Tina Turner timeline: Her career and dramatic life story

The career of singer Tina Turner

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Tina Turner's career timeline

Young Tina Turner

Born as Anna Mae Bullock on November 26 in Brownsville, Tennessee

Starts working with Ike

Joins Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm as a singer

Becomes Tina Turner

Changes her name to Tina Turner and forms the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. They have their first hit, "A Fool in Love."

"You Shoulda Treated Me Right"
Cashbox with Ike and Tina Turner (1962)

Ike and Tina record "You Shoulda Treated Me Right" at Sun Records.

River Deep – Mountain High
YouTube video

The duo releases "River Deep – Mountain High," produced by Phil Spector. It becomes a huge hit in the UK

"Come Together" single
Ike and Tina Turner - Come Together cover (1971)

Ike & Tina Turner (and the Ikettes) release a cover of The Beatles' "Come Together"

"Proud Mary" Grammy award
May 1971 Ebony magazine Tina Turner cover

Ike & Tina Turner win their first Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group for "Proud Mary" — a cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song.

Tina Turner and Ike Turner on the cover of Jet magazine (1975)

Stars in the rock musical "Tommy," earning a Golden Globe nomination for her performance

Separates from Ike
Ike and Tina Turner (1971)

Separates from Ike Turner due to his abusive behavior. (Their divorce was finalized in 1978.) They are seen here in 1971.

Private Dancer album release
YouTube video

Releases the comeback album "Private Dancer," which includes the hit single "What's Love Got to Do with It." The album wins three Grammy Awards.

Stars in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
YouTube video

Stars alongside Mel Gibson in the film "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." The movie's theme song, "We Don't Need Another Hero," becomes a hit

I, Tina book
I Tina - My Life Story by Tina Turner (1986)

Tina releases her autobiography, "I Tina - My Life Story"

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Ike and Tina inducted together into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

What's Love Got to Do With It? movie released
What's Love Got to Do with It movie (1993)

The "What's Love Got to Do With It" biographical movie was released, starring Angela Bassett as Tina and Laurence Fishburne as Ike Turner

Kennedy Center Honors
YouTube video

Awarded the Kennedy Center Honors

Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour
Tina Turner live in Prague - April 2009 (Photo by Kumax/Dreamstime)

Embarks on a concert tour, "Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour," which was one of the highest-grossing tours of the year


Officially retires from performing

Swiss citizenship

Already a resident of Switzerland, Tina Turner becomes a Swiss citizen and relinquishes her U.S. citizenship

The "Tina" musical
Tina Musical at The Aldwych Theatre in London- LONDON, UK - DECEMBER 20, 2022

"Tina," a musical based on her life, debuts in London's West End

Solo Hall of Fame induction

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist


Tina Turner passes away in Switzerland on May 24

Tina Turner on the cover of Ebony Sept 1996

Ike & Tina Turner jolt the rock world (1972)

From the Macon Telegraph (Georgia) February 13, 1972

“River Deep, Mountain High” really started the ball rolling with its Phil Spector sound, and the British were losing their proverbial cool when Ike and Tina Turner appeared on stage and television to give them the hottest show they’d ever seen.

But that was a few years back, and the exciting Tina Turner has since turned into a visual phenomenon in the world of music today.

Admittedly performers like James Brown and Sly and the
Family Stone can similarly inspire soul-stirring feelings at times, but there are two essential elements claimed by the Ike and Tina Turner Revue that are shared by no other group in the world. Those two elements, of course, are Ike and Tina Turner.

Tina Turner in 1971

IMMEDIATELY following their hit in England, America woke up to Ike and Tina; their participation in the 1969-70 Rolling Stones American tour was the final jolt to whatever laggards had still not discovered them. The world suddenly hailed these “newcomers,” who happened to have 20 years of experience behind them.

The Ike and Tina Turner Revue, with a 10-piece band and the three Ikettes, will appear at the Macon Coliseum Friday at 8:30 p.m. Ike Turner was born and introduced to the world of performing in Clarksville, Miss.

At an age when most children are banging on frying pans, Mrs. Turner’s son, six years old, was seeking out pianos to pound. “I didn’t even really know what a piano was,” he has since said. “All I knew was that when I pushed down on the keys it made a sound I liked.” 

