist on the record alongside fellow Kings of Rhythm singer Carlson Oliver.

In 1960, Ike wrote an R&B song, "A Fool in Love", originally for Kings of Rhythm vocalist Art Lassiter, for which Anna was to sing background with Lassiter's background vocalists, the Artettes. Lassiter failed to show up to the recording studio and Turner asked Anna to use her voice on the song as a "dummy vocal", with the intention of erasing her vocals and adding Lassiter's at a later date.[47] Although some felt that the demo with Anna's voice was "high pitched" and "screechy", the song received decent airtime in St. Louis.[50] Local St. Louis deejay Dave Dixon convinced Ike to send the tape to Juggy Murray, president of R&B label, Sue Records.[50] Upon hearing the song, Murray was impressed with Anna's vocals, later stating that her vocals "sounded like screaming dirt... it was a funky sound."[51][50] Murray bought the track and paid Ike a $25,000 (around $208,620 as of 2017) advance for recording and publishing rights.[50][52][53] Murray also convinced Turner to make Anna "the star of the show".[53] Ike responded by giving Anna the name "Tina", because the name rhymed with the television character Sheena.[50][54] He was inspired by Sheena, Queen of the Jungle to create her stage persona.[55] Paranoid that Tina would leave him, Ike added his last name and trademarked it as a form of protection so that if Anna left him like his previous lead singers, he could replace her with another singer and have her perform as Tina; he added his own name to the single to further retain control of Anna's career.

Early success

"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 that October. Kurt Loder described the track as "the blackest record to ever creep into the white pop charts since Ray Charles' gospel-styled 'What'd I Say' that previous summer."[50][56] A second pop hit, "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" (1961), reached the top 20 and earned the group a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock and Roll Performance. Notable singles released during the duo's Sue Records period included the R&B hits, "I Idolize You", "Poor Fool", and "Tra-La-La-La". In 1964, Ike & Tina left Sue and signed with Kent Records, releasing the modest single, "I Can't Believe What You Say". The following year, 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. Between 1964 and 1969, Ike & Tina signed with more than ten labels.[57]

While touring to support the record, Ike created his own musical revue, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, which included the Kings of Rhythm and a girl group that Ike named The Ikettes backing Tina, while he remained in the background, often playing his guitar to the back of Tina. Wanting to maintain their base and increase finances, Ike Turner put Tina and the entire Revue through a rigorous touring schedule across the United States, gigging 90 days straight in dates around the country.[58] During the days of the chitlin' circuit, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue built a reputation that a writer for the History of Rock site cited 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 Show in terms of musical spectacle.[59] The shows provided them financial success. Due to their successful performances, the couple was able to perform in front of diverse crowds in the American South due to the money they made from performing in Southern clubs.[60] Between 1963 and 1966, the band toured constantly without the presence of a hit single. Tina's own profile was raised after several solo appearances on shows, such as American Bandstand and Shindig!, while the entire Revue appeared on shows, such as Hollywood A Go-Go, The Andy Williams Show, and, in late 1965, in the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show.[61]

Mainstream success

In 1965, Phil Spector caught an Ike & Tina performance in Los Angeles and sought to work with Tina. Working out a deal, Spector gave Ike a $20,000 advance to keep out of the studio to which Ike agreed.[62][63] With Spector, Tina produced 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.[64] 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 #88 in the United States. Crushed, Spector never signed another act to Philles. But the impact of the record gave Ike and Tina an opening spot for The Rolling Stones' UK tour later that fall, which the Revue later extended by performing all over Europe and Australia.[65] Signing with Blue Thumb Records in 1968, the Revue issued the blues-heavy albums, Outta Season and The Hunter. Outta Season produced the Revue's charted cover of Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long" while the latter earned Tina a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for her rendition of the title track, originally recorded by Albert King. 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.[66]

