It’s a sad day for Rock and Roll, music and for all of us who loved and listened to Tina Turner, with the news of her passing at the age of 83 after a long illness. I have fond memories of listening to her many tracks as a child in the 80s that my dad had on vinyl and later on CD. I had no musicial connection to the sounds from her Ike & Turner days but I was definitely influenced by everything that came from 80s onwards. She was truly one of the greats.
Born Anna Mae Bullock, Tina was often referred to as the “Queen of Rock and Roll” whose career impressively spanned many a decade. She sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling artists in music history. Turner was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as the 17th greatest singer of all time and 63rd greatest artist of all time, and was the first artist to remain in the UK top 40 for seven consecutive decades.
Turner’s career revived in the 1980s when she signed a new contract with the British label EMI Records. In 1984, she released the album Private Dancer, which became a global hit and established Turner as a major solo artist. The album featured the hit single “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, which is considered Turner’s biggest hit and spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In 1985, Turner co-starred with Mel Gibson in the film Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, and recorded two songs for the film’s soundtrack. The song “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)” catapulted her to yet another international hit. In 1986, she released her second album, Break Every Rule, for Capitol, which was a hit on the US Hot 100 and included “Typical Male” and “What You Get Is What You See”.
Turner continued her successful run into the 1990s, with her album Foreign Affair in 1989 and the hit single “The Best”. During the 90s, Turner embarked on a highly successful European tour known as the Foreign Affair Tour (in 1990), which broke records previously set by the Rolling Stones, drawing nearly four million people in attendance. Her first compilation album, Simply the Best, was released in 1991, selling seven million copies worldwide and became her biggest seller in the UK. Turner switched from the US Capitol label to Virgin Records, and in 1993, she recorded the soundtrack to the film about her life, “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, producing the hit single, “I Don’t Wanna Fight”. In 1995, she performed the title song for the James Bond film “GoldenEye”.
In 1996, she released the album Wildest Dreams and embarked on an accompanying tour. Before celebrating her 60th birthday in 1999, Turner released her tenth and final solo album, Twenty Four Seven, but Turner continued to be active in the music scene after this.
2020 was a busy year for TIna. She released Foreign Affair: Deluxe Edition, a reissue of the original 1989 album, she released a third book, Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good and also collaborated with Norwegian producer Kygo on a remix of “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, making her the first artist to have a top 40 hit in seven consecutive decades in the UK. This was final release before her death this week.
Anna Mae Bullock left behind a legacy for both me personally and for multiple generations of listeners and fans and in doing so, she defined an era of music. God bless you Tina Turner. You were simply the best.