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 earned her the title The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll. 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 records have sold nearly 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.
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 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.) The younger of two sisters, Bullock and her sister, Ruby Alline, grew up with their grandmother after their parents separated when Bullock was ten. Bullock and her sister later moved to St. Louis.
Ike & Tina Turner Revue
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 #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. (According to Tina's bio on web site, the couple married in 1958.)
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 (for whose 1966 UK tour they opened).
Tina and Ike Turner recorded a heap of 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 number four 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.
Decline in popularity
While many of its original recordings failed to chart, 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 mid-1970s, Tina's personal life and marriage began to fail. 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 #22 on the Hot 100 and #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 the follow-up, Acid Queen (1975), which was released to tie in with Tina's critically acclaimed big-screen debut in the role of the same name in The Who's rock opera, Tommy.
After a violent argument before an appearance at the Dallas Statler Hilton in July 1976, Tina abruptly left Ike, fleeing with nothing more than thirty-six cents and a gas-station credit card. She spent the next few months hiding from him while staying with various friends.
Tina would later credit her newfound 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.
Her divorce was made in 1978 after sixteen years of marriage. She later accused Ike of years of severe spousal abuse and rampant drug addiction in her autobiography I, Tina. It was later adapted for the film What's Love Got to Do with It?. She 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 first album since her separation from Ike. That album, Rough, was a departure from the funky rhythm and blues sound of the Revue, and featured strong readings of rock songs, demonstrating the direction in which she wished her musical career to progress. The record did not sell well, and 1979's disco-infused Love Explosion also failed.
Tina began touring extensively around the world, but her career stalled. 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, and they persuaded her to record a cover of Al Green's Let's Stay Together.
At the time, many US and UK record labels felt Turner's popularity had passed and did not express interest in signing her. While she was largely considered to be unmarketable by the American recording industry, her popularity as a stage act didn't fade as much in Europe. Capitol Records UK division signed her to a deal that included distribution in Europe and several other countries, but not in America. Turner divided her time between appearing at small venues in the US and UK to keep herself in the public eye.
In December 1983, her cover of "Let's Stay Together" hit #6 in the UK and became a hit in several European countries. Capitol Records still wasn't interested in signing Turner to an American deal until the song became a top forty US hit. In March 1984, Let's Stay Together hit #26 on the American pop charts. It hit the top five on both the R&B and dance charts. After the song's success, Capitol decided to give Turner's album a North American release.
 Return to prominence
In 1984, Turner staged what Ebony magazine called an "amazing comeback". The album "Private Dancer" was released in June 1984, and the first single, "What's Love Got to Do with It", peaked at number-one in the US and number three in the UK. It became, and still is, Turner's only number-one hit in either the US or UK.
The single hit the top ten in several other 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 hits "Better Be Good To Me" (US #5, UK #45) and "Private Dancer" (US #7, UK #26) Turner would later win an MTV Video Music Award, two American Music Awards and four Grammy Awards, confirming her year as "the comeback queen". 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 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. Shortly after the soundtrack was released and reached the top forty in the U.S. and #47 in Canada, it sold over one million copies worldwide. In October the second single, "One of the Living", 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.
Subsequent solo success
Following her biggest years of her career, 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 hits, "Typical Male", "Two People", "Back Where You Started" and "What You Get Is What You See" and reportedly sold over nine million copies worldwide. In March of the following year, Turner embarked on her Break Every Rule Tour in Munich. On January 16, 1988, Turner made history when she entered the Guinness World Records alongside with 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, beating records set by The Rolling Stones' last tours.
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 flick, 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.
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 #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."
Return to the limelight
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.
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, and number one in the Scottish Chart..
Her 2010 success in the charts was the first top ten hit since the new millenium for Turner. Her last hit to reach the singles chart was When the Heartache Is Over and reached position number 10 in 1999. Including her hits with husband Ike Turner, Tina has topped the charts in every decade over the last 60 years.
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 Tina and Ruby were teenagers. Turner barely knew her dad, who moved to California after splitting from Turner's mother, who also left Tennessee to live in St. Louis, leaving Turner and her sister to live with their grandmother. Tina stayed behind in Tennessee while sister Ruby (known to family and friends by her middle name), who graduated from high school at 18, left Tennessee and moved to St. Louis to be near their mother. Turner spent some time as a domestic at a white family's home 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. Turner, however, has said that the last times she talked to her mother, who died in October 1999, 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 reluctantly started an affair with Ike. Her second child, Ronnie Turner, was born in 1960. After marrying Ike in 1962, Turner became the adoptive mother of two of Ike's eldest 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 dominating her and emotionally abusing her. In 1968, Turner attempted suicide while on tour in Los Angeles, swallowing a reported 90 sleeping pills. After that brush, Turner looked to outside help and through a close friend was introduced to Buddhism in 1971. Three years later, Turner converted to the Buddhist faith. While on the road, Turner visited a fortune teller and asked her to predict her future. The teller told her that she "will be amongst the biggest of stars, but your partner will fall away like a leaf from a tree." Finally, in July 1976, Turner left Ike after a violent altercation while en route to a hotel in Dallas. Turner hid herself in her best friend's apartment while Ike was apparently on the lookout for her. After two months, Ike decided to stop searching. Turner filed for divorce and offered to leave Ike all the couple's monetary assets if she could keep the stage name Ike had given her in 1960. The divorce was finalized in March 1978. Leaving Ike Jr., Michael, Craig, and Ronnie, by then all at least in the late teens, to provide for themselves, Turner worked on rebuilding her music career. In 2007, Ike Turner died of a cocaine overdose. At the time, Turner's personal assistant made a statement through the press that the ex-couple hadn't had contact in thirty years and Turner refused to publicly comment on Ike's death.
In September 2010, Turner's sister Ruby Alline passed away at 73. Turner reportedly stopped a busy schedule while in Europe and got on an airplane to Los Angeles where she bade goodbye to her ailing sister before she died. Turner later attended her sister's funeral service in Encino.
In 1985, Turner, who had risen back to the top of the music world, met German record exec Erwin Bach while at London's Heathrow Airport. Turner and Bach, who is 17 years younger than Turner, began their romantic relationship in 1986.
After a strong relationship with the European continent after first touring there in the mid-1960s, Turner moved to London in 1985. She then settled in Cologne, Germany. In 1994, she moved to Zurich, Switzerland. In 1996, she began building a villa outside Nice, France, which was completed in 2000. Today, Turner splits her time between Switzerland, England and France with her main home base being in Switzerland.
Awards and accolades
Turner was listed on Rolling Stone's list "The Immortals — The Greatest Artists of All Time". Turner is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and two of her recordings, "River Deep - Mountain High" (1999) and "Proud Mary" (2003), are in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Turner has won 8 Grammy Awards.
Bryan Adams, who toured 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."