Anna Mae Bullock (born November 26, 1939), known by her stage name Tina Turner, is a singer, dancer, actress, and author, whose career has spanned more than half a century, earning her widespread recognition and numerous awards. Born and raised in the Southeastern United States, she is now a Swiss citizen.
She began her musical career in the mid-1950s as a featured singer with Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm, first recording in 1958 under the name “Little Ann”. Her introduction to the public as Tina Turner began in 1960 as a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Success followed with a string of notable hits credited to the duo, including “A Fool in Love”, “River Deep – Mountain High” (1966), “Proud Mary” (1971) and “Nutbush City Limits” (1973), a song which she herself wrote. In her autobiography, I, Tina, she revealed several instances of severe domestic abuse against her by Ike Turner prior to their 1976 split and subsequent 1978 divorce. Raised as a Baptist, she melded her faith with Buddhism in 1971, crediting the religion and its spiritual chant of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for helping her to endure during difficult times.
After her divorce from Ike Turner, she rebuilt her career through live performances. In the early 1980s, she launched a comeback with another string of hits, starting in 1983 with the single “Let’s Stay Together” followed by the 1984 release of her fifth solo album Private Dancer which became a worldwide success. “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, the most successful single from the album, was later used as the title of a loosely-based biographical film adapted from her autobiography. In addition to her musical career, Turner has also experienced success in films, including a role in the 1975 rock musical Tommy and a starring role in the 1985 Mel Gibson blockbuster film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, as well as a cameo role in the 1993 film Last Action Hero.
One of the world’s most popular entertainers, she has also been referred to as The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Turner has been termed the most successful female rock artist, winning eight Grammy Awards and selling more concert tickets than any other solo performer in history. Her combined album and single sales total approximately 200 million copies worldwide. She is noted for her energetic stage presence, powerful vocals, and career longevity. In 2008, Turner returned from semi-retirement to embark on her Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour. Turner’s tour became one of the highest selling ticketed shows of 2008-2009. Rolling Stone ranked her no. 63 on their 100 greatest artists of all time. In 1991, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, an unincorporated area in Haywood County, Tennessee. Her parents were Zelma Priscilla (née Currie) and Floyd Richard Bullock. Anna was born at Poindexter Farm on Highway 180, where her father worked as an overseer of the sharecroppers. She is of African-American descent, with some European ancestry. When she appeared on the PBS documentary, African American Lives 2, results of blood tests, as revealed by host Henry Louis Gates, showed her to have 1% Native American ancestry.
She had an older sister, Ruby Aillene. As young children, Anna Mae and Aillene were separated when their parents relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee to do work at a defense facility during World War II. Anna went to stay with her strict, religious paternal grandparents, Alex and Roxanna Bullock, who were deacon and deaconess at the Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church, which was located on Woodlawn Road off Highway 19. After the war, the sisters reunited with their parents and moved with them to Knoxville, Tennessee. Two years later, the family returned to Nutbush to live in the Flagg Grove community, where Anna attended Flagg Grove Elementary School from first through eighth grade. In 1889, her great-great uncle had sold the land on which the school was built to the school trustees.
As a youngster, Anna sang in the church choir at Nutbush’s Spring Hill Baptist Church. When she was eleven, her mother ran off without warning, seeking freedom from the abusive relationship with Floyd Bullock. Zelma relocated to St. Louis to live with Anna Mae’s great-aunt. When Anna was 13, her father married another woman, and moved to Detroit. She and her sister were sent to live with their grandmother Georgeanna in Brownsville. She later stated in her memoir I, Tina that she felt her mother had not loved her and that she “wasn’t wanted”, stating further that her mother had planned to leave her father when she was pregnant with her. “She was a very young woman who didn’t want another kid”, she said. As a preteen, Anna Mae worked as a domestic worker for the Henderson family.
A self-professed tomboy, she joined both the cheerleading squad and the female basketball team at Carver High School in Brownsville, and “socialized every chance she got”. When she was 16, her grandmother died suddenly. After the funeral, Anna went to live with her mother in St. Louis, Missouri, where she was reunited with her sister. There, she graduated from Sumner High School in 1958. After her graduation, she worked as a nurse’s aide at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and dreamed of becoming a nurse.
