Photo credits: Orlin Wagner for The Associated Press
Tina Turner (pictured) is an American-born Swiss singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress. She was born in Brownsville, Tennessee as Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939. Known as “the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll“, she rose to prominence as part of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue before launching a successful career as a solo performer. She is noted for her energetic stage presence, powerful vocals, world-famous legs, and career longevity.
Turner began her recording career as a featured singer with Ike Turner‘s Kings of Rhythm under the name “Little Ann” on “Boxtop” in 1958. Her introduction to the public as Tina Turner began in 1960 with the hit single “A Fool in Love“. She married Ike Turner in 1962. The duo went on to become “one of the most formidable live acts in history” and released notable hits such as “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine“, “River Deep – Mountain High“, the Grammy-winning “Proud Mary“, and “Nutbush City Limits“.
Raised a Baptist, she became an adherent of Nichiren Buddhism in 1973, crediting the spiritual chant of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo with helping her to endure during difficult times. Ike & Tina Turner disbanded in 1976, ending both their personal and their musical partnership; they divorced in 1978. In her 1986 autobiography, I, Tina: My Life Story, Turner revealed that she had been subjected to domestic violence.
In the 1980s, Turner launched “one of the greatest comebacks in music history” as a solo artist. Her 1983 single “Let’s Stay Together” was followed by the release of her fifth solo album, Private Dancer (1984), which became a worldwide success. The album contained the hit song “What’s Love Got to Do with It“, which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, and it became her first and only Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit. At the time, aged 44, she became the oldest female solo artist to top the Hot 100 chart.
Turner’s chart success continued with “Better Be Good to Me“, “Private Dancer“, “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)“, “Typical Male“, “The Best“, “I Don’t Wanna Fight“, and “GoldenEye.” During her Break Every Rule World Tour, she set a then-Guinness World Record for the largest paying audience (180,000) for a solo performer. Her final Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour is one of the highest-grossing tours of all time. In 1993, What’s Love Got to Do with It, a biographical film adapted from Turner’s autobiography, was released with an accompanying soundtrack album.
Having sold over 100 million records, Turner is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. She has received 12 Grammy Awards, which include eight competitive awards, three Grammy Hall of Fame awards, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
She was the first black artist and the first female to cover Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone ranked her among the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. She has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the St. Louis Walk of Fame. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Ike Turner in 1991 and is a 2005 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.
A resident of Küsnacht in Switzerland since 1994, Turner gained Swiss citizenship in 2013. She relinquished her American citizenship later that year.
*BlackThen.com writer and historian Victor Trammell edited this report.