Turner performing 1972

In 1969, the Revue's profile in their home country was raised after opening for the Rolling Stones on their US tour. In 1970, they performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. The tour's success resulted in the Revue signing with Liberty Records, where they released two albums, Come Together and Workin' Together, released in 1970 and 1971 respectively.[67]Come Together produced the duo's first top 40 pop single in eight years with their cover of Sly and the Family Stone's "I Want to Take You Higher". Come Together marked a turning point in their careers in which they switched from their usual R&B repertoire to incorporate more rock tunes. In early 1971, their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" became their biggest hit, reaching number 4 on the Hot 100 and selling over a million copies, winning them a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group.[68][69][70] Later in 1971, their live album, What You Hear Is What You Get, taken from a performance at Carnegie Hall, was their first to be certified gold. In 1972, Ike Turner created the studio, Bolic Sounds, near their home in Inglewood.[71] After Liberty was bought by United Artists Records, the duo was assigned to that label, releasing ten albums in a three-year period. The duo's final major hit single, "Nutbush City Limits", was released in 1973, reaching number 22 on the Hot 100, and peaking at number 4 in the UK.[72] In 1974, Tina released her first solo album, Tina Turns the Country On!, winning a Grammy nomination.[73]

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 who tries to coax Tommy into sex and illegal drug addiction and sang the song of the same name; her performance was critically acclaimed. Shortly after filming wrapped, Tina appeared with Ann-Margret on her TV special in London. Returning to the United States, Tina continued her career with the Revue. Following the release of Tommy, another Tina Turner solo album, Acid Queen, was released in 1975.[74]

Decline of the duo

By the mid-1970s, Ike Turner's excessive cocaine habit had gotten out of hand. During this period, Tina adopted the Nichiren Buddhist faith and chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to help her deal with a stressful marriage and career. Due to Ike Turner's drug abuse, some shows were either canceled or postponed.[75] In July 1976, Ike Turner had 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 2, 1976, Ike and Tina were en route from Los Angeles to Dallas where the Revue had a gig at the Dallas Statler Hilton. Ike and Tina got into a fight during their ride to the hotel. Shortly after arriving to the hotel, Tina fled from the hotel and later hid at a friend's house[76] to escape Ike's abuse.[77] On July 27, Tina sued for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.[78][79][80] After a year in court, their divorce was made final on March 29, 1978; in the divorce, Tina assumed responsibility for the debts incurred by the duo's canceled tour as well as a significant Internal Revenue Service lien.[81]

Solo career

Early solo career

In 1977, with finances given to her by United Artists executive Michael Stewart, Tina 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. Tina earned further income by appearing on shows such as The Hollywood Squares, Donny and Marie, The Sonny & Cher Show and The Brady Bunch Hour.[82] Later in 1977, Tina 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 follow-up, Love Explosion, which included a brief diversion to disco rhythms, failed to chart.[83]

The albums completed her United Artists/EMI contracts and Tina 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.[84] Following an appearance on Olivia Newton-John's US TV special, Hollywood Nights, in 1979, Tina sought a contract with Newton-John's manager Roger Davies. Davies agreed to work with Tina as her manager after seeing her perform at the Venetian Ballroom in the Fairmont San Francisco hotel in February 1980.

After Turner told Davies of her plans to fill in rock arenas like Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones, Davies advised Tina to drop her old cabaret act and remodel the band into a modern rock outfit, taking the new band to perform in small clubs and bars throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 1981, Davies booked her at The Ritz in New York City. Following the performance, Rod Stewart hired her to perform a duet version of his hit, "Hot Legs", on Saturday Night Live on October 3, 1981, and later hired her to open for him on his U.S. tour. One show with Rod Stewart and Kim Carnes, on December 19, 1981, at the L. A. Forum, Inglewood, was filmed. Afterwards, Tina Turner opened three shows for The Rolling Stones. A recorded cover of The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" for the UK production team B.E.F. featuring Robert Cray, became a hit in European dance clubs in 1982.[85] A music video was filmed in Europe featuring Tina and her band and later aired on the then-fledgling music video channel MTV, making her one of the first African American artists to have their video played on the channel. Following performances with Chuck Berry and several short tours in the U.S. and Europe, she again performed at the Ritz in December of the year, which resulted in a singles deal with Capitol Records under the insistence of David Bowie.

Private Dancer and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

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[...] 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 in 1997, on her European success[86]

In November 1983, Tina released her cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" with 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, becoming Tina's first solo entry into the U.S. charts. It also peaked at the top 10 of the Hot Dance Club Songs and Hot Black Singles charts.[87][88][89][90][91] The success of the song forced Capitol to rethink its contract with Turner, offering her a three-album deal and demanding an album on short notice.[92] Recorded in two months in London, the album, Private Dancer, 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 five million copies alone in the states and over twenty million copies worldwide; Private Dancer became her most successful album.[93][94][95][96] 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". 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".