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Anna and her sister began to frequent nightclubs in the St. Louis and East St. Louis areas around this time. At Club Manhattan, a nightclub in the East St. Louis area, she first saw Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm, perform. Anna was impressed by the band’s music and of Ike’s talent, claiming the bandleader’s music put her “into a trance”. Anna felt the urge to sing on stage with Ike’s band despite the fact that few women had ever sung with him. One night, 18-year-old Anna was given a microphone by Kings of Rhythm drummer Gene Washington during an intermission. Upon hearing her sing, Ike asked her if she knew more songs, she was allowed to sing that night, becoming a guest vocalist from then on. Through this period, Ike taught her the points of voice control and performance. Her first studio recording was in 1958, singing background, under the name “Little Ann”, on the Ike Turner song, “Box Top”, alongside singer Carlson Oliver.
In 1960, Ike wrote an R&B song, “A Fool in Love”, originally for Kings of Rhythm vocalist Art Lassiter. Lassiter failed to show up to the recording studio and Anna eventually was allowed to sing the song after much pleading to Ike. Ike agreed to use her voice as a “dummy vocal”, with the intention of erasing her vocals and adding Lassiter’s at a later date. Although some felt that the demo with Anna’s voice was “high pitched” and “screechy”, the song received decent airtime in St. Louis. Local St. Louis deejay Dave Dixon convinced Ike to send the tape to Juggy Murray, president of R&B label, Sue Records. Upon hearing the song, Murray was impressed with Anna’s vocals, later stating that her vocals “sounded like screaming dirt… it was a funky sound.” Murray bought the track and paid Ike a $25,000 advance for recording and publishing rights. Murray also convinced Turner to make Anna “the star of the show”. It was at this point that Ike Turner renamed Anna Mae Bullock “Tina”, because the name rhymed with the television character, Sheena. It has also been said that the renaming of Anna Mae Bullock was intended to keep her from running off and making a name for herself. Ike Turner felt that, if Anna Mae Bullock left him, he could replace her with another singer and have her perform as Tina. Ike later admitted that another reason for the name change was to discourage one of Tina’s former lovers from returning to her.
“A Fool in Love” was released in July 1960 and became an immediate hit, peaking at number 2 on the Hot R&B Sides chart and number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 that October. Kurt Loder described the track as “the blackest record to ever creep into the white pop charts since Ray Charles’ gospel-styled ‘What’d I Say’ that previous summer”. A second pop hit, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” (1961), reached the top 20 and earned the duo a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock and Roll Performance. Notable singles released during the duo’s Sue Records period included the R&B hits, “I Idolize You”, “Poor Fool” and “Tra-La-La-La”. In 1964, Ike & Tina left Sue and signed with Kent Records, releasing the modest single, “I Can’t Believe What You Say”. The following year, they signed with Loma Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records and run by Bob Krasnow, who had become their manager shortly after they left Sue Records. Between 1964 and 1969, Ike & Tina signed with more than ten labels.
The duo maintained a popularity through a rigorous touring schedule across the United States, gigging 90 days straight in dates around the country. During the days of the chitlin’ circuit, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue built a reputation that a writer for the History of Rock site cited as “one of the most hottest, most durable and potentially most explosive of all R&B ensembles” with its show rivaling that of the James Brown Show in terms of musical spectacle. The shows, organized by Ike Turner, provided them financial success. Due to their successful performances, the couple were able to perform in front of diverse crowds in the American South due to the money they made from performing in Southern clubs. Between 1963 and 1966, the band toured constantly without the presence of a hit single. Tina’s own profile was raised after several solo appearances on shows such as American Bandstand and Shindig!, while the entire Revue appeared on shows such as Hollywood A Go-Go, The Andy Williams Show and, in late 1965, in the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show.
