Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock; November 26, 1939) is an American singer and actress whose career has spanned more than 50 years. She has won numerous awards and her achievements in the rock music genre have led many to call her the "Queen of RocknRoll". Turner started out her music career with husband Ike Turner as a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Success followed with a string of hits including "River Deep, Mountain High" and the 1971 hit "Proud Mary".
With the publication of her autobiography I, Tina (1986), Turner revealed severe instances of spousal abuse against her by Ike Turner prior to their 1976 split and subsequent 1978 divorce. After virtually disappearing from the music scene for several years following her divorce from Ike Turner, she rebuilt her career, launching a string of hits beginning in 1983 with the single "Let's Stay Together" and the 1984 release of her fifth solo album Private Dancer.
Her musical career led to film roles, beginning with a prominent role as The Acid Queen in the 1975 film Tommy, and an appearance in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. She starred opposite Mel Gibson as Aunty Entity in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome for which she received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, and her version of the film's theme, "We Don't Need Another Hero", was a hit single. She appeared in the 1993 film Last Action Hero.
One of the world's most popular entertainers, Turner has been called the most successful female rock artist and was named "one of the greatest singers of all time" by Rolling Stone. Her combined album and single sales total approximately 180 million copies worldwide. She has sold more concert tickets than any other solo music performer in history. She is known for her energetic stage presence, powerful vocals, career longevity,and widespread appeal. In 2008, Turner left semi-retirement to embark on her Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour.
Turner's tour became one of the highest selling ticketed shows of 2008–2009.Turner was born a Baptist, but converted to Buddhism and credits the spiritual chants with giving her the strength that she needed to get through the rough times. Rolling Stone ranked her at 63 on their 100 greatest artists of all time and considers her the "Queen of Rock and Roll".
Anna Mae Bullock was born in Nutbush, an unincorporated area in Haywood County, Tennessee, on November 26, 1939, the daughter of Zelma Bullock (née Currie), a factory worker, and Floyd Richard Bullock, a Baptist deacon, farm overseer and factory worker.She is of African American, European and a small fraction Native American descent. Bullock long believed her mother had significant Native American ancestry, specifically Navajo and Cherokee.Bullock attended Flag Grove School in Haywood County, Tennessee (the land for the school was sold below market value to the school trustees by Bullock's great great-uncle in 1889). Anna Mae's older sister is named (Ruby) Alline. Their parents took Alline with them when they moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and left younger Anna behind with the grandmother. When Anna was a teenager, she joined her mother and sister in St. Louis following her grandmother's death.
In St. Louis, Bullock attended Sumner High School.Around this time, Bullock's sister was taking her to several nightclubs in the city. At Club Imperial one night, Bullock met Mississippi-born rhythm and blues musician Ike Turner and later asked him if she could sing for him. Ike was initially skeptical, but after much persistence on Bullock's part, he decided to let her perform for him.Thus, Bullock became an occasional vocalist in Ike's shows at the age of 18. Going by the name "Little Ann", Bullock was also the spotlight of a soul revue led by Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm band.
In 1960, when a singer scheduled to record the song, "A Fool in Love", did not appear, Bullock stepped in and recorded the vocals instead. "A Fool in Love" was a huge R&B hit reaching No. 2, crossing over to the top 30 of the US pop chart. Ike changed Bullock's name to Tina Turner and that of his band to The Ike & Tina Turner Revue. In 1962, the two married in Tijuana, Mexico.
Turner raised four sons — Ike Jr. and Michael (from Ike's previous relationship), Craig (born 1958, from her earlier relationship with Raymond Hill, a saxophone player in Ike's band) and Ronald (fathered by Ike; born 1961).
Throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, Tina and Ike rose to stardom. As times and musical styles changed, Tina developed a unique stage persona which thrilled audiences of the group's live concerts. Tina and the Revue's backup singers, the Ikettes, wove intricate and electrifying dance routines into their performances and influenced many other artists, including Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones (for whose 1966 UK tour they opened).