Tina 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.[97] 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.[98] 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.[99] Encouraged by a performance together during Tina's filmed solo concert in England, singer Bryan Adams released their duet single together, "It's Only Love", later resulting in a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Subsequent releases

Turer 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

Tina Turner followed up Private Dancer with Break Every Rule in 1986. Featuring "Typical Male", "Two People" and "What You Get Is What You See", the album sold more than four million units in the U.S.,[100] Prior to the album's release, Turner published her memoirs, I, Tina (which later became a bestseller) and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Tina's European Break Every Rule Tour, which culminated in March 1988 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[25][101][102] "for the largest paying rock concert attendance for a solo artist" that held until 1997.[24] The success of Turner's two live tours led to the recording of Tina Live in Europe which was released that April. Tina lay low following the end of her Break Every Rule Tour, emerging once again with Foreign Affair in 1989; the album included one of her signature songs, "The Best." She later embarked on a European tour to promote the album. Foreign Affair went gold in the United States, with its singles "The Best" and "Steamy Windows" becoming Top 40 hits there. It was hugely successful in Europe, where she had personally relocated.

In 1991, Ike & Tina Turner were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Phil Spector later accepted on their behalf. That same year, the ex-couple signed away their rights to have their lives dramatized in the semi-autobiographical film What's Love Got to Do with It, later released in 1993 and starring Angela Bassett as Tina and Laurence Fishburne as Ike; the two actors receiving Best Actress and Best Actor Oscar nominations for their portrayals of the former husband-and-wife team. Tina contributed to the soundtrack for What's Love Got to Do with It, re-recording songs from her Revue days and recording several newer songs, including what turned out to be her last Top 10 U.S. hit, "I Don't Wanna Fight". Other than helping Bassett with her wardrobe and teaching her dance steps, providing songs for the soundtrack, and appearing as herself at the end of the film, she refused to be involved fully in the film, telling an interviewer, "Why would I want to see Ike Turner beat me up again? I haven't dwelled on it; it's all in the past where it belongs."[103] Following the film's and soundtrack's release, Tina embarked on her first US tour in seven years. Following the tour's end, she moved to Switzerland and took a year off from the road at the end of the tour.

Turner's handprints at the Rotterdam Walk of Fame on May 26, 1996

Tina Turner returned in 1995 with the U2 composition, "GoldenEye" for the James Bond film of the same name. Its huge success in Europe and modest success in her native United States led her to release the Wildest Dreams album in 1996. Thanks to a world tour and a much played Hanes hosiery commercial, the album went gold in the United States. The album reached platinum success in Europe, where she had hits with "Whatever You Want"; "Missing You", which briefly charted in the U.S.; "Something Beautiful Remains"; and the sensual Barry White duet, "In Your Wildest Dreams". Following the tour's end in 1997, Tina took another break before re-emerging again in 1999 appearing on the VH-1 special Divas Live '99.

In 1998, Turner's duet with Italian musician Eros Ramazzotti in "Cose della vita" became a European hit. Before celebrating her 60th birthday, Tina released the dance-infused song "When the Heartache Is Over" and its parent album, Twenty Four Seven the following month in Europe; she released both the song and the album in North America in early 2000. The success of "When the Heartache Is Over" and her tour supporting the album once again helped the album to go gold in the U.S. 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.[16] Afterwards, Tina announced a semi-retirement.

Recent years

In 2002, Tennessee State Route 19 between Brownsville and Nutbush was named "Tina Turner Highway".[104][105][106] The following year, she recorded the duet "Great Spirits" with Phil Collins for the Disney film, Brother Bear. In 2004, Tina made her first professional appearances following her semi-retirement, releasing the compilation album, All the Best, which produced the single "Open Arms", and sold more than a million copies in the US.

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 of the following year, Tina 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.[107] President George W. Bush commented on her "natural skill, the energy, and sensuality",[108] and referred to her legs as "the most famous in show business".[109] 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,"[110] In November, Tina Turner released All the Best – Live Collection and it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. She participated in the soundtrack to All the Invisible Children, providing duet vocals to the song "Teach Me Again", with singer Elisa, finding success in Italy where it peaked at the top spot.