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In 1965, Phil Spector caught an Ike & Tina performance in Los Angeles and sought to work with Tina. Working out a deal, Spector gave Ike a $20,000 advance to keep out of the studio to which Ike agreed. With Spector, Tina produced the song “River Deep – Mountain High”, which was released in 1966 on Spector’s Philles label. Spector considered that record, with Tina’s maximum energy over a symphonic sound, to be his best work. It was successful overseas, particularly in the United Kingdom, where it eventually reached number 3 on the singles chart, but it failed to go any higher than #88 in the United States. Crushed, Spector never signed another act to Philles and seldom produced again. But the impact of the record gave Ike and Tina an opening spot for The Rolling Stones’ UK tour later that fall, which the Revue later extended by performing all over Europe and Australia. Signing with Blue Thumb Records in 1968, the Revue issued the blues-heavy albums, Outta Season and The Hunter. Outta Season produced the Revue’s charted cover of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, while the latter earned Tina a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for her rendition of the title track, originally recorded by Albert King. The success of the albums led to the Revue headlining at Las Vegas where their shows were attended by a variety of celebrities including David Bowie, Sly Stone, Janis Joplin, Cher, James Brown, Ray Charles, Elton John and Elvis Presley.
In 1969, the Revue’s profile in their home country was raised after opening for the Rolling Stones on their US tour. In 1970, they performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. The tour’s success resulted in the Revue signing with Liberty Records, where they released two albums, Come Together and Workin’ Together, released in 1970 and 1971 respectively. Come Together produced the duo’s first top 40 single with their cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher”. Come Together marked a turning point in their careers in which they switched from their usual R&B repertoire to incorporate more rock tunes. In early 1971, their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” became their biggest hit, reaching number 4 on the Hot 100 and selling over a million copies, winning them a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. Later in 1971, their live album, What You Hear Is What You Get, taken from a performance at Carnegie Hall, was their first to be certified gold. In 1972, Ike Turner created the studio, Bolic Sounds, near their home in Inglewood. After Liberty was bought by United Artists Records, the duo was assigned to that label, releasing ten albums in a three-year period. The duo’s final major hit single, “Nutbush City Limits”, was released in 1973, reaching number 22 on the Hot 100, and peaking at number 4 in the UK. In 1974, Tina released her first solo album, Tina Turns the Country On!, winning a Grammy nomination.
That year, Tina traveled to London to participate in the filming of the rock musical, Tommy, in which she played The Acid Queen, and sang the song of the same name. Turner’s performance was critically acclaimed. Shortly after filming wrapped, Turner appeared with Ann-Margret on her TV special in London. Returning to the United States, Turner continued her career with the Revue. Following the release of Tommy, another Turner solo album, Acid Queen, was released in 1975.
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Decline of the duo
By the mid-1970s, Ike Turner’s excessive cocaine habit had gotten out of hand. During this period, Tina adopted the Nichiren Buddhism faith and chanting nam my?h? renge ky? to help her deal through a stressful marriage and career. Due to Ike Turner’s drug abuse, some shows were either canceled or postponed. In July 1976, Ike Turner had plans to leave United Artists Records for a five-year, $150,000 deal with Cream Records. The deal was to be signed on July 6. On July 2, 1976, Ike and Tina were en route from Los Angeles to Dallas where the Revue had a gig at the Dallas Statler Hilton. The couple engaged in a bloody fight during their ride to the hotel. Shortly after arriving to the hotel, Tina fled from the hotel and later hid at a friend’s house. On July 27, Tina sued for divorce in the grounds of irreconcilable differences.
Tina later credited the Nichiren Buddhist faith and chanting Nam My?h? Renge Ky? with giving her the courage to strike out on her own. However, by walking out on Ike in the middle of a tour, she learned she was legally responsible to tour promoters for the canceled shows. After a year in court, their divorce was made final on March 29, 1978. In the divorce, she completely 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 Internal Revenue Service lien.
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First solo performances
In 1977, with finances given to her by United Artists executive Richard Stewart, Tina returned onstage, giving a round of shows in Las Vegas in a cabaret setting, influenced by the cabaret shows she witnessed while a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. She took her cabaret act to smaller venues in the United States. Turner earned further income by appearing on shows such as The Hollywood Squares, Donny and Marie, The Sonny & Cher Show and The Brady Bunch Hour. Later in 1977, Turner headlined her first solo concert tour, throughout Australia. In 1978, United Artists released Turner’s third solo album, Rough, with distribution both in North America and Europe with EMI. That album, along with its followup, Love Explosion, which included a brief diversion to disco rhythms, failed to chart.
