Tina Turner: The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Tina Turner: The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll

“Why did I fall so deeply in love? I think when you haven’t had that much love at home, and then you find someone you love, everything comes out.”

                                                                                                                                                                                  —Tina Turner

Referred to by many as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Tina Turner has made history as one of the biggest stars in the 1960’s by singing, performing and creating some of the greatest hits such as “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “Proud Mary”. Tina Turner paved the way for many artists after her time and is still looked at as an icon and trend setter. She was most famously known for her “electrifying live performances” with her duo, Ike Turner (biography.com).


Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939. She was born in Nutbash, Tennessee but moved to St. Louis, Missouri in the 1950’s. She was born to parents Floyd and Zelma Bullock. She had her first child at 18 by a man named Raymond Hill, which happened to be a band member of Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm and birthed a baby boy named Craig. After meeting Ike Turner in 1956, they gave birth to a baby boy named Ronnie in 1960 and the two married in 1962. Ike and Tina divorced in the mid-1970’s after a relationship filled with much physical abuse. Ike caused Tina a great amount of trauma during and after their marriage and she even shared that Ike was unfaithful and had an increasing alcohol and drug problem. In 2013, Tina Turner got married to a German record executive, Erwin Bach, in Zurich, Switzerland. She then gained her Swiss citizenship soon after.

Influences & Development

  • Her career started off pretty slow until she hit a great success with her album “Private Dancer” in 1984. She began going attending “Club Manhattan”, where she met Ike Turner. There she began performing with Ike’s group, Kings of Rhythm, and took over their performances quickly. Ike Turner gave her the stage name Tina Turner and that’s when the great duo took off to become the well-known “Ike and Tina Turner”.

    Tina Turner became influenced by popular artists that she grew up on such as Big Mama Thornton, Big Maybelle, Etta James, Ray Charles, James Brown, and Sam Cooke. She went on to set the tone for artists to come after her such as: Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle, Mariah Carey and many more.

Professional Career




       Tina Turner began by singing lead on a track called “A Fool in Love” for Ike Turner’s music group, which made the song blow up on the R&B and Pop charts. It peaked at number two on the R&B chart in 1960. The song gained Tina a great spotlight, and the song’s success started the development of Ike and Tina becoming a duo-group. They released their first album together in 1961.

The group then began touring and released more songs such as “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” and “Poor Fool”. 

Ike and Tina Turner recorded the album River Deep, Mountain High in 1966, and even though it did not have great success in the U.S., it became a massive hit in England. The duo was more known for their “electrifying live performances without accumulating a ton of corresponding hits”. Their performances were the sole reason for their fame. They released another album together in 1971 named “Workin’ Together”, which consisted of the hit “Proud Mary’ and won them their first Grammy. Tina played in her first film in 1975, called “Tommy”. 

After she left Ike in the mid-1970’s, Tina said that she only had 36 cents to her name. She performed in “lower-profile” venues and make some guest appearances on other artists’ records for the time being but did not have any notable success for a while. 

  Tina Turner made a huge comeback in 1983, when she remade Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”, which made it into the top 5 of the R&B charts. She then came out with a solo album in 1984 called “Private Dancer”, which exploded and won her four Grammy Awards. This album sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. This album consisted of one of her top hits, “What’s Love Got to Do With It”, which rose to number 1 on the U.S. pop charts. It also won a Grammy for Record of the Year. Her second album, Break Every Rule, reached number 2 on the pop charts after its release in 1986.

                Ike and Tina Turner were both inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and in 1993, the film “What’s Love Got to Do With It” was created based on her autobiography, “I, Tina”.

    She officially retired from the music business in 2009, after her final tour “Tina! 50th Anniversary Tour” in 2008 became one of the highest-selling ticketed shows during that time period.


  • (Careers starting around the ‘60’s)
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Diana Ross
  • Michael Jackson
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Barbara Lynn
  • Etta James
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Nina Simone


  • 3 American Music Awards
  • 7 Billboard Year-End Charts Awards
  • 1 Essence Award
  • 1 Cyprus Music Award
  • 8 Grammy Awards
  • 3 Grammy Hall of Fame Awards
  • 1 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-2018
  • Rock n Roll Hall of Fame- 1991                                                                                      And more!


  • Albums:

– 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 Soundtrack (1993)

– Wildest Dreams (1996)

– Twenty-Four Seven (1999)

*Tina has had 1 No. 1 Hit, 4 Top 10 Hits on the Billboard Global Charts*

Top Songs:

– I Don’t Wanna Fight

– What’s Love Got to Do With It

– We Don’t Need Another Hero

– Look Me in the Heart

– Open Arms

– Missing You

– Private Dancer

– Two People

What's Love Got To Do With It?

Tina Turner’s, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” biography film premiered on June 25, 1993. It was based around the life of Tina Turner, beginning as a child all the way up to her peak of stardom. The film was slightly dramatized just as many biographical films are but was based off of Tina Turner’s autobiography book named I, Tina. The film grossed around $40 million in the U.S. and $10 million in the UK. It starred Angela Bassett as Tina and Laurence Fishburne as Ike. The real Ike Turner later said that the film was “filled with lies” and so was Tina’s autobiography. He then came out with his own autobiography in 1999 called, Takin’ Back My Name where he attempted to speak on his side of the story.
Angela Bassett went on to win a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by and Actress in a Motion Picture and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture. The film also won an American Choreography Award.

  • Tina Turner has mentioned that she forgave her ex-husband for his abusive behavior years ago. “As an old person, I have forgiven him, but it would not work with him,” she said in an interview with The Times. “He asked for one more tour with me, and I said, ‘No, absolutely not.’ Ike wasn’t someone you could forgive and allow him back in.”

“I came into this lifetime with a job to finish. I finished it well. I’ve been told many reasons for why I lived through what I did. But I have never felt that I deserved it.”

                                                                                                                                                                                       -Tina Turner

Works Cited

Bego, Mark. Tina Turner: Break Every Rule. Taylor Trade, 2005.

Hess, Amanda. “Tina Turner Is Having the Time of Her Life.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 9 Sept. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/09/09/theater/tina-turner-musical.html.

Louszko, Ashley, and Allie Yang. “Tina Turner’s Story of Resilience, Courage and Rock ‘n’ Roll Comes to Broadway.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 14 Nov. 2019, abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/tina-turners-story-resilience-courage-rock-roll-broadway/story?id=67019011.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Tina Turner: American-Born Singer.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 22 Nov. 2019, www.britannica.com/biography/Tina-Turner.

Cunningham, Vinson. “The Legend of Tina Turner.” The New Yorker, 18 Nov. 2019,www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/18/the-legend-of-tina-turner.

Collins, Nancy. “Tina Turner: Queen of Rock & Roll.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 22 Sept.  2019, www.rollingstone.com/feature/tina-turner-queen-of-rock-roll-190581/.


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