Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee, a small rural town. Her parents, Floyd and Zelma Bullock were sharecroppers. She had an older sister named Alline. Tina’s parents separated when she was young, and her mother moved to St. Louis, Missouri, leaving Tina and her sister with their grandmother.
Tina’s interest in music began early on, and she often sang in the local church choir. She received her first taste of performing when she was eight years old, singing at her school’s talent show. Her powerful voice and stage presence were evident from a young age. In 1956, at the age of 16, Anna Mae attended a concert by Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm.
Ike & Tina Turner Revue
Impressed by her voice, Ike invited her to join the band as a backup vocalist. This encounter would prove to be a turning point in her life. Ike renamed Anna Mae Bullock to Tina Turner, and they formed a professional and personal partnership. He was inspired by Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, and Nyoka the Jungle Girl to create her stage persona. Turner added his last name and trademarked the name as a form of protection so that if Bullock left him as his previous singers had, he could replace her with another “Tina Turner”.
Tina’s distinct voice and electrifying stage performances captivated audiences. The duo scored their first hit in 1960 with the song “A Fool in Love.” It was initially intended as a B-side to a song called “The Way You Love Me,” which was written by Ike Turner. However, during a recording session at the renowned Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, Tina was asked to provide guide vocals for the song.
Her passionate and powerful performance impressed Ike and the studio personnel, leading them to make “A Fool in Love” the A-side instead. The song is characterized as a rhythm and blues (R&B) and soul track, featuring elements of rock and roll. It incorporates a dynamic arrangement, driven by a prominent piano riff, energetic horns, and a lively rhythm section.
Tina’s soulful vocals take center stage, showcasing her raw talent and ability to convey emotion. “A Fool in Love” became a breakthrough hit for Tina Turner. It reached the top of the R&B charts in the United States, peaking at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s success propelled Tina and Ike Turner into the spotlight and established them as a dynamic duo.
Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, Ike and Tina Turner released several successful singles and albums. Their notable songs included “River Deep – Mountain High,” the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Proud Mary,” “Nutbush City Limits,” and “I Want to Take You Higher.” These songs showcased their dynamic vocal harmonies and innovative sound.
Ike and Tina Turner were known for their high-energy revue shows, which featured elaborate costumes, choreography, and a talented backing band. Their performances became renowned for Tina’s dynamic stage presence and the duo’s chemistry, captivating audiences around the world.
Behind the scenes, Ike and Tina’s relationship was tumultuous and marked by instances of abuse. Tina endured years of physical and emotional mistreatment. They divorced in 1978, ending their musical partnership and personal relationship. Despite their personal struggles, Ike and Tina Turner left an indelible mark on the music industry.
They influenced numerous artists with their energetic performances and soulful sound. Tina’s powerful voice and stage presence, in particular, have continued to inspire generations of singers. After her split from Ike Turner, Tina embarked on her solo career, and this album marked her first venture into the spotlight as a solo artist. It showcased her versatility by delving into the country music genre.
In the early 1980s, Tina Turner faced a legal battle to secure the rights to use her own stage name for her solo career. After her separation from Ike Turner, Tina retained her married name but was initially prohibited from using it for her solo endeavors due to her prior professional association with Ike. In 1985, she filed a lawsuit against Ike Turner and his management company, seeking the right to use the name “Tina Turner” for her solo career. The legal battle lasted for several years until a settlement was reached in 1986, granting Tina the legal right to use her name professionally. This landmark lawsuit not only secured Tina Turner’s personal and artistic identity but also allowed her to continue her highly successful solo career, culminating in her global fame as one of the most iconic and respected performers in music history.
Off the back of her comeback, there was also a foray into film alongside Mel Gibson in 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
Solo Albums (click or touch each one for more info)
Tina Turns the Country On! (1974)
“Tina Turns the Country On!” (1974) featured Tina’s interpretations of popular country songs. She brought her unique soulful and energetic approach to the genre, infusing the songs with her powerful vocals and dynamic delivery.