In 2007, Tina gave her first live performance in seven years, headlining a benefit concert for the Cauldwell's Children Charity at London's Natural History Museum. That year, she performed a rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Edith and The Kingpin" on Herbie Hancock's Mitchell tribute album, River: The Joni Letters. Tina's original vocals for Carlos Santana's "The Game of Love" were included in a Santana greatest hits compilation. Label demands led to her vocals being replaced at the last minute by Michelle Branch.

On December 12, 2007, Tina's former husband Ike Turner 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."[111]

Tina Turner made her public comeback in February 2008 at the Grammy Awards where she performed alongside Beyoncé.[112][113] 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.[114] In support of the tour, Turner released another hits compilation. The tour became a huge success and culminated in the release of the live album/DVD, Tina Live. In 2009, Turner participated in the singing project Beyond with fellow musicians Regula Curti, Selda Bagcan, and Dechen Shak Dagsay. Their first album Buddhist And Christian Prayers combined Buddhist chants and Christian choral music along with a spiritual message read by Turner. The album was released only in Germany and a handful of other countries. It peaked at number 7 in Switzerland.

In April 2010, mainly due to an online campaign by fans of Rangers Football Club, Tina'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.[115] 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. In May 2012, Turner was spotted attending a fashion show in Beijing to support Giorgio Armani.[116] 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.[117] On February 3, 2014, Parlophone Records released a new compilation titled Love Songs. Later in the year, Beyond's third album Love Within was released with Turner contributing some gospel tracks.

Turner announced in December 2016 that she has been working on Tina, a new musical based on her life story, in collaboration with Phyllida Lloyd and Stage Entertainment.[118] The show opened in London in April 2018 with Adrienne Warren in the lead role.[101] Her second memoir, Tina Turner: My Love Story, was released in October 2018.[119] A documentary on Turner's life is currently in the works produced by Simon Chinn.[120]

In January 2018, it was announced that Turner would receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[121] In October 2018, it was announced that the biographical musical Tina, would open on Broadway in the fall of 2019.[122]

Personal life

Relationships and marriages

Early relationships

Tina (then called Anna Mae Bullock) fell in love for the first time with Harry Taylor.[55] They met at a school basketball game. 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."[123] Their relationship ended when she discovered that Taylor had married another girl he was dating and had made pregnant.[123]

After moving to St. Louis, Anna Mae and her sister became acquainted with members of the Kings of Rhythm, and Anna Mae dated the band's saxophonist, Raymond Hill. At 18 she became pregnant. After her mother found out, she went to stay with Hill who lived with Ike Turner. Speaking on Hill she said, "I didn't love him as much as I'd loved Harry. But he was good-looking. I thought, 'My baby's going to be beautiful'.[124] Bullock's relationship with Hill ended after he broke his ankle while in a wrestling match with fellow Rhythm Kings singer Carlson Oliver. The injury was so severe that Hill had to return to his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi.[125] Ike Turner later adopted Anna Mae and Hill's son, adding his own last name legally.[126]

Ike Turner

After first singing in his band, the Kings of Rhythm, Ike allowed 17-year-old Anna to be a member of his band and a featured singer in the group. Ike nicknamed her "Little Ann" and the two became friends.[127] In 1958 after Tina's mother put her and her infant son Craig out of the house, she moved into Ike's home in East St. Louis.[128] The two felt no mutual attraction in the beginning; Tina felt Ike was not the "ideal-looking man" and felt he was like a brother. Tina preferred light-skinned black men over dark-skinned black men.[129] Ike viewed her as a sister figure and favored "curvaceous women." Ike was still married to his common-law wife, Lorraine Taylor, during this period.[128]

However, by 1959, Ike and Anna's relationship became sexual, much to Anna's chagrin.[130] Ike also felt guilt over the relationship, stating later that having sex with Tina felt as if he were having sex with his sister.[131] Tina later told Rolling Stone that the first time they had sex, she was escaping another musician who wanted to have sex with her and ran to Ike's bedroom, thinking he would "protect her."[129] She had spent innocent nights with him in bed before, but that night their platonic friendship turned into a sexual relationship.[132] Shortly after the group found musical success as Ike & Tina Turner, they relocated to Los Angeles and began performing to promote their hit single "A Fool in Love", all while Tina was pregnant with their son, Ronnie, who was eventually born on October 27, 1960.

