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Profile: Tina Turner


Tina with Ike Turner on stage in the early Seventies

Tina with Ike Turner on stage in the early Seventies



Anna Mae Bullock, November 26, 1938, Nutbush (Brownsville), TN


Soul, R&B, Pop, Pop-Rock, Adult Contemporary



Contributions to music:

  • One of soul music's most incendiary performers
  • With Ike Turner, a crucial link between R&B and the development of soul
  • Helped bring gutbucket soul to the baby-boomer generation in the late Sixties
  • Overcame bankruptcy and a violent marriage to orchestrate the most amazing comeback in the history of rock
  • Soul music's first real diva
  • A powerful singer with an impressive range; one of rock and roll's most accomplished interpretive stylists

Early years:

Young Anna Mae Bullock made her mark in St. Louis, where, as a 16-year-old student at Sumner High, she joined local R&B revue Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm (who'd already scored a hit three years earlier as Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats with "Rocket 88"). After simply grabbing the mike on stage one night, the renamed Tina soon became the center of the show; when she became pregnant with the saxophonist's child, Ike took her into his house. A romantic relationship soon followed.


In 1959, Tina filled in for a missing (male) vocalist on a Sue Records session for Ike; the result, "A Fool In Love," was the first of several R&B smashes. By the mid-Sixties, the hits had dried up, but the revue, always a popular live act, kept recording for various labels. Tina's '66 classic "River Deep, Mountain High," produced by Phil Spector, also failed in the US; but a Rolling Stones tour helped redefine them for hippie fans, and they scored their definitive hit with 1970's "Proud Mary."

Later years:

By that time, Ike had turned to physical violence to "control" the singer, and the Ike & Tina formula began to feel restricting; after a suicide attempt, Tina eventually left Ike in 1975 without a penny to her name. Though considered a has-been in the late-Seventies, she engineered a stunning comeback in the early Eighties thanks to Olivia Newton-John's management, scoring bigger hits than she'd ever had with Ike. She continues to record today, but is most popular, as always, as a concert draw.

Other facts:

  • Most successful female concert draw of all time
  • A practicing Buddhist since 1975
  • Is part Navajo and part Cherokee
  • Turned down roles in films Thelma & Louise and The Color Purple
  • Has had extensive plastic surgery on nose due to beatings suffered at hands of ex-husband Ike
  • Jimi Hendrix played in the Ike and Tina Turner Revue in the early Sixties
  • Life story portrayed in the hit 1993 film What's Love Got To Do With It


  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1991)
  • GRAMMY Awards (1972, 1985, 1986, 1989)
  • GRAMMY Hall of Fame (1999, 2003)
  • Kennedy Center Honors (2005)

Songs, Albums, and Charts:

#1 hits:
  • "What's Love Got To Do With It" (1984)

Top 10 hits:
    with Ike Turner:
  • "Proud Mary" (1971)
  • "Better Be Good To Me" (1984)
  • "Private Dancer" (1985)
  • "We Don't Need Another Hero" (1985)
  • "Typical Male" (1986)
  • "I Don't Wanna Fight" (1993)
    with Ike Turner:
  • "A Fool in Love" (1960)
  • "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" (1961)
  • "I Idolize You" (1961)
  • "Tra La La La La" (1962)
  • "Poor Fool" (1962)
  • "Proud Mary" (1971)
  • "Let's Stay Together" (1984)
  • "What's Love Got To Do With It" (1984)
  • "Better Be Good To Me" (1984)
  • "Private Dancer" (1985)
  • "We Don't Need Another Hero" (1985)
  • "Typical Male" (1986)

#1 albums:
  • Private Dancer (1984)

Top 10 albums:
  • Private Dancer (1984)
  • All The Best (2005)
    with Ike Turner:
  • Live At Carnegie Hall/What You Hear Is What You Get (1971)
  • Workin' Together (1971)
  • Break Every Rule (1986)
  • What's Love Got To Do with It (1993)
Other important recordings: "I'm Jealous," "You Should'a Treated Me Right," "Honky Tonk Women," "I Want to Take You Higher," "Workin' Together," "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter," "I'm Yours (Use Me Anyway You Wanna)," "Up in Heah," "River Deep, Mountain High," "Nutbush City Limits," "Sweet Rhode Island Red," "Sexy Ida, Pts. 1 and 2," "Baby - Get It On," "The Acid Queen," "Let's Stay Together," "I Can't Stand the Rain," "I'll Be Thunder," "One Of The Living," "Show Some Respect," "What You Get Is What You See," "Steamy Windows," "The Best," "Two People," "Look Me in the Heart," "Golden Eye"
Covered by: Cliff Richard, Bob Seger, Deep Purple, The Animals, Erasure, The Four Tops, Celine Dion, Annie Lennox, Harry Nilsson, The Supremes
Appears in the movies: "The Big T.N.T. Show" (1966), "Gimme Shelter" (1970), "It's Your Thing" (1970), "Tommy" (1975), "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1978), "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" (1985), "Last Action Hero" (1993)
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