The album consisted of 12 tracks, including covers of country classics such as “Bayou Song,” “Good Hearted Woman,” “Lovin’ Him Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again),” and “We Had It All.” Tina’s renditions added her distinct flavor and showcased her ability to breathe new life into established songs. “Tina Turns the Country On!” received moderate success and favorable reviews. While it didn’t achieve the same level of commercial success as her later albums, it demonstrated Tina’s artistic range and her willingness to explore different musical genres. It’s important to note that “Tina Turns the Country On!” is often overlooked in discussions about Tina Turner’s solo career, as her breakthrough into international stardom came with her later albums in the 1980s. Nonetheless, this album represents a significant step. in Tina’s journey as a solo artist, paving the way for her subsequent successes.
Acid Queen (1975)
Following her departure from the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, Tina released her second solo album, “Acid Queen.” The album served as the soundtrack for the film “Tommy,” directed by Ken Russell and based on The Who’s rock opera of the same name.
“Acid Queen” featured Tina Turner’s interpretations of several songs from The Who’s “Tommy” rock opera. The album showcased Tina’s powerful vocals and her ability to infuse the songs with her signature energy and soulful style. The album consists of 11 tracks, including Tina’s cover of the title track “Acid Queen” and her versions of songs like “I Can See for Miles”, “The Hawker”, and “Pinball Wizard.”
These songs allowed Tina to explore her range as a vocalist and deliver powerful performances. “Acid Queen” received positive reviews for Tina Turner’s dynamic vocal performances and her ability to bring a fresh interpretation to the songs from “Tommy.” While the album didn’t achieve significant commercial success, it further showcased Tina’s talent as a solo artist.
It’s worth noting that “Acid Queen” is often considered part of Tina Turner’s early solo career, and it demonstrated her ability to tackle diverse musical styles. While the album may not have garnered the same level of attention as her later works, it contributed to her evolution as a solo artist and set the stage for her subsequent successes.
“Rough” is Tina Turner’s third solo studio album, released in September 1978. The album was released on different record labels depending on the region, including EMI in the UK, Ariola Records in West Germany, and United Artists Records in the United States.
“Rough” showcased Tina Turner’s versatility as a performer. The album featured a mix of rock, R&B, and soul influences. It displayed Tina’s powerful vocals and dynamic range, highlighting her ability to deliver energetic and soulful performances. The album consists of 10 tracks, including a mix of original songs and covers. The track listing includes songs such as “Fruits of the Night,” “The Bitch Is Back,” “Viva La Money,” and “Root, Toot Undisputable Rock ‘n Roller.” The album also includes a cover of the classic song “Sometimes When We Touch.” “Rough” received mixed reviews upon its release and did not achieve significant commercial success. However, the album represented Tina’s continued growth as a solo artist and showcased her evolving musical style.
Love Explosion (1979)
“Love Explosion” (1979): “Love Explosion” is Tina Turner’s fourth solo studio album, released in late 1979 on the EMI label in Europe, Ariola Records in West Germany, and United Artists Records in the UK. It was subsequently released in Italy and South Africa in early 1980.
“Love Explosion” showcased a mix of disco, funk, and soul influences, reflecting the popular musical trends of the late 1970s. The album featured energetic and upbeat tracks, capturing the spirit of the disco era. The album consists of 10 tracks, including the title track “Love Explosion,” along with songs like “Fool for Your Love,” “Sunset on Sunset,” and “Music Keeps Me Dancin’.” These tracks incorporated elements of disco and showcased Tina’s powerful vocals and dynamic performance style. While “Love Explosion” received some positive reviews for its energy and dance-oriented sound, the album did not achieve significant commercial success. It was not released in the United States, which may have impacted its overall reach and recognition.
Private Dancer (1980)
“Private Dancer” is Tina Turner’s fifth solo studio album, released on May 29, 1984. It is considered a landmark album in Tina Turner’s career, as it marked her comeback and propelled her to global stardom. It was released on the Capitol Records label and became a critical and commercial success.
