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Tina Turner Biography

Last updated: 07/21/2013 07:52:38 AM

Rolling Stone Magazine Review On Tina ...

Over the years, much has changed in the world of popular music, but two facts remain unassailably secure: (a) at it's best, music captures the raw energy and passion of human emotion; and (b) when it comes to injecting energy and passion into a song, nobody does it like Tina Turner.

To legions of fans around the globe, Tina represents the very embodiment of dynamism and enthusiasm, and for good reason: her charismatic presence is matched only by the courageous fortitude of her remarkable life story, a story brought to the big screen in the acclaimed 1993 film "What's Love Got To Do With It," based on Tina's best-selling autobiography.

Ranging from giddy heights to harrowing depths and back again, Tina's personal saga testifies to her artistic passion and strength of character -- and those very attributes continue to fuel her international superstardom today.

Tina's creative energy roars into high gear on "Wildest Dreams," her second Virgin Records album. With inimitable confidence and power, she shines on such standouts as "Whatever You Want," "Missing You," and "Something Beautiful Remains." Of particular note are the Sheryl Crow-penned "All Kinds Of People" and Tina's galvanizing new version of "Unfinished Sympathy," the trip-hop gem originally recorded by Britain's Massive Attack.

Tina's initial rise to stardom with former husband Ike Turner was followed by a dispiriting descent that would have overwhelmed a lesser woman, but only made this one more determined to rescue herself. "I don't have time for bitterness," she says now. "One shouldn't have time for bitterness when you're trying to be successful. Work towards what you want, that's my attitude."

For all of her recent triumphs, the earliest chapters of Tina's life story are filled with abandonment and rejection. She was born in Brownsville, Tennessee in 1939 and raised nearby in the small town of Nutbush. Anna Mae Bullock and her older sister Alline relocated to St. Louis in 1956, after being deserted by their mother and later their father. When Anna first asked the leader of local club favorites the Kings Of Rhythm if she could sing with them, the answer from Ike Turner was a firm "no."

Her persistence eventually paid off: she began working with Turner in 1958, and the two married in 1960. In autumn 1960, when a session singer booked to record Ike's "A Fool In Love" didn't show, Tina stepped in. The song became an R&B smash and a Top 30 crossover pop hit in America, and soon the band was going by a new name: The Ike & Tina Turner Revue.

The duo proceeded to record a string of classics, ranging from '60s anthems "River Deep, Mountain High" (produced by Phil Spector) and "I Can't Believe What You Say" to early '70s smashes such as "I Want To Take You Higher," "Proud Mary," "Come Together," and Tina's self-penned "Nutbush City Limits." During this time, Tina developed a romping, free-wheeling stage persona, belying the agony of her private life as her marriage to Ike violently disintegrated.

By 1976, Ike's emotional and physical abuses became too much. Emboldened by her new-found Buddhist faith and her film success as the Acid Queen in The Who's "Tommy," Tina struck out on her own. Broke, with four kids to support, Tina found herself at the bottom of what seemed an impossible mountain of debts and disinterest from the industry.

Then in 1979, she met Roger Davies, a young Australian manager who had recently relocated to Los Angeles; Davies took the challenge of helping Tina redefine and revamp her career. With Davies' help, Tina rediscovered the rock 'n' roll raunch of her best records, infused it with the intuitive soulfulness she had never lost, and started over again.

A 1981 support slot on the Rolling Stones' U.S. tour led to an invitation from Heaven 17's Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware for Tina to take part in their multi-artist Music Of Quality And Distinction Volume 1. By the end of 1982, Tina had inked a new record deal. British fans led the way for Tina's comeback by making her cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" a Top 5 UK smash at the end of 1983.

And as 1984 dawned, Tina prepared for the release of a new album: "Private Dancer." Propelled by the single "What's Love Got To Do With It," "Private Dancer" went on to attain worldwide sales in excess of 11 million copies, and ushered in an extraordinary catalog of achievements for Tina over the next decade -- achievements made all the sweeter by the rough times which preceded them.

Highlights include a starring role alongside Mel Gibson in "Mad Max: Beyond The Thunderdome"; an incandescent duet with Mick Jagger at Live Aid; a best-selling autobiography, "I Tina," which led to the hit film "What's Love Got To Do With It;" record-breaking concert tours; and recordings and performances with avowed Tina Turner fans such as David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams, and Mark Knopfler.

The broad-ranging accomplishments underscore Tina's status as one of the consummate performers of our time, whose power and range are still growing even as her career approaches its 40th year. Although she is deeply private person, in her professional life she is one of the world's most widely recognized entertainers: on record and on stage Tina Turner continues to touch millions of fans with the same energy and urgency she has displayed since her teens.

Her life story demonstrates that -- in the face of enormous adversity -- Wildest Dreams can indeed come true.