Tina's first account of physical abuse committed by Ike happened after she said she didn't want to change her name and she expressed concern about going on tour;[132] Ike responded by hitting her in the head with a wooden shoe stretcher.[133][134] Afterwards, Ike asked her to have sex with him.[133][56] Tina wrote in her memoirs, I, Tina, that the incident was the first time Ike had "instilled fear" in her.[133][56] Years later, Tina alleged that Ike had blackened her eyes, broken her nose and jaw, and given her third-degree burns.[135] In 1985, in an interview with Spin, Ike Turner admitted that he had hit Tina, but claimed that he "didn't hit her more than the average guy beats his wife... if she says I abused her, maybe I did."[136] In Taking Back My Name (1999), Ike wrote, "Sure, I've slapped Tina.... There have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I have never beat her."

Ike also claimed to interviewer Terry Gross on NPR that Tina's real legal name was Martha Nell Bullock, before family started calling her Anna Mae. In 1962, Ike and Tina married in Tijuana.[137] According to Tina, they got married because another wife, Bonnie Mae Wilson, a former pianist for the Rhythm Kings, was pursuing against Ike for property Ike owned in St. Louis. Shortly after their marriage, Ike brought his sons Ike Jr. and Michael from St. Louis to live with them in Los Angeles. Ike would claim they weren't legally married and that Tina took his name to discourage her ex-boyfriend, Raymond Hill, from returning to her.[138] Though Tina stated that she fell in love with Ike,[139] she later admitted that she "never felt like [she] was married" to him.[140] Feeling hopeless in the relationship due to his infidelity and abuse, Tina tried to commit suicide in 1968 by swallowing 50 Valiums before a show in Los Angeles.[55][37]

On July 1, 1976, after a final fight with Ike on their way to the Dallas Statler Hilton in Fort Worth, Tina fled from Ike.[76] On July 27, 1976, Tina sued for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.[78][79][141] After a year in court, their divorce was finalized on March 29, 1978.[142] In the final divorce decree, Tina took responsibility for missed concert dates as well as an IRS lien; she was allowed to retain two Jaguars along with her stage name.[143] Tina gave Ike her share of their Bolic Sound recording studio, publishing companies, four cars, and real estate — a gift worth close to $500,000. "My peace of mind was more important," she said. After she left Ike, several promoters lost money and sued to recoup their losses. For almost two years she received food stamps, lived with friends, and played small clubs to pay off debts.[144]

Friends and family members claimed Ike struggled to get over Tina, and her son Ronnie once mentioned that Ike used to go to his house and snoop through his phone book to locate Tina.[145] After divorcing Ike in 1978, Tina abstained from serious relationships for a long time, as she set on bringing her career back on track.[146] In 1986 she said, "People have to realize that I just got out of a very difficult marriage. I'm not the type of woman who needs to jump back into another. I liked my freedom when I got out of that one. I've had a few love affairs, but nothing important."[129] In 2018, while promoting a musical based on her life, Tina told The Sunday Times she had 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. It’s all gone, all forgotten."[147]

Erwin Bach

While at a record label party in London in 1985 during the time Turner was touring for the Private Dancer album, Turner met German music executive Erwin Bach who 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 Zürich, in Küsnacht, northern Switzerland.[148] It was Bach that offered her a kidney after Turner discovered that she had kidney failure, the procedure was successfully performed in April 2017.


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's children whom she raised as her own, Ike Jr. (born October 3, 1958) and Michael (born 1960).

Turner's first son Raymond Craig Hill, was born on August 20, 1958, when she was 18. His biological father was Kings of Rhythm saxophonist Raymond Hill,[47] but he was adopted by Ike in 1962 and his name was changed to Craig Raymond Turner.[149] Craig was found dead in an apparent suicide, aged 59 in July 2018; according to the initial report of Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner office the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.[150]

Turner's second child, Ronald Renelle Turner, her only biological child with Ike, was born on October 27, 1960. From 2007 to 2017, Ronnie was married to the French-American singer Afida Turner.[151][152] Ronnie is a musician and has performed with both of his parents as an adult. He used to play bass in the band, The Prophets, before they became Black Angel in 2000. Ronnie has two children and two grandchildren.