Tina and Ike Turner recorded hits in the 1960s that include "A Fool in Love", "It's Gonna Work Out Fine", "I Idolize You", and "River Deep, Mountain High" with producer Phil Spector in his Wall of Sound style. By the end of the decade, the couple incorporated modern rock styles into their act and began including their interpretations of "Come Together", "Honky Tonk Woman", and "I Want to Take You Higher" to their stage show.
Their high-energy cover version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1968 "Proud Mary" remains Turner's signature hit and one of her longest enduring standards. "Proud Mary" was the duo's greatest commercial success, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1971. The single eventually won a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
While many of its original recordings failed to make the charts, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue was lauded by the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Sly Stone, Janis Joplin, Cher, James Brown, Ray Charles, Elton John and Elvis Presley. A one night gig at a small, predominantly black supper club could be followed in the same week by a show at a major venue in Las Vegas or a national TV appearance. Ike acted as the group's manager and musical director, making all decisions and ruling the act with an iron fist. While he was a fine musician and an early rock 'n' roll influence, Ike's control of the Revue's management, recording contracts and performances eventually led to their decline as his drug abuse worsened. This controlling (and often violent) atmosphere caused the musicians and backup singers to come and go frequently. Tina later reported being isolated and physically abused by Ike on a regular basis for most of their marriage.
By the 1970s, Tina's personal life and marriage were falling apart. Ike's drug use led to increasingly erratic and physically abusive behavior. Their act was losing speed largely due to Ike's refusal to accept outside management of their recording or touring, as well as the cost of maintaining his allegedly voracious cocaine habit. Touring dates began to decline and record sales were low; their last success was "Nutbush City Limits", a song penned by Tina Turner about her home town, that reached No. 22 on the Hot 100 and No. 4 in the United Kingdom in 1973.
Having opened his own recording studio, Bolic Sound, following the lucrative success of "Proud Mary", Ike produced Tina's first solo album, Tina Turns the Country On in 1974. It failed to make an impact on the charts, as did Tina's follow-up solo album Acid Queen (1975), which was released to tie in with Tina's critically acclaimed big-screen debut in the The Who's rock opera, Tommy.
Tina and Ike had a violent fight before an appearance at the Dallas Statler Hilton in July 1976, where Tina was again physically abused. She left Ike that day, fleeing with nothing more than thirty-six cents and a Mobil gas station credit card in her possession. She spent the next few months hiding from Ike while staying with various friends.
Tina would later credit her new-found Nichiren Buddhist faith and chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, which she adopted while visiting a friend in 1974, with giving her the courage to strike out on her own. By walking out on Ike in the middle of a tour, she learned she was legally responsible to tour promoters for the canceled tour. Needing to earn a living, she became a solo performer, supplementing her income with TV appearances on shows such as The Hollywood Squares, Donny and Marie, The Sonny & Cher Show and The Brady Bunch Hour.
The divorce was made final in 1978 after sixteen years of marriage. Tina later accused Ike of years of severe spousal abuse and rampant drug addiction in her autobiography I, Tina that was later adapted for the film What's Love Got to Do with It. In the divorce, she completely parted ways with him retaining only her stage name and assuming responsibility for the debts incurred by the canceled tour as well as a significant IRS lien.
Life after the Revue
In 1978, Tina released her third solo album (and her first album since her separation from Ike) entitled Rough on EMI Records. It was a departure from the funky rhythm and blues sound of the Revue, and featured strong readings of rock songs, demonstrating the direction she wanted her musical career to progress. The album did not sell well and received no certifications. 1979's disco-infused Love Explosion album also failed on the charts.
Tina continued to perform shows around the United States and Europe but without any hit albums, her career continued a downward spiral. In 1982, she teamed up with B.E.F. for a remake of the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion". The producers were impressed by the recording so they persuaded her to record a cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together".
With the underwhelming performance of "Rough" and "Love Explosion", EMI Records parted ways with Turner. She was unable to immediately secure another major label deal as many US and UK labels felt her popularity had passed. Turner divided her time between appearing at small venues in the US (mainly Las Vegas) and the UK to keep herself in the public eye, and she remained quite popular as a stage act.