A woman who lived nearby used to let him make these likeable sounds on the condition that he would then chop wood for her.

HE LATER convinced his mother to buy him a piano, and Ike taught himself to play rhythm and blues and was soon entertaining his friends, relatives, schoolmates, and “anyone else that would listen.”

Ike and Tina Turner (1971)

He finished high school and organized his own band called “Kings of Rhythm” (the Ike and Tina backup group still bears that name today, though the personnel has changed). In 1956 Ike found himself in St. Louis where, under unique circumstances, he met a young lady from Brownsville, Tenn., called Annie Mae Bullock.

She’d grown up in Knoxville and had sung with gospel groups and at local talent shows in that city. She moved to St. Louis in the mid-fifties,
with one of her sisters, and the two girls, music-lovers both, frequented various nightclubs there.

As she recalls it, “Ike was working at one club we used to go to all the time. Well, I used to ask him to let me sing… he’d say okay, but then never call me to the stage.

“One night he was playing organ, and the drummer put a microphone in front of my sister for her to sing. She said, ‘No,’ so I took the microphone and started singing.

Ike and Tina Turner - Come Together cover (1971)

Ike was shocked. When he finished the tune, he called me on stage. I did several numbers with them that night… later I
joined the group.”

ON SINGLES like “Do You Mean It?” and “You Made My Blood Run Cold,” recorded in 1957, Ike is accompanied by one Annie Mae Turner on piano. At some point, having changed her last name by marriage, he changed her first name as well, and Tina Turner started tearing up audiences with her sultry, full-strength singing and dancing.

Obituary: Tina Turner's life was as dramatic as her music (1939-2023)

Tina Turner, the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll — and a symbol of strength and resilience — passed away on May 24, 2023. 

She was a singular figure in music history, whose powerful voice and high-energy performances inspired millions of fans and fellow musicians around the globe.

Tina Turner onstage (1971)

Born Anna Mae Bullock in Brownsville, Tennessee, on November 26, 1939, Turner began her remarkable career in the late 1950s as part of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.

Despite challenging personal circumstances, she rocketed to fame with memorable hits like “Proud Mary” and “River Deep – Mountain High.”

Tina Turner on the cover of Jet magazine (1978)

Turner’s incredible success spanned multiple decades. In the 1980s, she re-established herself as a solo artist with the unforgettable — and ultimately her most successful — album “Private Dancer,” and catchy smash hits like “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” (See the video for that in the timeline below!)

ALSO SEE: Misheard lyrics from hit songs: Mondegreens from the 60s, 70s and 80s

Her dynamic stage presence, unmistakable voice, and unique fusion of soul, R&B, rock, and pop solidified her as an influential pioneer in the music industry.

Tina Turner on the cover of Ebony magazine (1986)
Tina Turner on the cover of Ebony magazine (1986)

Tina Turner’s accolades include 12 Grammy Awards, along with three Grammy Hall of Fame awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

Tina Turner plays a concert in Chicago (1982)
Tina Turner in Chicago – 1982 (Photo by Laurence Agron | Dreamstime.com)

But her journey didn’t stop at the borders of the United States. Turner had been living in a suburb of Zurich, Switzerland, for many years and, in 2013, she became a Swiss citizen and relinquished her U.S. citizenship, making Switzerland her adopted homeland.

Beyond her music, Tina Turner was a symbol of survival. She overcame abusive relationships, financial ruin, and serious health challenges. Her memoirs and biographical musical became beacons of hope for those facing adversity. Turner was also a devout Buddhist, attributing her resilience to her faith.

Tina Turner’s enduring legacy is that of tenacity, strength, and the unyielding power of music.

Her songs will continue to stir our souls, and her life’s story will remain a testament to the power of resilience. While she will be missed, her music and spirit will resonate for decades to come.

Fan Bingbing, Brooke Shields and other stars highlight Giorgio Armani fashion show in Beijing
Tina Turner poses before the Giorgio Armani One Night Only in Beijing fashion show in May 2012 (Photo by ChinaImages/Deposit Photos)

MORE: James Brown: How the Godfather of Soul got on, got on up the charts

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