The albums completed her United Artists/EMI contracts and Turner left the labels. Continuing her performing career with her second headlining tour, Wild Lady of Rock ‘n’ Roll, she continued to be a successful live act even without the premise of a hit record. Following an appearance on Olivia Newton-John’s US TV special, Hollywood Nights, in 1979, Turner sought contract with Newton-John’s manager Roger Davies. Davies agreed to work with Turner as her manager after seeing her perform at the Venetian Ballroom in the Fairmont San Francisco hotel in February 1980.
Davies advised Turner to drop her band and remodel her show into a grittier rock’n’roll showcase. In 1981, Davies booked Tina at The Ritz in New York City. Following the performance, Rod Stewart hired Turner to perform a duet version of his hit, “Hot Legs”, on Saturday Night Live, and later hired Turner to open for him on his U.S. tour. One show with Rod Stewart and Kim Carnes, on 19th December, 1981, at the L. A. Forum, Inglewood, was filmed. Afterwards, Turner opened three shows for The Rolling Stones. A recorded cover of The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion” for the UK production team B.E.F. featuring Robert Cray, became a hit in European dance clubs in 1982. Following performances with Chuck Berry and several short tours in the U.S. and Europe, Turner again performed at the Ritz in December of the year, which resulted in a singles deal with Capitol Records under the insistence of David Bowie.
In November 1983, Tina released her cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”, with Capitol. The record became a hit, reaching several European charts, including a top ten placement in the United Kingdom. The song peaked at number twenty-six on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Turner’s first solo entry into the U.S. charts. It also peaked at the top ten of the Hot Dance Club Songs and Hot Black Singles charts. The success of the song forced Capitol to rethink its contact with Turner, offering the singer a three album deal, demanding an album on short notice, which had Turner staging what Ebony magazine later called an “amazing comeback”. Recorded in two months in London, the album, Private Dancer, was released in June 1984. That same month, Capitol issued the album’s second single, “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. It reached the top ten within a month and in September had reached number one on the Hot 100 in the U.S. Featuring hit singles such as “Better Be Good to Me” and “Private Dancer”, the album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200, selling five million copies alone in the states and selling over eleven million copies worldwide, making it her most successful album. Turner’s comeback was culminated in early 1985 when she won four Grammy Awards including Record of the Year for “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. In February of that year, she embarked on her second world tour supporting the Private Dancer album, where she toured to huge crowds. One show, filmed at Birmingham, England’s NEC Arena, was later released on home video. During this time, she also contributed on vocals to the USA for Africa benefit song “We Are the World”.
Turner’s success continued in 1985 when she appeared in the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, playing Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown – her first acting role in 10 years. Upon its release, the film grossed $36 million. Turner later received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress for her role in the film. She also contributed songs to the film’s soundtrack, two of which, “We Don’t Need Another Hero” and “One of the Living”, became hits, with “One of the Living” later winning Turner a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. In July, Turner performed at Live Aid alongside Mick Jagger. Encouraged by a performance together during Tina’s filmed solo concert in England, singer Bryan Adams released their duet single together, “It’s Only Love”, later resulting in a Grammy nod for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
Turner followed up Private Dancer with Break Every Rule in 1986. Featuring “Typical Male”, “Two People” and “What You Get Is What You See”, the album sold over four million copies worldwide. Prior to the album’s release, Turner published her memoirs, I, Tina, which later became a bestseller, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Turner’s European Break Every Rule Tour, which culminated in March 1987 in Munich, Germany, contributed to record breaking sales and concert attendances. In January 1988, Turner made history alongside Paul McCartney when she performed in front of the largest paying audience (approximately 184,000) to see a solo performer in Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, earning her a Guinness World Record. The success of Turner’s two live tours led to the recording of Tina Live in Europe which was released that April. Turner lay low following the end of her Break Every Rule Tour, emerging once again with Foreign Affair which included one of Turner’s signature songs, “The Best”. She later embarked on a European tour to promote the album. While Foreign Affair went gold in the United States, with its singles “The Best” and “Steamy Windows” becoming Top 40 hits there. It was hugely successful in Europe, where Turner had personally relocated.