Return to prominence
In December 1983, Turner's cover of "Let's Stay Together" hit No. 6 in the UK and also became a hit in several other European countries. In March 1984, "Let's Stay Together" hit No. 26 on the US Billboard 100 singles chart. The song entered the top-5 on both the R&B and Dance charts.
In 1984, Turner staged what Ebony magazine called an "amazing comeback". The album Private Dancer was released in June 1984, and the hit "Let's Stay Together" would be included on the album.
The second single, "What's Love Got to Do with It", peaked at number one in the US and number three in the UK. It became Turner's only number-one hit in the US.
The single hit the top ten in several European countries. Private Dancer went on to sell five million copies in the US, and a total of 11 million copies worldwide, though some sources stated the album has sold over twenty million making it her most successful album. Besides "Let's Stay Together" and "What's Love Got to Do With It", the album also yielded the singles "Better Be Good to Me" (US No. 5, UK No. 45); "Private Dancer" (US No. 7, UK No. 26); "I Can't Stand the Rain" (UK No. 57); and "Show Some Respect" (US No. 37). Turner would later win an MTV Video Music Award, two American Music Awards and four Grammy Awards. In February 1985, Turner embarked on her first solo world tour, the Private Dancer Tour, which saw her performing in North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia. She also collaborated on the USA for Africa song "We Are the World" which helped famine victims in Africa.
After the success of Private Dancer, Turner accepted the role of Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown, in the motion picture Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Upon its release, the film grossed $36 million and Turner received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress. In July, Turner performed at Live Aid alongside Mick Jagger. In August, the first single "We Don't Need Another Hero" was released to promote the soundtrack for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The single became a hit for Turner, reaching number two in America and number three in the UK. The song received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal and received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. The soundtrack was released and reached the top forty in the US and No. 47 in Canada, and sold one million copies worldwide. In October, another Turner soundtrack single, "One of the Living" (US No. 15, UK No. 55), was released. It later won a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. In November, a new single was released entitled "It's Only Love", a duet with Bryan Adams. It received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
Turner continued her widely successful solo career releasing the album, Break Every Rule, in 1986. That same year, Turner published her autobiography, I, Tina, which she talked about her early life and volatile marriage to Ike Turner. Later that summer, the singer received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Turner's Break Every Rule yielded the US singles of: "Typical Male", "Two People", "Back Where You Started", "What You Get Is What You See", "Break Every Rule", and "Afterglow". ("Typical Male" and "What You Get Is What You See" were the two singles to crack the US top twenty). The album sold approximately four million copies worldwide, with two million of those in the US. In March of the following year, Turner embarked on her Break Every Rule Tour in Munich, Germany. On January 16, 1988, Turner made history when she entered the Guinness World Records alongside Paul McCartney performing in front of the largest paying audience (over 184,000) to see a solo artist in Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In April, Turner's double live album, Tina Live in Europe, was released. In late 1989, Turner released her seventh studio album, Foreign Affair, which included the international smash, "The Best". The single became one of Turner's signature singles. In 1990, she embarked on a hugely successful European tour to promote the album playing to nearly four million fans and touring over 121 shows in Europe.
In 1991, Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Phil Spector accepted the award on their behalf. That same year, Turner released a compilation album, Simply the Best. Her modern dance-pop cover of "Nutbush City Limits" hit the top thirty in the UK. In 1993, Turner's life story was turned into a box-office film, What's Love Got to Do with It. Based on I, Tina, the film painted a dark picture of Turner's marriage to singer Ike Turner and her overcoming the marriage through Nichiren Buddhism and chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. While the film was given mixed reviews, its leading actors Angela Bassett, who played Tina, and Laurence Fishburne, who played Ike, ended up with Academy Award nominations for Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively, for their roles. Turner supervised the film's soundtrack, re-recording several songs from her Ike Turner days including "A Fool in Love", "It's Gonna Work Out Fine", "Nutbush City Limits" and "Proud Mary", but otherwise remained uninvolved with the making of the film, and had no interest in seeing it, 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." She recorded a cover of The Trammps' "Disco Inferno" and two newer songs, the Lulu cover, "I Don't Wanna Fight" and the R&B ballad, "Why Must We Wait Until Tonight" (written by Bryan Adams). The soundtrack went platinum in America and yielded Turner's final top ten U.S. single, "I Don't Wanna Fight", which peaked at number nine. Later that year, Turner went out on a sold-out U.S. tour, her first in seven years, to promote the soundtrack. Afterwards, Turner moved to Switzerland and took a year off from the road at the end of the tour.
