This legendary singer has hits that spanned decades, but how much do you know about her? We’ve got a list of the best Tina Turner facts and insights into the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, so read on to find out more about this beloved music icon!
Tina Turner Is A Stage Name
A lot of people would be surprised to learn her real name is Anna Mae Bullock, and she was born November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, Tennessee.
She Is African-American And 33% European
Turner is a mixture of African-American and European descent and also has a little Native American in her too.
Her Mother Left When She Was 11
When Turner was just 11 years old, her mother abandoned her, her father, and her three sisters and went off to St. Louis. Her mother was being abused by her father, and instead of getting her children out of that situation, she only thought of herself and left them behind. Two years later, her father would remarry, and the girls were shipped off to live with the grandmother in Brownsville, Tennessee.
She Played Sports In High School And Was a Cheerleader
Turner went to Carver High School, and even though she was a tomboy, she was part of the cheerleading squad and was on the women’s/female basketball team.
Tina Turner Moved To St. Louis With Her Mother
Turner’s grandmother passed away when she was a teenager, and she moved to St. Louis with her mother. In 1958, she graduated from Sumner High School, and her life would soon change.
She Would Sing at Local Nightclubs With Her Sister
Turner started to go to the local nightclubs in St. Louis and sang with her sister, and while in the nightclub, she would have her first encounter with The Kings Of Rhythm and a man named Ike Turner. She thought he was very talented, and she wanted him to let her sing and gave him her phone number, but he didn’t call.
Tina Turner Grabbed The Mic From A Kings Of Rhythm Band Member
What’s interesting about how her music career really began was that one night at the club while an intermission was going on, she took the microphone from a Kings Of Rhythm band member, the drummer, and started to sing You Know I Love You by B.B. King. Ike was impressed with her singing and rougher vocal style. She continued singing that night, with it ending with Ike asking her to be a vocalist in the band.
In 1958, She Finally Recorded a Song
Ike would teach Turner how to have vocal control, and in 1958, she finally recorded a song called Boxtop, and she performed under the stage name Little Ann. It would be her and the singer for Kings Of Rhythm, Carlson Oliver, listed as the vocalists on this record.
She Founded Ike & Tina Turner Revue
The group would go on to record A Fool In Love in 1960, and this would go on to hit 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and two on the R&B chart. It was at that time that Ike & Tina Turner Revue would form, which featured the Kings Of Rhythm as well as The Ikettes, a female group that would be the dancers and backup singers.
Ike & Tina Turner Get Married
Turner and Ike would fall in love with one another while in the band together and would get married in 1962. They had a quick ceremony in Tijuana, Mexico, and he had made her attend a sex show live. This disgusted and horrified her, and this would be the beginning of the tumultuous relationship with him.
She Tried To Kill Herself
Not even Turner is immune to mental health struggles, and in 1968, she tried to kill herself by taking a bunch of Valium. She was miserable in her marriage and didn’t want to live anymore.
Tina Turner Finally Divorced Ike Turner In 1976 And Went Solo
Turner decided to divorce Ike in 1976 after years of physical and mental abuse, and that is when she went solo and released her first song Let’s Stay Together in 1983.
She Lived On Food Stamps For a While
After Turner divorced Ike, life was hard because she had two children, one with Ike named Ronnie, and one from a previous relationship named Craig. With two kids to feed, she turned to food stamps and also lived with her friends while she got back on her feet. She would turn to club gigs to help pay some bills. This would go on for around two years.
Tina Turner Appeared On TV Shows To Pay Bills
Not only did Turner perform at clubs after her divorce from Ike to pay the bills, but she also relied on television shows to help her make ends meet. This was in the 70s so she appeared on The Cher Show as well as game shows such as Hollywood Squares.
She Was On Stage Two Days After Giving Birth
Talk about a strong and powerful woman, just two days after her son Ronnie was born in 1960, she was on stage performing again! For Turner, if she didn’t perform, she didn’t make money, so she was very quick to get back on stage even though she probably wasn’t in the mental or physical shape to do so.
Tina Turner Was The First Black Person To Be On The Rolling Stone’s Cover
Interestingly, Turner became the first black person and the first female in general to land on the Rolling Stone cover. This happened in 1967 and again in 1969 by herself, with both her and Ike landing on the Rolling Stone cover in 1971. In 1984, after going solo, she would land on the cover once again and has been on the cover several times over the years since then.