It showcased Tina Turner’s powerful vocals, versatility, and ability to connect with audiences. The album featured a blend of rock, pop, and R&B influences. It incorporated elements of soul, blues, and dance, showcasing Tina’s ability to navigate different genres.
The songs were marked by their emotional depth and strong vocal performances. “Private Dancer” spawned several hit singles that became signature songs for Tina Turner. The most notable singles include “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” “Better Be Good to Me,” “Private Dancer,” and “Let’s Stay Together.”
These songs showcased Tina’s vocal prowess and ability to deliver emotionally charged performances. “Private Dancer” achieved significant commercial success, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart and receiving multi-platinum certification in several countries.
The album earned Tina Turner four Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” The album revitalized Tina Turner’s career and solidified her status as a music icon. It marked a transition from her earlier rock and soul sound to a more mainstream pop-oriented style. The album’s success paved the way for her continued success in the 1980s and beyond.
Break Every Rule (1986)
“Break Every Rule” is the sixth solo studio album by Tina Turner, released on September 23, 1986, on the Capitol Records label. Building on the success of her previous album “Private Dancer,” this album continued to solidify Tina Turner’s status as a global superstar.
The album showcased Tina Turner’s powerful vocals, energy, and versatility, further establishing her as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. “Break Every Rule” produced several successful singles. The most notable include “Typical Male,” “What You Get Is What You See,” “Two People,” and the title track “Break Every Rule.”
These songs displayed Tina’s commanding presence and showcased her dynamic vocal range. The album achieved significant commercial success, reaching high chart positions in various countries. It peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and was certified multi-platinum in several countries. “Break Every Rule” received critical acclaim and earned Tina Turner a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the song “Typical Male.”
Foreign Affair (1989)
“Foreign Affair” is the seventh solo studio album by Tina Turner, released on September 13, 1989, released on Capital Music. The album blended elements of rock, pop, and R&B with a touch of Tina’s signature soulful delivery.
It incorporated influences from the emerging pop-rock sound of the late 1980s, resulting in a more modern and radio-friendly sound. “Foreign Affair” produced several successful singles. The standout tracks include “The Best,” which became one of Tina Turner’s most recognizable and enduring hits, as well as “Steamy Windows” and “I Don’t Wanna Lose You.”
These songs showcased Tina’s powerful vocals and dynamic stage presence. achieved significant commercial success worldwide. It reached high chart positions in multiple countries and was certified platinum in several territories. The album helped Tina Turner regain her popularity and solidified her comeback as one of the most successful solo artists of the era.
Wildest Dreams (1996)
“Wildest Dreams” is the ninth solo studio album by Tina Turner, released on April 22, 1996, on the Parlophone/Virgin label. It marked her return to the music scene after a break of several years and demonstrated her enduring talent and charisma.
The album featured a mix of energetic tracks and heartfelt ballads. It blended contemporary pop and rock sounds with Tina’s soulful delivery, resulting in a modern yet timeless sound that appealed to both longtime fans and a new generation of listeners. “Wildest Dreams” produced several successful singles.
The most notable include the power ballad “Missing You,” the uplifting anthem “GoldenEye” (the theme song for the James Bond film of the same name), and the energetic track “Whatever You Want.” These songs showcased Tina’s vocal prowess and versatility.
“Wildest Dreams” received positive reviews from music critics, praising Tina Turner’s powerful vocals and the album’s strong song selection. It helped reaffirm her status as one of the greatest female vocalists in popular music and showcased her ability to captivate audiences with her dynamic performances.
Twenty Four Seven (1999)
“Twenty Four Seven” is Tina Turner’s tenth solo studio album, released on November 1999 on the Parlophone/Virgin label. spawned a few notable singles, including “When the Heartache Is Over,” “Whatever You Need,” and “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” These songs demonstrated Tina’s vocal prowess and ability to connect with listeners through heartfelt performances.