In 1995, Turner returned to recording with the title track for the James Bond film, Goldeneye, written by U2's Bono and The Edge. "Goldeneye" hit the top ten in several European countries. In 1996, Turner's Wildest Dreams album was released. Due to its later successful world tour and a commercial where she promoted Hanes hosiery, the album hit gold in the U.S. while it went platinum in Europe based on the success of singles such as "Whatever You Want", the cover of John Waite's "Missing You", "Something Beautiful Remains" and the Barry White duet, "In Your Wildest Dreams". In May 1996, Turner embarked on a year-long world tour which again broke concert ticket sales records. The tour lasted into April 1997 and grossed a combined total of $130 million in sales. At the end of the year, Turner and one of her musicians co-wrote an English version of the Italian ballad "Cose della vita" with Italian singer Eros Ramazzotti. Their duet became a European hit. In April 1999, Turner opened at the VH-1 special, Divas Live '99, performing several of her 1980s hits and performing with both Elton John and Cher to "Proud Mary". Turner later remarked that she was recording a new album. In November 1999, Turner released the dance single "When the Heartache Is Over", its parent album, "Twenty Four Seven", was released in Europe the following month. In February 2000, the album was released in America and was certified Gold by the RIAA. Later that year, Turner went out on one of her most successful tours of her career. By tour's end, the Twenty Four Seven Tour had become the highest-grossing tour of 2000 according to Pollstar grossing over $100 million. Later, Guinness World Records announced that Turner had sold more concert tickets than any other solo concert performer in music history.
In 2002, Tennessee State Route 19 between Brownsville and Nutbush was named "Tina Turner Highway". In 2003, she teamed up with Phil Collins to record the song "Great Spirits" for the Disney film Brother Bear.
In 2004, Turner released a new compilation, All the Best, and released the single "Open Arms". The song became a modestly successful European hit and a modest R&B hit in America. In 2005, Turner briefly performed on shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and The View. All the Best became Turner's first album to go platinum in the U.S. in over eleven years.
U.S. President George W. Bush congratulates Turner during a reception for the Kennedy Center Honors in the East Room of the White House on December 4, 2005. From left, the honorees are singer Tony Bennett, dancer Suzanne Farrell, actress Julie Harris, and actor Robert Redford.
At the end of the year, 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. President Bush commented on Turner's "natural skill, the energy and sensuality", and referred to her legs as "the most famous in show business". Several artists paid tribute to her that night including Oprah Winfrey, Melissa Etheridge (who performed "River Deep - Mountain High" , Queen Latifah (who performed "What's Love Got to Do with It"), Beyoncé (who performed "Proud Mary"), and the Reverend Al Green (who performed "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," and "Tina Turner didn't just survive, she triumphed." In November, Turner released All the Best - Live Collection and it was certified platinum by the RIAA.
In early 2006, the All the Invisible Children soundtrack was released. Turner sang "Teach Me Again" from the All the Invisible Children soundtrack with Elisa charted at No. 1 in Italy. In May 2007, Turner returned to the stage to headline a benefit concert for the Cauldwell Children's Charity at London's Natural History Museum. This was her first full show in seven years. Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock released an album paying tribute to singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, entitled River: The Joni Letters on September 25, 2007, on which Turner contributed her vocals to a version of "Edith and The Kingpin". On October 16, 2007, Carlos Santana released an album entitled Ultimate Santana which featured Turner singing "The Game of Love", a song originally intended for her to sing, but which was instead released by Santana with Michelle Branch due to demands from the recording label.