In 1991, Ike & Tina Turner were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Phil Spector later accepted on their behalf. That same year, the ex-couple signed away their rights to have their lives dramatized in the semi-autobiographical film What’s Love Got to Do with It, later released in 1993 and starring Angela Bassett as Tina and Laurence Fishburne as Ike, with the actors receiving Best Actress and Best Actor Academy Award nominations for their portrayals of the former husband-and-wife team. Turner contributed to the soundtrack for What’s Love Got to Do with It, re-recording songs from her Revue days and recording several newer songs including what turned out to be her last Top 10 U.S. hit, “I Don’t Wanna Fight”. Other than helping Bassett with her wardrobe and teaching her dance steps as well as providing songs for the soundtrack, she refused to be involved fully in the film, 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.” Following the film’s and soundtrack’s release, Turner embarked on her first US tour in seven years. Following the tour’s end, Turner moved to Switzerland and took a year off from the road at the end of the tour.
Turner returned in 1995 with the U2 composition, “GoldenEye” for the James Bond film of the same name. Its huge success in Europe and modest success in her native United States led Turner to record a new album, releasing the Wildest Dreams album in 1996. Though the album itself was not as hugely successful in the United States, thanks to a world tour and a much played Hanes hosiery commercial, the album went gold in the United States. The album reached platinum success in Europe where Turner had hits with “Whatever You Want”, “Missing You”, which briefly charted in the U.S., “Something Beautiful Remains”, and the sensual Barry White duet “In Your Wildest Dreams”. Following the tour’s end in 1997, Turner took another break before re-emerging again in 1999 appearing on the VH-1 special Divas Live ’99.
In 1998 the duet with Italian musician Eros Ramazzotti in “Cose della vita” became a European hit. Before celebrating her 60th birthday, Turner released the dance-infused song, “When the Heartache Is Over” and its parent album, Twenty Four Seven the following month in Europe, releasing both the song and the album in North America in early 2000. The success of “When the Heartache is Over” and Turner’s tour supporting the album once again helped in the album going gold in the U.S. The Twenty Four Seven Tour became her most successful concert tour to date and became 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. Afterwards Turner announced a semi-retirement.
In 2002, Tennessee State Route 19 between Brownsville and Nutbush was named “Tina Turner Highway”. The following year, she recorded the duet “Great Spirits” with Phil Collins for the Disney film, Brother Bear. In 2004, Tina made her first professional appearances following her semi-retirement, releasing the compilation album, All the Best, which produced the single “Open Arms”, and sold more than a million copies in the US.
In December of the following 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 George W. 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 (performing “River Deep – Mountain High”), Queen Latifah (performing “What’s Love Got to Do with It”), Beyoncé (performing “Proud Mary”), and Al Green (performing “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,” In November, Turner released All the Best – Live Collection and it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Turner participated in the soundtrack to All the Invisible Children, providing duet vocals to the song, “Teach Me Again”, with singer Elisa, finding success in Italy where it peaked at the top spot.
In 2007, Turner gave her first live performance in seven years, headlining a benefit concert for the Cauldwell’s Children Charity at London’s Natural History Museum. That year, Turner performed a rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Edith and The Kingpin” on Herbie Hancock’s Mitchell tribute album, River: The Joni Letters. Turner’s original vocals for Carlos Santana’s “The Game of Love” were included in a Santana greatest hits compilation. Label demands led to Turner’s vocals being replaced at the last minute by Michelle Branch.
