3D Great Rock Bible
Tina Turner iTunes Tracks Tina Turner Official Website

Tina Turner

Although conspicuous by her absence since taking up residence with German music exec, Erwin Bach, to her newfound Zurich home in 1994 (she’s since – from April 2013 – taken up Swiss citizenship), practicing Buddhist-Baptist TINA TURNER was once hot property as the globe’s most sexiest singer on two legs – and what legs they were! As much a victim of her abusive relationship to former wife-beating hubby, IKE TURNER, as she was a gyrating patron to his music, she added the rock’n’roll into soul and gained a reputation for her uninhibited stage shows. Thankfully bereft of Ike’s alcohol and drug-fuelled violence, her post-divorce years gave her a newfound confidence she’d always aspired to. Of course, most of the autobiographical evidence was abundant in the 1993 movie, What’s Love Got To Do With It (named after her inaugural solo chart-topper), by which time she’d clocked several smashes including `Better Be Good To Me’, `Private Dancer’, `We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)’, `Typical Male’ and `The Best’.
Born Anna Mae Bullock, November 26, 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee; although she was later raised in Knoxville, then in nearby Brownsville. In the mid-late 50s, having graduated from choir singer to gospel backing vocalist, “Little Ann” teamed up with R&B guitarist/bandleader, IKE TURNER; performing with his Kings of Rhythm after the pair (credited alongside Carlson Oliver) recorded an obscure 78/single together. Over the ensuing years running up to the turn of the 60s, a liaison with KoR sax-player led to giving birth to her first child; while pregnant she formed a bond with Ike who offered to give them a place to stay. They were to strike up a working and domestic partnership after she persuaded the man to let her have a go at fronting his band.
In 1960, now billed as IKE & TINA TURNER, the pair hit the Top 30 with `A Fool In Love’. As well as presenting a much feted stage show (which served to highlight both Ike’s musical and choreographic skills alongside Tina’s raunchy vocals and stunning appearance), the duo proceeded to notch up a string of R&B hits, even hitting the pop charts the following year with their Top 20 smash hit, `It’s Gonna Work Out Fine’. Things virtually dried up until the mid-60s, when they were introduced to the legendary PHIL SPECTOR. He produced their magnum opus, `River Deep – Mountain High’, a “wall of sound” soul classic which, although a relative flop in the States, peaked at No.3 in the UK.
With varying degrees of fortune, Ike & Tina switched from one label to another, finally scoring a massive Top 5 hit in early ‘71 with an earthy cover of the CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL classic, `Proud Mary’; the pair finally broke out again in ‘73 when Tina’s autobiographical composition, `Nutbush City Limits’, became a massive seller on both sides of the Atlantic. A little understated at the time, her solo debut LP for United Artists: TINA TURNS THE COUNTRY ON! (1974) {*4}, was an ill-advised attempt to break free of her many musical and domestic shackles.
In 1974, with her marriage on the rocks, she landed the role of the “Acid Queen” in The WHO’s cinematic rock opera, Tommy; her new-found independence giving her time to reflect on her well-documented ill-treatment by husband Ike. Hoping to cash in on her part in the movie, ACID QUEEN (1975) {*6}, brought her a certain degree of self-worth (and a chart position), while, alongside re-vamps of Ike’s compositions, pick of the covers were LED ZEPPELIN’s `Whole Lotta Love’, The WHO’s `I Can See For Miles’ (plus their title track) and two ROLLING STONES numbers, `Under My Thumb’ and `Let’s Spend The Night Together’.
In July 1976, after converting to Buddhism, the Queen of Rock’n’roll finally split from the King of Rhythm, although it would take until March ’78 until a final divorce decree was announced; they’d had one child, Ronnie, born in ’64.
After a time on welfare, she began to make tentative moves to carve out a proper solo career. Yet although she remained a star attraction on the live club circuit scene, disco queen Tina still found it hard to sell records; both ROUGH (1978) {*5} and LOVE EXPLOSION (1979) {*4}, both falling short of expectant sales returns. Among her cover versions at the time were selections: `The Bitch Is Back’ (ELTON JOHN), `Funny How Time Slips Away’ (WILLIE NELSON), `Fire Down Below’ (BOB SEGER), `Sometimes When We Touch’ (Dan Hill) and `Earthquake & Hurricane’ (WILLIE DIXON), plus `Backstabbers’ (The O’JAYS). In 1981, TURNER featured on B.E.F.’s (HEAVEN 17) various vocalists album, “Music Of Quality & Distinction”, reactivating The TEMPTATIONS’ number, `Ball Of Confusion’.