During Ike and Tina's divorce trial, Ike sent the four boys, (Lorraine’s two sons, and Tina’s two sons), to live with Tina at her home.[153] In 1985, Ike accused Tina of bad parenting, even alleging she had sent Michael to a mental hospital.[154] Tina denied his claims, telling the Australian magazine TV Week, "he gave me those children and not a penny to look after them with."[155]


Turner stated in her 2018 memoir Tina Turner: My Love Story that she had suffered life-threatening illnesses.[156] 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 caused her condition to worsen, resulting in 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.[157][158][132]


Turner has sometimes referred to herself a "Buddhist-Baptist", alluding to her upbringing in the Baptist church and her later conversion to Buddhism.[159] Throughout her childhood and early adulthood, Turner was Baptist.[160] In a 2016 interview, Turner stated that "I consider myself a Buddhist."[13]

Turner began practicing Nichiren Buddhism in 1973 after learning of Buddhism from a friend of Ike's named Valerie Bishop.[14][161] Turner wrote in her autobiography I, Tina that after Valerie taught her to recite the Buddhist chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Tina observed that Ike, instead of hitting her for singing supposed wrong notes during recording sessions, would give her money to go shopping, something she regarded as a benefit of her newfound spiritual practice.[162]

In an August 2011 interview with Shambhala Sun Buddhist magazine, Turner stated she adheres to the teachings and values of the Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International.[163]

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.[164][165] In a 2011 public interview with Shambala Sun, Turner indicated that she no longer follows the morning and evening Gongyo practice in a regimented schedule and hosts various types of Buddhist statues in her home altar located in the upper attic of one of her guesthouses in Switzerland.[13][166]

In a March 2016 interview with Lion's Roar magazine, Turner says she prays and chants each day:

Residences and citizenship

Turner has been living in a lake house, Château Algonquin in Küsnacht, next to Zürich since moving there in 1994.[167][168][169] She owned property in Cologne, London, and Los Angeles, and a villa on the French Riviera named Anna Fleur.[170]

On January 25, 2013, it was announced that Turner had applied for Swiss citizenship,[171][172] and that she would relinquish her U.S. citizenship.[173][174] 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.[175] Turner signed the paperwork to give up her American citizenship at the U.S. embassy in Bern on October 24, 2013.[174]


Studio albums



Year Film Role Notes
1970 Gimme Shelter Herself Documentary
1971 Taking Off Herself
1975 Tommy The Acid Queen
1976 All This and World War II Herself Documentary
1978 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Our Guests at Heartland
1979 John Denver and the Ladies Herself Variety Show
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 Last Action Hero The Mayor
Year Title Role Notes
1966 The Big T.N.T. Show Herself Documentary
1970 It's Your Thing Herself Documentary
1971 Soul to Soul Herself Documentary
1985 Saturday Night Live Herself Performed "What's Love Got to Do With It", "Better Be Good to Me", and "Private Dancer"; appeared as Mrs. Malone in skit with Martin Short as Ed Grimley
1997 Saturday Night Live Herself Performed "In Your Wildest Dreams", "Proud Mary"; appeared as herself in skit with Molly Shannon and Alec Baldwin
2000 Ally McBeal Herself Cameo appearance
One episode: "The Oddball Parade"

Awards and nominations

  • In 2008, Turner was listed at the 17th place on Rolling Stone's list "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time".[7]Rolling Stone also ranked Turner 63rd on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.[176]
  • Turner is often referred in the media as "The Queen of Rock and Roll" (eight competitive Grammy Awards, highest grossing female concert performer in history)[177]
  • Turner is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.[178]
  • 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.[179]
  • Turner has won eight competitive[180] and three honorary achievement[citation needed]Grammy Awards.
  • Bryan Adams, who performed with her on the Private Dancer Tour, praised Turner's live performances, saying: "I never saw Tina walk through a performance, she always put on a great show, and was gracious and grateful to her audience.[181]
  • In 1993, the World Music Awards recognized Turner's years in the music business by awarding her the Legend Award.[182]
  • When Turner became a recipient of the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors, her legs were noted specifically by President George W. Bush.[183]
  • At age 73, Turner became the oldest person to be featured on the front cover of Vogue, surpassing Meryl Streep, who covered American Vogue in 2012, aged 62.[5]
  • 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 2013, ABC ranked her second on their list of the "30 Greatest Women in Music", behind Whitney Houston[186]
  • In 2014, Turner was inducted into the SoulMusic Hall of Fame.[187]
  • Turner has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[23]
  • Turner has held a Guinness World Record for the largest paid audience (180,000 in 1988) for a solo performer.[24][25]


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External links

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

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