On December 12, 2007, Turner’s former husband Ike Turner died from a cocaine overdose. He had also been suffering from emphysema and cardiovascular disease. Reached for comment, Turner issued a brief statement through her spokesperson stating: “Tina hasn’t had any contact with Ike in more than 30 years. No further comment will be made.” Turner made her public comeback in February 2008 at the Grammy Awards where she performed alongside Beyoncé. In addition, she picked up a Grammy as a featured artist on River: The Joni Letters. In October 2008, Turner embarked on her first tour in nearly ten years with the Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour. In support of the tour, Turner released another hits compilation. The tour became a huge success and culminated in the release of the live album/DVD, Tina Live. In 2009, Turner participated in the Beyond singing project with fellow musicians Regula Curti, Seda Bagcan, and Dechen Shak Dagsay. This album 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. It peaked at #7 in Switzerland.
In April 2010, mainly due to an online campaign by fans of the Glasgow Rangers Football Club, Turner’s 1989 hit, “The Best”, returned to the UK singles chart, peaking at #9 on the chart. In 2011, Children Beyond followed and charted again in Switzerland. Turner promoted the album by performing on TV shows in Germany and Switzerland in December that year. In May 2012, Turner was spotted attending a fashion show in Beijing to support Giorgio Armani. Turner appeared on the cover of the German issue of Vogue magazine in April 2013. At age 73, she is the oldest person worldwide to appear on the cover of Vogue. On February 3, 2014, Parlophone Records released a new compilation titled Love Songs. Later in the year, Beyond 2: Love Within was released with Turner contributing some gospel tracks.
Turner has two sons. Her first, Raymond Craig, was born in 1958 when Turner was eighteen. Craig was the child of Kings of Rhythm saxophonist Raymond Hill. Her second, Ronald, was born in October 1960. Ronald was Turner’s only child with Ike Turner. After moving to Los Angeles in 1960, Ike Turner’s estranged wife Lorraine Turner left her and Ike’s sons, Ike Jr. (b. 1958) and Michael (b. 1959), to be raised by Ike and Tina. During their divorce trial, the four boys were sent by Ike to live with Tina at her home. In 1985, Ike Turner accused Tina of bad parenting, even alleging she had sent Michael Turner to a mental hospital. Tina denied his claims, telling Australian magazine TV Week, “he gave me those children and not a penny to look after them with.” Tina’s relationship with her mother Zelma Bullock remained estranged until Bullock’s death in 1999.
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Relationship and marriage to Ike Turner
The early relationship between Tina and Ike was friendly and “like siblings”. In late 1958, Tina moved in Ike’s home at East St. Louis. During that period, Ike began musically training Tina. At the beginning, there wasn’t mutual attraction between the two of them; Tina felt Ike was not the “ideal-looking man” while Ike looked at her as a sister and favored “curvaceous women”. Ike was still married to his common-law wife, Lorraine Taylor, during this period. A sexual relationship began in 1959, much to Tina’s chagrin. Ike also felt guilt over the relationship, stating later that having sex with Tina felt as if he was having sex with a sibling. In her book, Tina stated the couple married in Tijuana in 1962. Tina recalled the first time Ike physically abused her began after she told Ike of her thoughts of leaving Ike’s group due to financial disputes and their own confusing relationship. Tina said Ike grabbed a shoe stretcher and hit her in the head with it. Afterwards, Tina said, Ike asked her to have sex with him. Tina wrote in her memoirs, I, Tina, that the incident was the first time that Ike had “instilled fear” in her.
Ike’s accounts of his relationship with Tina, including the incidents of abuse, differed. In a 1985 interview with Spin magazine, Ike admitted, “Yeah I hit her, but I didn’t hit her more than the average guy beats his wife…. If she says I abused her, maybe I did.” He worded this slightly differently in his 1999 memoirs, Taking Back My Name, writing: “Sure, I’ve slapped Tina…. There have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I have never beat her.” Ike also claimed on more than one occasion that he and Tina weren’t even legally married. In the 1985 Spin article, Ike said, “As God is my judge, of all my wives, Tina is the only one I was never legally married to.” He explained in later years that Tina took his name in order to discourage a former lover from returning to her. Ike himself said he had married at least 14 times and five times before he allegedly married Tina. Tina herself admits she “never felt like [she] was married” to Ike. A musician associate of Ike’s later recounted that except for a few arguments, he never witnessed Ike being abusive to Tina or anyone else in his close circle.
