This week Tina Turner celebrated her 80th birthday – a star whose life story could easily become a Hollywood movie script: there were so many ups and downs in it. No wonder the biography of the singer recently staged a musical on Broadway! We tell the main thing about the life of a legend.
Farm and Church Choir
The name Tina Turner is a stage name. In fact, the singer’s name is Anna May Bullock, she was born in the town of Natbush, Tennessee, on a farm where her parents worked. From a young age, the girl was accustomed to work, she collected cotton with her two older sisters when she was still a child. She also sang in the church choir, where she felt a special craving for music.
You cannot call a future star's childhood cloudless: one fine day, the girls' mother simply ran away. The father of Anna and her sisters raised a hand on his wife, and the woman's patience once burst. The singer in her autobiography recalls that she never felt maternal love and was generally an unwanted child. According to Turner, her mother planned to escape, even when she was pregnant with her.
She was just too young and didn’t want more children,
– Tina writes.
The girls were sent to live with their grandmother, Turner was then 11 years old. Five years later, when her grandmother died, Tina nevertheless began to live with her mother again, moving to her in St. Louis. The singer describes herself in her youth as a very sociable girl who was mainly friends with guys, was active – she became a cheerleader, played in the women's basketball team of her institute. After graduating, Tina got a job as a nurse in a hospital.
In St. Louis, Tina and her sister were frequent visitors to local nightclubs. In one of them, the future artist first saw singer Ike Turner, who performed with his band Kings of Rhythm. The girl was so impressed with Turner's talent that, in her words, she was "almost in a trance." She had a dream – to sing in the group of Hayk. And once she had the opportunity to declare herself: at one of the concerts, the drummer of the band gave her a microphone, and she sang the ballad of BB King. Turner became interested in the girl's singing.
Ike and Tina Turner
At that time, this acquaintance became a real salvation for Tina and, as it turned out, the beginning of her star trek. She says:
I would be lost in life if not for him. All I could do then was work in a hospital or sing in his group. I knew nothing more and knew no one. And I wanted to sing.
As a result, 18-year-old Anna persuaded Ike to take her into her group and began performing under the pseudonym Little Ann. The girl began dating saxophonist Raymond Hill, and then became pregnant by him.
At that time, the couple lived with Ike himself and his then companion Lorraine Taylor. Even before the birth of a child, Raymond decided to break off his relationship with the young singer. And Lorraine Taylor suspected that Tina was pregnant not at all from a saxophonist, but from Ike Turner. Out of jealousy, the girl almost killed the alleged rival: she threatened Tina with a pistol, after which she shot herself, but did not die.
In August 1958, Tina gave birth to a son, Craig, and at the beginning of 1960, she and Ike began to meet. In the same year, their common son Ronnie was born, a couple of years later they married. All this is very similar to a soap opera scenario, and I must say that Turner has a generally interesting biography: the musician was married at least ten times (he once said that 14), moreover, he married more than once, not yet ending his previous relationship .
Probably, the numerous lovers of Ike could not cope with his stormy temperament. Throughout all relations with him, Tina was a victim of domestic violence. This is what The New York Times writes:
He made her a famous artist, but in the end, because of him, she almost hated music. He changed her name and patented him, in order to sue in case of anything. He stole her jewelry. He splashed hot coffee in her face. He broke her jaw. All this time, he made her sing, even when blood flowed from her mouth.
During the marriage, Tina even tried to commit suicide, completely falling into despair. To decide to end an unhealthy relationship, the singer took a long time: only in 1976 she left Turner. As she says, she ran away after another beating with a few tens of cents in her pocket, all bruised and in debt.
In terms of a career, the singing couple in the first years after meeting everything was fine. Indeed, the name Tina Turner was coined by Ike, he also gave their team the name Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Together they recorded a series of hits, including the songs A Fool in Love, It’s Gonna Work Out Fine, I Idolize You, Proud Mary and others. Their tracks hit the charts, including a hot hundred Billboard.
In the beginning of the 70s, the band’s popularity began to decline: Ike abused drugs and showed a difficult character all the time, because of which musicians often left the band and tour tours were disrupted. The last joint successful single by Ike and Tina was the song Nutbush City Limits – Turner wrote it about her hometown.
In the mid-70s, Ike produced his wife's first solo album, but he did not have much success. After Turner finally decided to leave her abuser husband, popularity did not immediately come to her: the singer says that she was not perceived for a long time as a solo artist, separate from Hayk. The first self-released albums she sold too sluggishly.