What’s Love Got To Do With It Became Her Signature Song
In 1984, Turner released the song What’s Love Got To Do With It? This track would quickly become her signature song, selling over two million copies, and also earned her three Grammys.
Recommended: The best Tina Turner songs, ranked
She Didn’t Like What’s Love Got To Do With It Initially
Sticking with this song for a minute, Turner heard the track, which was first recorded by Bucks Fizz in a demo recording. She thought this song was horrible and didn’t want anything to do with it at first. Given how this track was what cemented her legacy as the Queen of Rock N’ Roll, it’s crazy to think she didn’t want to record this song for her album.
Tina Turner Has 12 Grammy Awards
Throughout her music career, Turner has earned 12 Grammy Awards for her music including for the following songs:
- Proud Mary
- What’s Love Got To Do With It?
- Better Be Good To Me
- Back Where You Started
- Tina Live In Europe
She Was Nominated For Grammy Awards In Three Categories At Once
Turner is the only woman to have been nominated in three categories for Grammy Awards at one time, including in the categories of R&B, pop, and rock.
Ike & Ike Turner Are In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
Both Ike and Turner are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because of their talents and incredible success as musicians. They were inducted back in 1991, and it’s one of many accolades she received through the years.
Her Autobiography Was a Best-Seller
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but when Turner wrote and released I, Tina, which was her autobiography in 1986, it quickly became a best-seller. This book went into detail about her life growing up, her abusive relationship and marriage to Ike, and much more. The book helped her show people what talent and hard work could do, even when you go through hardships.
Her Biographical Movie Was Released in 1993
In 1993, her biographical film was released with Angela Bassett in the role of Turner and Lawrence Fishburn playing Ike. This movie won several awards because it was all taken from her autobiography. It gave people insight into the hardships she had to deal with both as a child and adult and was titled What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Her 2008 Tour Was One Of The Biggest Tours Ever
When Turner went on tour in 2008, it became one of the biggest tours ever and one of the highest-selling of all time. The tour, dubbed Tina! The 50th Anniversary Tour was her first tour in eight years and her ninth overall solo tour. She turned 70 right after the tour ended, and this would be the last time she toured.
In 2013, She Got Married And Then Had a Stroke
She married Erwin Bach in 2013, and just three weeks after her new marriage started, she had a stroke which severely impacted her life. It was so damaging to her that she had to undergo physical therapy to learn how to walk all over again.
Tina Turner Suffered More Health Issues In 2016
Just when Turner was bouncing back from her 2013 stroke, she was hit with more bad news, and in 2016, she was told she had intestinal cancer. Instead of chemotherapy, she chose the homeopathic method to treat the cancer and her high blood pressure. However, these medications messed with her kidneys and would eventually lead to her being diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure.
She Contemplated Assisted Suicide
Assisted suicide is something more people are opting for when they receive a terminal diagnosis, and Turner was contemplating this option with her kidney failure and cancer diagnosis, going as far as to join Exit. For her, she was given the advice to begin dialysis because she was not a candidate for a kidney transplant. Her new husband Bach stepped in and offered to donate a kidney to her, and in 2017, she had a kidney transplant and received his kidney.
Her Son Committed Suicide in 2018
Turner’s son, Craig, killed himself in 2018 after struggling with mental health issues and died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Tina Turner Is In The Guinness Book Of World Records
Did you know that Turner is in the Guinness Book of World Records because she’s sold more tickets to her concerts than any other solo musician in history? That’s a crazy feat and very few musicians will ever get to that level of fame. It happened during her Break Every Rule album tour in 1988, where she sold more than 180,000 tickets in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
She Appeared In Action Movies
Not only did Turner sing, but she was also an action movie star and generally speaking, her acting skills received positive reviews. She was most famously in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Like a lot of other stars, she also was featured in the 1993 film Last Action Hero and was in the musical from 1975 called Tommy.
Sammy Davis Jr. Gifted Her a Jaguar
After a performance with Sammy Davis Jr. in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1970, Turner received a Jaguar XJ6 from the musician. It was a present from him and a much-needed one given that when she was with Ike, she didn’t have access to her money.
She Spent Over 60 Years In The Music Business
When you think of her, it’s hard to fathom that Turner spent over 60 years in the music business, from Ike & Tina to her solo work, she has had one of the longest and most successful music careers of any artist ever.
Tina Turner Died May 24, 2023
Turner died while peacefully living in her home in Switzerland on May 24, 2023, after years of dealing with health issues. She was 83 when she died and still married to Bach at the time of her death.
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.