sixty & solar

Tina Turner

A diva with a powerful and mesmerising voice, great sex appeal and an equally fascinating story, Tina Turner is one of the most acclaimed and revered international female rock stars. She was born as Anna Mae Bullock on 26 November, 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee to Floyd Richard Bullock and Zelma Priscilla who were sharecroppers. During early childhood, Tina and her elder sister, Ruby Aillene had to endure the bitter divorce of their parents and were raised by their grandmother. But after her death they moved to St. Louis Missouri to live with their mother.

In 1956, drawn towards Rhythm & Blues music in St. Louis, seventeen-year old Tina frequented Club Manhattan with her sister. It was there that she got fascinated towards the music of Ike Turner and his band “King of Rhythm” who performed there occasionally. Soon she started singing with the band and owing to her natural talent to perform on stage, she gained immense popularity. In 1960, when one of the band members failed to show up at the recording studio, after much persuasion, Tina agreed to sing ‘A Fool in Love’ and to everyone’s surprise became an overnight sensation. It attained second position on the Hot R&B Sides chart and ranking at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. Post success, Tina, along with Ike, came to be known as ‘Ike and Tina Turner Revue’. Simultaneously she etched a distinct identity for herself courtesy electrifying stage performances. Following growing popularity and success, Ike and Tina married in Tijuana, Mexico in 1962.

It was when the couple recorded the track ‘River Deep Mountain High’ in partnership with renowned music producer Phil Spector that the couple-team achieved its first major milestone. Although the song did not fare well commercially in the United States, it went on to become a huge rage in Europe. Thereafter they produced several chartbuster songs like “Proud Mary” (1971), and ‘Nutbush City Limits’ in 1973 with Tina earning for herself the nickname of ‘star power’ behind the Revue’s international success as the band toured extensively all over Europe and Australia.

As Ike and Tina scaled the heights of success and stardom, their personal life crumbled. Tina finally got divorced in the year 1978 putting an end to an enduring abusive relationship with Ike. As mentioned in her autobiography ‘I, Tina’, she had with her only 36 cents and a gas station credit card when she left Ike. She did odd jobs to make ends meet for herself and her children. She rebuilt her career slowly by doing live performances at small events, making guest appearances in the records of other artists, performing her old tracks and many current hits in hotel ballrooms and supper clubs. It was a tumultuous and humiliating journey for her.

Tina was determined to revive her singing career and eventually accomplished her dream with two consecutive worldwide hits namely “Let’s Stay Together” followed by “Private Dancer” in 1983 and 1984 respectively. With her next single track - "What's Love Got to Do with It?" – Tina finally scaled the charts to attain the #1 rank for the first time and the album hung around the Top 10 for months. Her solo career blossomed, as the singer charted a slew of hit singles. At the 1985 Grammy Awards, her remarkable comeback was recognized with nominations in rock, R&B and pop categories and she ended up with four Grammy Awards.

She performed alongside legends like Rod Stewart and through ‘The Rolling Stones’ debuted in the arena of rock n’roll.  Since then, there has been no looking back for her and success never left her side. She bagged a role in ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ (1985), sang duets with Bryan Adams, Eric Clapton, David Bowie and Mick Jagger and undertook several international tours. Meanwhile she also released her autobiography, "I, Tina" and recorded film soundtracks in movies like ‘The Golden Eye’ and ‘He lives in you’.

Circa 2008, having successfully concluded her ‘50th Anniversary Tour’, which was described as one of the highest selling ticketed shows of 2008-2009, Tina announced her retirement from music but continued to perform on smaller scale. Four years later, at the age of 65 she released an album titled "All the Best" featuring new songs, and made it to the second spot in the American album chart, the highest position she had ever achieved for an album. She was awarded the Kennedy Centre Honours, the highest recognition that an American can hope for in the field of arts, was initiated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Ike Turner followed by the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 1991. Married to German record executive Erwin Bach in July 2013, she lives in Zurich, Switzerland.

Regarded as the undisputed queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll she truly lived up to her title.