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Tina Turner BiographyAfter almost fifty years in the music business, Tina Turner has become one of the most commercially-successful international female rock stars to date. Her sultry, powerful voice, her incredible legs, her time-tested beauty and her unforgettable story all contribute to her legendary status.
Born to a mixed race (Native and African American) share-cropping family in the segregated South, Anna Mae Bullock and her elder sister were abandoned by their sparring parents early on. After her grandmother's death, she eventually moved to St. Louis to reunite with her mother. This opened up a whole new world of R&B nightclubs to the precocious 16-year-old. Called up to sing on-stage with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm in 1956, she displayed a natural talent for performing which the band leader was keen to develop. Soon, Anna Mae's aspirations of a nursing career were forgotten and she began to hang around with the group. When the singer booked to record "A Fool In Love" failed to turn up for the session, Ike drafted in Anna Mae to provide the vocal with the intention of removing it later. However, once he heard her spine-tingling performance of the song, he soon changed his plans. He changed her name to Tina Turner and when the record became a hit, Tina became a permanent fixture in Ike's band and his quest for international stardom. One thing led to another: they were married in Mexico between the births of Tina's two sons - the first a result of an earlier relationship with a musician, the second with Ike.
Before too long the Ike and Tina Turner Revue was tearing up large and small R&B and soul venues throughout the early and mid-1960s. The hits were relatively few, but the unsurpassed energy and excitement generated by the live stage show (read: Tina) made the Revue a solid touring act, along with the likes of James Brown and Ray Charles. Their greatest attempt to "cross over" came in 1966 with the historic recording of the Phil Spector production, "River Deep, Mountain High". While it was a commercial flop in the US, it was a monster hit in Europe - and the start of Tina's European superstar status, which never faded during her long stint of relative obscurity in America in the late 1970s. The Revue entered that decade as a top touring and recording act, with Tina becoming more and more recognised as the star power behind the group's international success. Ike, while having been justly described as an excellent musician, a shrewd businessman and the initial "brains" behind the Revue, was also described (by Tina and others) as a violent, drug-addicted wife-beater who was not above frequently knocking Tina (and other women) around both publicly and privately. Despite hits such as "Proud Mary" and Tina's self-penned "Nutbush City Limits", further mainstream success eluded the group and Ike blamed Tina. After years of misery and a failed suicide bid, Tina finally had enough in July of 1976, when she fled the marriage (and the Revue) with the now-famous 36 cents and a Mobil gasoline credit card.
Tina, now nearing 40, endured a long and, at times, humiliating trek back to superstardom through working many substandard gigs and performing a repertoire of current Top 40 hits and old Ike & Tina tunes in hotel ballrooms and supper clubs. She now admits she was having the time of her life at this point, simply putting together her own show and performing. She refused to wrangle for a settlement from the divorce, despite being in huge debt to all the tour promoters she had let down by fleeing the Revue. After an appearance on Hollywood Nights, Tina - in a wise business move - persuaded Newton-John's management team to take her on. With Roger Davies at her side, Tina's profile began to rise, and performances alongside the likes of Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones introduced her to the rock market she so wanted to pursue.
The European release of her cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" in 1983 was a major turning point in Tina's career. The record hit #6 in the UK chart and Capitol Records were soon demanding a full album. 'Private Dancer' was hurriedly produced in England in two weeks flat. The rest is rock and roll history. The next single - "What's Love Got To Do With It?" - became Tina's first #1 single the following year and the album hung around the Top 10 for months, spawning two further hits. At the 1985 Grammy Awards, her astonishing comeback was recognised with nominations in the rock, R&B and pop categories and rewarded with four trophies.
Since that time, the successes have just kept coming: a starring role in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome; duets with Bryan Adams, David Bowie, Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger amongst others; several sell-out world tours; a string of hit albums and awards; a best-selling autobiography, 'I, Tina'; and the blockbuster biopic What's Love Got to Do with It chronicling her life.
After her 'Twenty Four Seven Millenium Tour' in 2000, Tina announced she would retire from the concert stage, but continue to record and play live on a smaller scale. Four years later, at the age of 65, she released a career retrospective entitled 'All The Best' featuring new recordings, and reached #2 in the US album chart, her highest ever placing for an album there. She ended 2005 as one of five recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, the highest form of recognition of excellence in the arts in America.
Despite changing the direction of her working life, she will always be remembered as a dynamic live performer and recording artist, able to thrill audiences like no other woman in music history. Tina Turner is the undisputed Queen of Rock and Roll.
TriviaRaised as a Baptist, she has been studying and practising Buddhism since 1975. Took part in the USA For Africa recording of "We Are The World". [28 January 1985]. Ronnie (born 1964), is the son Tina and Ike had during their 16-year marriage. Tina was with Ike for 20 years, but she was only married to him for 16 years (she doesn't count the two years it took for the divorce to become final as part of her marriage). Stepmmother of Ike Jr. and Michael, the sons Ike had during his marriage to first wife, Lorriane Taylor; whom Ike didn't get "legally" divorced from until 1974. Craig (born 1958) is Tina's son from a relationship she had with Raymond Hill, a saxophone player in Ike's band, The Kings of Rhythm. Because of the frequent beatings she received from her former husband Ike Turner, she had to have reconstructive surgery on her nose. Measurements: 34-26-38 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine) Angela Bassett (playing Tina Turner) mimed to Tina's voice when performing the musical numbers in the film What's Love Got to Do with It (1993). Joint winner (with Ike Turner) of a Grammy award for 'Best R&B Group Performance, Vocal Or Instrumental' for "Proud Mary".  Winner of a Grammy award for 'Best Female Rock Vocal Performance' for "Back Where You Started".  Joint winner (with Terry Britten) of a Grammy award for 'Record Of The Year' for "What's Love Got To Do With It?". [February 1985] Winner of a Grammy award for 'Best Female Rock Vocal Performance' for "Better Be Good To Me". [February 1985] Received the Lifetime Achievement prize at the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London. [7 October 1999] She was voted the 61st Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artist of all time by Rolling Stone. Recipient of the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors. Other recipients were Robert Redford, Tony Bennett, Suzanne Farrell, and Julie Harris. [3 December 2005] Is portrayed by Angela Bassett in What's Love Got to Do with It (1993) Ranked #80 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll. Oscar winning director Vincente Minnelli wanted Tina to star in a potential biopic of legendary blues singer Bessie Smith in 1974 but the project never came to fruition. One of her favorite films was Mad Max 2, so she was particularly thrilled to be cast as Aunty Entity in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Mother of Ronnie Turner.
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