Buoyed by a stunning support slot to The ROLLING STONES in ‘82, a fresh contract at Capitol Records led the 40-something comeback queen out of the shadows and back into the pop mainstream. Following the surprise international success of her AL GREEN cover, `Let’s Stay Together’, the multi-million PRIVATE DANCER (1984) {*8} album was released to ecstatic reviews. The record included her soon-to-be Grammy-winning chart-topper, `What’s Love Got To Do With It’, while it also showcased a more sophisticated, smoother approach; the MARK KNOPFLER-penned hit title track, an example. The power-driven `Better Be Good To Me’, BOWIE’s `1984’, The BEATLES’ `Help!’, ANN PEEBLES’ `I Can’t Stand The Rain’ and PAUL BRADY’s `Steel Claw’, gave its producers Rupert Hine and Terry Britten a certain degree of re-imagining – but it worked out tenfold. TURNER’s range was as impressive as ever and, incredibly she was looking better than many female stars half her age.
A year later, her reinvention was complete when she starred in the film (opposite Mel Gibson), Mad Max: Beyond The Thunderdome, for which she provided the theme tune, `We Don’t Need Another Hero’. It won her an award by NAACP for best actress; Tina was also reputed to have turned down the offer of a major part in the film, The Color Purple. A duet hit with rocker BRYAN ADAMS, `It’s Only Love’, cemented her resurgence for a MOR audience intent on testing their CD players.
She was now arguably the most famous female pop/rock singer on the planet, a claim to which an 180,000 audience attending Rio De Janeiro’s January ‘86 concert would testify. BREAK EVERY RULE (1986) {*6} followed the same formula: hit songs penned by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle (via `Typical Male’, `Two People’ and `What You See Is What You Get’), a BOWIE, BRADY and KNOPFLER song on board and the Rupert Hine title track.
On the back of a rather unnecessary and exhaustive TINA LIVE IN EUROPE (1988) {*4} double-disc, the Dan Hartman-produced FOREIGN AFFAIR (1989) {*6} regained some momentum. With the TONY JOE WHITE-authored title track (he was also behind the rootsy hit, `Steamy Windows’), plus ALBERT HAMMOND, Hal David and Holly Knight added to the composition contributors, there was a bucketful of ballads by way of the celebratory song, `The Best’.
While the troubled history of Ike and Tina’s former partnership was documented in the 1993 biopic (based on TT’s book: I, Tina); the accompanying Top 20 soundtrack to WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT (1993) {*6}, also topped the UK charts. When faced with trawling through her back catalogue, Tina admitted that the thought did not thrill her. It’s a thought which couldn’t have thrilled her fans much either. Mercifully, her R&B classics were regurgitated pretty faithfully, and show up newer tracks like `Why Must We Wait Until Tonight?’ for the flaccid, BRYAN ADAMS/Mutt Lange-penned fillers that they were. She might have reinvented herself as an airbrushed 80s pop diva, yet – as an old cliché doubtless goes – you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the Southern Soul out of the girl. Her 80’s efforts have held up better than almost all of her peers, and there weren’t many singles as redolent of their era as the definitive, Grammy-winning title track. But filed alongside chitlin time capsules like `It’s Gonna Work Out Fine’ and `A Fool In Love’, they lose some of their moody lustre. The omission of `River Deep – Mountain High’ was unforgiveable, but a couple of sizzling B.B. KING covers (`Rock Me Baby’ and `Darlin’ You Know I Love You’), and a decent run through her CCR calling card, `Proud Mary’, went some way to making up for it.
In 1995, TURNER became another in the long list of James Bond theme ladies, when she sang the hit title track to `GoldenEye’, a song incidentally penned by messrs Bono and The Edge. Parent set, WILDEST DREAMS (1996) {*5} never sold in the same quantities as her predecessors and looked as if her bubble had burst. In Britain it was a different matter as the album soared into the Top 5, helped along by a re-tread of JOHN WAITE’s `Missing You’, and a BARRY WHITE duet for the sensual `In Your Wildest Dreams’.
Hitting the sixty mark and looking not a day over forty, Tina’s TWENTY FOUR SEVEN (1999) {*6} was simply the best in high-gloss production and passionate but tempered vocals. It’s hard to comtemplate a music world without TURNER, who retired from studio albums forthwith, but at least her UK/Euro audience has never waned. Hit singles, `When The Heartache Is Over’, `Whatever You Need’ (from “24-7”) and `Open Arms’ (from 2004’s ALL THE BEST {*8} collection), are testament in why she should’ve carried on. Of late (2009), Tina has returned to the stage for TINA LIVE {*5} and a collaborative spiritual/new age set, BEYOND: BUDDHIST AND CHRISTIAN PRAYERS {*5}.
© MC Strong 1994-2008/BG-LCS // rev-up MCS May2013

Share this Project

Leave a Comment