Tina Turner (born November 26, 1939, Brownsville, Tennessee, U.S.), is an American-born singer who found success in the rhythm-and-blues, soul, and rock genres in a career that spanned five decades.
Widely referred to as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, she rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue before launching a successful career as a solo performer.
Turner was born into a sharecropping family in rural Tennessee. She began singing as a teenager and, after moving to St. Louis, Missouri, immersed herself in the local rhythm-and-blues scene.
She met Ike Turner at a performance by his band, the Kings of Rhythm, in 1956, and soon became part of the act. She began performing as Tina Turner, and her electric stage presence quickly made her the centerpiece of the show.
The ensemble, which toured as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, was renowned for its live performances but struggled to find recording success.
That changed in 1960, when “A Fool in Love” hit the pop charts, and a string of hit singles followed. Ike and Tina were married in 1962, although the date is subject to some speculation (during the couple’s divorce proceedings in 1977, Ike claimed that the two were never legally married).
The Phil Spector-produced album River Deep—Mountain High (1966) was a hit in Europe, and its title track is arguably the high point of Spector’s “wall of sound” production style, but it sold poorly in the United States.
Ike and Tina’s final hits as a couple were the cover version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” (1971) and “Nutbush City Limits” (1973). Tina divorced Ike in 1978, alleging years of physical abuse and infidelity.
After a series of guest appearances on the albums of other artists, she released her debut solo album, Private Dancer, in 1984.
It was a triumph, both critically and commercially, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide and winning three Grammy Awards, including record of the year and best female vocal performance for “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” The single became Turner’s signature song.
She followed her musical success with a role in the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). Later albums included Break Every Rule (1986), Foreign Affair (1989), and Wildest Dreams (1996).
Her greatest-hits compilation All the Best was released in 2004. Turner continued touring into the 21st century and also appeared on other artists’ albums, notably Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters (2007), a Grammy-winning tribute to Joni Mitchell.
After residing in Switzerland for a number of years, Turner became a Swiss citizen in 2013 and shortly thereafter submitted the paperwork to relinquish her U.S. citizenship.
She wrote the autobiographies I, Tina (1986; written with Kurt Loder and adapted in 1993 as the film What’s Love Got to Do with It) and My Love Story (2018) as well as the self-help book Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good (2020; written with Taro Gold and Regula Curti).
Ike and Tina were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. In addition to receiving a Kennedy Center Honor (2005), Tina was given a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2018.
That year Tina, a jukebox musical based on her life and directed by Phyllida Lloyd, opened in London’s West End. The musical debuted on Broadway in 2019.
Two years later Turner was later the focus of the documentary Tina. In 2021 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo performer.
(Photo credit: Pinterest / Wikimedia Commons / Articled based Britannica)
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