Turner, Tina

Turner, Tina 1939- , African American R&B and rock singer, b. Brownsville, Tn., as Anna Mae Bullock. Turner had a turbulent childhood, with her parents splitting up when she was 11 years old. She lived with her maternal grandmother until she was 16, and then reunited with her mother in St. Louis to complete her high school education. She met guitarist/bandleader Ike Turner (1931-2007) there, and convinced him to hire her as his vocalist. In the early ‘60s, the group toured extensively on the “chittlin’ circuit” (clubs that catered to Black audiences), and by the mid ’60s achieved wider exposure on popular TV shows like American Bandstand and Shindig! The Ike and Tina Turner Revue became well-known for Tina’s energetic vocals and dancing. Their biggest hits were “River Deep-Mountain High” (produced by Phil Spector; 1966) and “Proud Mary" (1971, Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group). In 1975, Tina made a memorable appearance as the Acid Queen in the film of the Who’s Tommy. A year later, after years of abuse from Ike, Tina filed for divorce. She became a major solo artist in the mid-‘80s beginning with the release of the 1984 album Private Dancer, which sold 10 million copies worldwide; the single “What’s Love Got to Do With It” was her first (and to date only) #1 pop hit. Turner continued to produce major hits through the ‘80s and also mounted several successful tours of the U.S. and Europe. In 2000, Turner announced her retirement from performing, returning for a limited series of concerts in 2018 to celebrate her 50th anniversary. Tina and Ike were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and she was among the artists honored at the Kennedy Center in 2005 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys in 2018, among many other honors. In 2013, she became a citizen of Switzerland. A film biopic, What’s Love Got to Do With It, was released in 1993.

See her autobiography (1986; with K. Loder); biography by D. Brackett (2020); Tina (doc. film, 2021).

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