April 22, 2024

The groundbreaking vocalist is in the RockinTown Hall of Fame – Class of 2024.

According to legend, Tina Turner’s life and career took a dramatic turn for the better as soon as she left her violent husband Ike.  Not exactly accurate.

Her first two albums after splitting from Ike, “Rough” (’78) and “Love Explosion” (’79) were not well received. So Tina, born Anna Marie Bullock, made money by appearing on game shows variety shows, and comedies.

Tina resumed touring to get out from under litigation over debts incurred due to postponed Ike & Tina Turner performances.

When Rod Stewart saw Tina perform at the Ritz in New York City in ’81 he asked her to sing “Hot Legs” with him on Saturday Night Live. Sadly though. At this point, Tina was considered a nostalgia act.

Tina and Ike met in 1957. He was a well-known bandleader and guitarist. Tina was an unknown, yet she had incredible vocal talent. The Ike & Tina Revue scored numerous R&B hits as they logged countless miles touring in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Tina was always the major attraction. Her strong, emotive vocals, enhanced by upbeat, intricately choreographed dance routines with the Ikettes—typically consisting of three dancers also provided backing vocals.

Ike * Tina appeared to have found their big break when they hooked up with “wall of sound” producer Phil Spector. Though, the extravagantly produced “River Deep, Mountain High” fell well short of expectations in the U.S. it became a huge success in the UK.

A few years later, they became an inspired covers act reworking Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary,” the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women” and The Beatles’ “Come Together.” Tina’s sassy intro on “Proud Mary” stands as one of the highlights. Tina’s own “Nutbush City Limits” was another stunning track with hard-edged, tough vocals.

When Ike and Tina toured with the Rolling Stones in 1969, they received well deserved attention. However, by the mid-70’s Ike’s growing drug addiction made him even more erratic and violent.  Then, everything went off the rails.

Tina signed with Capitol Records and recorded a cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” which did well on both the Dance and Black Singles charts and convinced Capitol to have Tina record an album. The result was “Private Dancer.”   The ’84 set contained the #1 mid-tempo hit “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and went 5x platinum in the U.S. while selling 10-million copies worldwide.

Follow up singles “Better Be Good To Me” and “Private Dancer” were Top 10 hits. 

Ironically, as Tina’s career rose, Ike’s sank. Long standing drug problems bought Ike a prison stint. Shortly after his release Ike suggested that his ex-wife should make him the opening act on her extensive tour. Ike strongly implied that it was the least she could do after all he’d done for her. Nothing came of it.

Though the ’86 album, “Break Every Rule,” didn’t have “Private Dancer’s” impact it held the #2 hit “Typical Male” while two other songs landed in the Top 20 – “Two People” and “What You Get Is What You See.”  That same year, Tina received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“Foreign Affair,” arriving in ’89, was best remembered for “The Best.”  Not surprisingly, the album did far better in the U.K. than in the U.S.

Following the “Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour” in ’09 Tina retired.  She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twelve years later.

After years of illness, Turner passed away at the age of 83 at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, on 10/24/23.


Joining Tina Turner in the RockinTown Hall of Fame – Class of 2024 are Iron Maiden and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

See all the bios for RockinTown Hall of Fame members.

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