ACRN Celebrates: Tina Turner

By Abby Jeffers, News Editor
[Photo courtesy of Peter Lindbergh/Tina Turner]

Rock and R&B legend Tina Turnerbest known for her sultry voice, uncompromising resilience and one of many hit singles, “What’s Love Got To Do With It”—has reached incredible popularity and sold over 200 million records worldwide throughout her incredible career.

Read more: ACRN Celebrates: Miles Davis

Turner, who was born Anna Mae Bullock in Tennessee in 1939, began her musical career as a teenager. But when she met Ike Turner when he performed in a group called Kings of Rhythm, the two soon joined forces and became one of the most iconic duos in music history. When the pair’s song “A Fool in Love” was released in 1960 and quickly hit the pop and R&B charts, they began to tour as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.  

Ike and Tina Turner were known for their energizing stage performances and a string of albums and singles, including “Proud Mary” and “Poor Fool”. The duo released their first record in 1960 and grew in popularity in Europe after the release of River Deep-Mountain High in 1966. 

Turner married Ike in the 1960s. Despite a flourishing musical career, the two were unsuccessful as a couple because Ike was physically abusive toward Turner, and she left him in the late 1970s. 

As a solo artist, Turner struggled at first; she was simultaneously trying to build her own career and support herself and her children on the now-famous 36 cents and a Mobil gas card she had after leaving Ike. 

Yet when Turner covered Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” in 1983, her career took off once again. Many, including Billboard.com, consider the release of her debut solo record Private Dancer in 1984 the turning point of her solo career—the album sold more than 20 million copies and Turner won three Grammy Awards and was nominated for two more that year. Her Grammy wins included Record of the Year, Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female. 

Turner’s career only continued to grow after the release of Private Dancer. She acted in movies (including Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985), released several more albums and singles and performed with other incredible artists through the 2000s. Turner was and still is known for her electrifying performances, rasping voice and rock ′n′ roll attitude. 

Most recently, TINA: The Tina Turner Musical opened on Broadway on Nov. 7, 2019. The musical, which follows Tina throughout her life and musical career, narrates the story of “a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender and race,” according to the musical’s website, and it is showing in New York through September 2020.

Turner has enjoyed incredible accolades over her 60 years in the music industry. She has won eight Grammy Awards and has been nominated for 25 more. She received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2018. One of her songs (“What’s Love Got To Do With It”) peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and six more reached the top 10, and Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Turner has published two autobiographies: I, Tina in 1986 and My Love Story in 2018.

Perhaps most importantly, however, Turner has left her mark on the rock ‘n’ roll music industry as a feminist icon and an incredible musician. 

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