On December 12, 2007, Turner issued a brief statement through a spokesperson regarding the death of her former husband Ike Turner: "Tina hasn't had any contact with Ike in more than 30 years. No further comment will be made."
Turner performed with Beyoncé at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2008. It was Turner's first major public performance since her record-breaking Twenty-Four Seven Tour. In addition, she picked up a Grammy as a featured artist on River: The Joni Letters. On May 5, 2008, she performed in a televised concert and interview for the Oprah show at Caesar's Place in Las Vegas with long time friend Cher.
Turner embarked on her Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour on October 1, 2008, which began on in Kansas City, Missouri at the Sprint Center. The album, Tina!: Her Greatest Hits, was released in support of the tour.
In 2009, Turner participated in the Beyond singing project with fellow musicians Regula Curti, Seda Bagcan and Dechen Shak-Dagsay. This CD 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 No. 7 in Switzerland. In 2011, Children Beyond followed and charted again in Switzerland.
A new live album was released by Parlophone in September 2009 entitled Tina Live. The double disc set included the full concert recorded in the Netherlands as part of her 50th Anniversary Tour on DVD and selected tracks on CD. It is only Turner's second live album with the first, Tina Live in Europe, being released twenty years previously in 1988.
In April 2010, Turner once again rose to the top of the UK and Scottish singles charts with her 1989 hit record The Best, following an International campaign by her dedicated fans and the supporters of Rangers Football Club to send the hit to number one in the charts. It subsequently peaked at positions number nine in the UK Singles Chart, number nine in the UK Downloads Chart.
In October 2011 The Children beyond CD was released and Tina did some TV performances to promote the CD.
Tina is the younger of two sisters. Her elder sister, (Ruby) Alline Selico (December 1, 1936 – September 4, 2010), helped to contribute to her sister's recordings with Ike Turner, co-writing several songs including the charted hits, "Bold Soul Sister" and "Funkier than a Mosquito's Tweeter".
Turner also had a half-sister, Evelyn Currie, who died in a car crash alongside her cousin Margaret while Turner and Alline were teenagers. Turner barely knew her father, who moved to California after splitting from Turner's mother. Her mother also left Tennessee to live in St. Louis, leaving Turner and her sister to live with their grandmother. Turner stayed behind in Tennessee while sister Ruby (known to family and friends by her middle name), left Tennessee and moved to St. Louis to be near their mother. Turner spent some time as a domestic in Ripley.
In 1956, before Turner turned 17, her grandmother died. At the funeral, Turner was reunited with her mother, who offered to give her a new life in St. Louis. Turner's relationship with her mother grew estranged over the years. However, Turner has said that the final time she spoke to her mother, who died in October 1999, they were on good terms.
Turner met Ike Turner in 1956 at a nightclub. Two years later she joined Ike's band. In 1958, a relationship with saxophonist Raymond Hill produced Turner's first child, Craig Bullock (renamed Craig Turner after Turner married Ike). A year later, Turner became romantically involved with Ike. She had Ike's baby; Ronnie Turner, born in 1960. After marrying Ike in 1962, Turner became the adoptive mother of two of Ike's previous children, Ike Jr. and Michael. Turner's much-publicized marriage to Ike was volatile and violent. Over the years Turner would accuse Ike of physically beating her, emotionally abusing her, raping her, and even stubbing cigarettes out on her body.
In 1968, Turner attempted suicide while on tour in Los Angeles, swallowing a reported 90 sleeping pills. She was rushed to the hospital and revived. Later, after still enduring Ike's abuse, a close friend introduced Turner to Buddhism in 1971. Three years later, Turner converted to the Buddhist faith. Finally, in July 1976, Tina left Ike after a violent altercation while en route to a hotel in Dallas, in which she was beaten by Ike. Turner sought refuge in a friend's apartment while Ike was searching for her.
After several months, Ike decided to stop searching. Turner filed for divorce and offered to leave Ike all the couple's monetary assets, but told the courts she wanted to keep the stage name Ike had given her in 1960, as she had worked very hard to make the name Tina Turner famous. The divorce was finalized in March 1978, and the courts allowed her to keep her stage name.