Before a show in Los Angeles in 1968, Tina tried to commit suicide by swallowing 50 Valiums after a fight with Ike. After their July 1976 fight in Dallas, Tina filed for divorce. In the final divorce decree, Tina took responsibility for missed concert dates as well as an IRS lien while also being allowed to retain use of her stage name as a means to find work as a performer. Following the divorce, Turner claimed she had corrective surgery on her nasal septum, which she says was injured due to Ike’s frequent hitting. Turner dismissed popular notions that she was a “victim” of Ike Turner’s abuse stating she had argued with producers of her loosely-based biopic What’s Love Got to Do with It over her depiction in the film. Friends and relatives of Ike Turner said he never fully got over their divorce. Their son Ronald once alleged that Ike used to come to his house occasionally and snoop through his address book to locate Tina.
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Throughout her childhood and early adulthood, Turner was Baptist. Turner was introduced to Buddhism by a friend of hers and Ike’s in 1971. Turner wrote in her autobiography that she first used Buddhist chants (mainly Nam My?h? Renge Ky?) before performing at a recording session at Ike’s Bolic Sound studio. She observed that Ike, instead of beating her or hitting her for supposed wrong notes, sent her money to go shopping, something she took to her advantage later on. That same year, she adopted the Nichiren Buddhism faith and later credited the religion for getting her through the rough times. Turner considers herself a “Buddhist-Baptist”. Turner stated she still prays in the traditional Baptist sense while also meditating and chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
Other relationships and second marriage
Tina’s first boyfriend, while living in Brownsville, was Harry Taylor, who originally came from a rival school apart from hers. Taylor relocated to Tina’s school to be near her. The relationship ended after Tina learned that Harry had married another woman. After moving to St. Louis, she and her sister got acquainted by members of the Kings of Rhythm, with Tina dating the band’s saxophonist Raymond Hill. After Tina gave birth to their son Craig, their relationship was strained. Allegedly, after a fight between the two broke out, Ike and other Kings of Rhythm members confronted Hill and beat him up, with one member tackling him to the ground, instantly breaking his leg. The injury was so severe that Hill had to return to his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Ike Turner later adopted Tina’s son adding his last name legally. After divorcing Ike Turner in 1978, Tina abstained from relationships as she set on bringing her career back on track.
While at a record label party in London in 1985, Tina met German music executive Erwin Bach. Initially starting out a friendship, Turner and Bach began dating the following year and have remained together since. In July 2013, after a 27-year romantic partnership, the couple married in a civil ceremony on the banks of Lake Zurich in Küsnacht, northern Switzerland.
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Residences and citizenship
Turner has been living in a lake house, Château Algonquin in Küsnacht, next to Zurich, since moving there in 1994. She owned property in Los Angeles, London, Cologne, and a villa on the French Riviera named Anna Fleur.
On January 25, 2013, it was announced that Turner had applied for Swiss citizenship, and that she would relinquish her U.S. citizenship. In April, she undertook a mandatory citizenship test which included advanced knowledge of the German language and of Swiss history. On April 22, 2013, she was issued a Swiss passport and is now a citizen of Switzerland. Turner signed the paperwork to give up her American citizenship at the U.S. embassy in Bern on October 24, 2013.
Awards and accolades
Turner was listed at the 17th place on Rolling Stone‘s list “The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time”. Turner is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and three of her recordings, “River Deep – Mountain High” (1999), “Proud Mary” (2003) and “What’s Love Got to Do with It” (2012) are in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Turner has won eight Grammy Awards.
Bryan Adams, who performed 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.” Her legs were noted specifically as she was honored by President George W. Bush. At age 73, Turner is also the oldest person to be on the front cover of Vogue Magazine surpassing Meryl Streep who covered American Vogue in 2012 at age 62. Turner has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
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- Tina Turns the Country On! (1974)
- Acid Queen (1975)
- Rough (1978)
- Love Explosion (1979)
- Private Dancer (1984)
- Break Every Rule (1986)
- Foreign Affair (1989)
- What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993)
- Wildest Dreams (1996)
- Twenty Four Seven (1999)