From the year 2000 on…
Tina Turner embarked on several highly successful concert tours, captivating audiences with her electrifying stage presence and powerful performances. One of her most notable tours was the “Twenty Four Seven Tour” (2000-2001), which became one of the highest-grossing tours at that time. She also released compilation albums that showcased her extensive catalog of hits, including “All the Best” (2004) and “Tina!” (2008). She also released live albums such as “Tina Live” (2009), which captured her energetic performances from various concerts. In 2018, Tina Turner released her autobiography titled “Tina Turner: My Love Story.”
The book provided an intimate account of her life and career, including personal challenges, triumphs, and her journey as a music icon. Also in 2018, a stage musical based on Tina Turner’s life, titled “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” premiered in London’s West End. The musical tells the inspiring story of her life and features renditions of her greatest hits. In recent years, Tina Turner announced her retirement from performing live. She expressed her gratitude to fans for their support throughout her career and emphasized that she would no longer be performing on stage.
She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer. She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.Mick Jagger
Tina Turner died May 24, 2023, at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. Turner previously had intestinal cancer and suffered a stroke, revealing in 2018 that her husband had donated a kidney to save her life as she contemplated assisted suicide.
We have lost one of the word’s most exciting and electric performers. A total legend on record and on stage. She was untouchable.Elton John
Turner is survived by her second husband, German music executive Erwin Bach. They married in July 2013 after 27 years together and lived in Switzerland. In 2013, Turner renounced her US citizenship to become a Swiss citizen. Her first child, Craig Raymond Turner, died in July 2018. Last year, Turner said that following her other son Ronnie’s death at the age of 62 that he “left the world far too early”. She is survived by two of Ike Turner’s sons, Ike Turner Jr and Michael Turner, whom she adopted.
- Erwin Bach is a German music executive and the husband of iconic singer Tina Turner. Born on January 24, 1956, in Cologne, Germany, Bach has made significant contributions to the music industry throughout his career. He has held executive positions at various music labels, including EMI and BMG. Bach’s expertise in the industry has played a pivotal role in managing Tina Turner’s career and overseeing her business affairs. Known for his low-key and private nature, Bach has been a steadfast support to Turner and has played a key role in her personal and professional life. Their relationship has been described as a strong and loving partnership. Together, they have faced personal challenges and celebrated milestones. Erwin Bach and Tina Turner got married in 2013 after being in a relationship for over 27 years, and they continue to share a happy and private life together. [Back]
- “Ike & Tina Turner.” Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, www.rockhall.com/inductees/ike-tina-turner.
- Gulla, Bob. “Ike and Tina Turner.” Encyclopedia of African American Music, vol. 3, ABC-CLIO, 2011, pp. 1017-1018.
- Marsh, Dave, and Greg Shaw. “Ike and Tina Turner.” The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, 3rd ed., Fireside, 2001, pp. 479-480.
- Johnson, J., & Carter, L. (2015). The Tina Turner Story: Break Every Rule. Omnibus Press.
- Brokaw, T. (2008). The Unauthorized Biography of Tina Turner. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
- “Tina Turner, ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, dies aged 83 in Switzerland” (May 25, 2023) https://news.sky.com/story/tina-turner-dies-aged-83-12888593
- “Tina Turner discography” (May 26, 2023 update) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tina_Turner_discography
- “Tina Turner” https://www.discogs.com/search?q=Tina+Turner&type=all
- “Tina Turner” https://www.allmusic.com/artist/tina-turner-mn0000597309
- “16 Early Photos of a Very Young Tina Turner From Between the Late 1950s and 1960s” (November 27, 2019) https://www.vintag.es/2019/11/young-tina-turner.html
- “Tina Turner: legendary rock’n’roll singer dies aged 83” (Wed May 24, 2023) https://www.theguardian.com/music/2023/may/24/tina-turner-legendary-rocknroll-singer-dies-aged-83