Tina Turner

  • Born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939, in Nutbush Tennessee.
  • Early in life, she sang in the church choir in Nutbush. Her mother left her abusive father when Anna Mae was 11, moving to St. Louis. Anna Mae stayed with her father, and then lived with her Grandmother when her father remarried. Her Grandmother died when Anna Mae was 16, and Anna Mae moved to St. Louis to be with her mother.
  • While in St. Louis, she began to go to nightclubs, where she first saw Ike Turner and his band The Kings of Rhythm. At 18, she was at a show and was given a microphone during an intermission, and asked to sing. Ike heard her, and she became a guest vocalist from then on. Ike worked with her on her vocalization. Her first studio recording was as a background singer in 1958 for Ike Turner, using the name Little Ann.
  • In 1960, Anna sang the lead vocal on A Fool In Love when the usual singer for The Kings of Rhythm did not show up to the recording session. The song received airplay in St. Louis, and the president of a local record company was impressed with Anna’s vocals. The company bought the rights to the song, and convinced Ike to make Anna the star of the band. Ike renamed Anna at this time, giving her the name Tina, because it rhymed with the TV character Sheena. In 1962, when Tina married Ike, she became Tina Turner.
  • During the 60s, Ike and Tina Turner toured extensively, developing a reputation of performing one of the hottest R&B shows in music. Appearances on shows like American Bandstand, Ed Sullivan and The Andy Williams Show increased their exposure. Between 1960 and 1975, they recorded 26 studio albums, 12 live albums, and they released 68 singles – most notably, their famous cover of CCR’s Proud Mary. The duo was nominated for 7 Grammy awards, winning once. Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a group in 1991.
  • Due to physical abuse and Ike’s severe cocaine habit, Tina left Ike in 1976, and their divorce became official in 1978.
  • In 1977, she began to perform as a solo act, doing cabaret-like shows in Las Vegas and other cities. She also recorded 3 albums from 1974 to 1978 to fulfill contracts. The latter 2 albums showed a progression to more of a rock & roll style. These albums did not sell well. Her fourth album, released in 1979, was a disco album, and it too was not successful commercially.
  • Turner continued to perform, and her live shows remained popular because of the raw energy of the performances. In the early 80s, she began to tour with established acts like Rod Stewart, Chuck Berry and The Rolling Stones.
  • In 1983, she released a cover of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. The song became her first solo entry on the Billboard U.S. Charts. This led to her recording of her breakthrough solo album, Private Dancer, released in 1984, along with another single, What’s Love Got To Do With It. Her comeback was complete – the album sold 5 million copies in the U.S., reaching #3 on the Billboard 100 chart, and 20 million copies sold worldwide. She won 4 Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, for What’s Love Got To Do With It.
  • She starred with Mel Gibson in the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Her performance was considered positive by critics, and the 2 songs she contributed to the soundtrack – We Don’t Need Another Hero and One of the Living, were hits – she won a Grammy for One of the Living. 
  • She released 5 more studio albums after Private Dancer, the final album released in 1999. The follow-up to Private Dancer, called Break Every Rule, reached #4 on the Billboard chart, with the song Typical Male hitting #2 on the singles chart.
  • In total, she has won 8 Grammy awards for performances, plus another 3 Grammy Hall of Fame awards. In 2005 she was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors award. Rolling Stone ranked her #63 on their greatest artists list.
  • The Guinness Book of World Records lists her as selling more concert tickets than any other solo act.
  • Turner gave up her American citizenship in 2013 when she became a citizen of Switzerland.
  • Tina Turner is a survivor, and her career is remarkable. To appreciate Tina, you need to see her sing. Here is a concert clip of her singing her biggest hit What’s Love Got To Do With It. She is 69 years old in this performance – WOW! Amazing!

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