Only in the 80s Turner confidently made herself known, but the single What’s Love Got To Do With It released in 1984 marked her full return to the stage, becoming a smash hit around the world. A year later, Tina already toured the planet with her first world tour. In 1988, the singer got into the Guinness Book of Records: she spoke to the largest paid audience in history – more than 188 thousand people gathered at her concert, which was held at a stadium in Brazil.
Another immortal hit Turner – Simply The Best (by the way, this is a cover of the song Bonnie Tyler) – was released in 1989 and also enjoyed tremendous success. All the following years, Tina was on the wave of popularity, released joint tracks with world stars: Phil Collins, Eros Ramazotti, Carlos Santana and others.
She first revealed the truth about her relationship with her husband-abuser in 1986, when she released an autobiography called "I, Tina."
After the death of Ike Turner, the singer said:
I don’t know if I could ever forgive Ike for everything he did to me. But he is no longer alive, so there is no point in worrying about it.
According to her, at the time of the death of her ex-husband, she had not communicated with him for 35 years. Turner said that her life during the marriage with Ike was “terrible,” but she managed to “survive without blaming or hating anyone.”
Tina had to transfer another blow of fate quite recently: in the summer of 2018, her eldest son Craig shot himselfHe was 59 years old.
Tina Turner with children: Ike Turner Jr., Michael, Ronnie and Craig
Tina Turner with her son Craig
The singer said a couple of months after the tragedy:
I still don’t know what drove him to this extreme. He was in love, planned to introduce me to his girlfriend. He made repairs in the apartment that I bought him a couple of years ago. He got a new job at a good real estate company … Perhaps he suffered from loneliness. He was an introvert, a very private person.
Love and disease
In the mid-90s, Tina moved to Switzerland with her new lover – German music producer Erwin Bach. They decided to legalize the relationship much later: the couple played their wedding in 2013. Then the singer received Swiss citizenship. By the way, she lived in different countries of Europe since the mid-80s.
The happiness of the newlyweds was overshadowed by health problems, which Turner described in her memoirs that appeared a year ago. Less than a month after the wedding, the star had a stroke, she said that she "had to learn to walk again." And three years later, she was diagnosed with bowel cancer, in addition, she developed renal failure. Tina writes in her book that she had lost all hope then:
I could not eat, I was surviving, not living. Thoughts about death appeared. I have already come to terms with the fact that my kidneys refuse and I have to die …. Buddhism teaches us to accept both life and death. I was ready. I got used to the fact that my time has come.
Back in the 70s, Turner adopted Buddhism and says that this religion to this day helps her deal with life crises. Only a kidney transplant could allow the singer to continue to live a full life. Her husband Erwin Bach volunteered to be a donor. The star tells:
I could not believe it, I can’t even believe it now. I was shocked that he proposed to do this.
Erwin Bach and Tina Turner
The operation was successful, despite the fact that it was risky: Turner, among other things, had a heart condition. She recalls:
The best moment is when, after surgery, Erwin drove into my room in a wheelchair. He somehow managed to look great, he was handsome and, as always, greeted me with a cheerful "hello dear!" Emotions overwhelmed me – happiness, excitement, joy from the fact that we managed to get through this.
About how she feels now, Tina told fans on the day of her 80th birthday. On November 26, the singer tweeted a message to fans.
Well, I look great, I feel good! I had to face serious illnesses that I continue to struggle with. It can be said that life gave me a second chance. I am a happy 80 year old woman
For ten years now, Turner has not performed. She ended her career with a grand world tour in 2009. Tina says that at some point she felt the need to retire:
I don’t sing, don’t dance, don’t dress up in stage costumes. I'm just tired of singing and making everyone happy. That is what I have been doing all my life.
Based on the biography of the legendary star, a musical was staged – staged by Tina: The Tina Turner Musical from the creators of Mamma Mia! cost 16.5 million dollars. It refers to four decades of Turner's life: from her childhood on the farm to the peak of fame that came in the 80s.
Tina took an active part in the work on the musical: shared memories with the scriptwriters, advised choreographers about her "branded" movements. When journalists ask her if it’s strange to “see how other women portray her herself,” Tina replies that she watched exactly this throughout her career, bearing in mind that many artists at different times tried to copy her.
The premiere of the musical Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Beyonce and Tina Turner
Now, Tina says, she just enjoys life, letting go of all past grievances and failures.
I am happier than I have ever been in life … It turns out that most of the troubles fell on me when I was young. And in the last years of life, when people, as a rule, suffer from old age and diseases, happiness finally came to me.
We admire the star’s strength of character and wish it always to maintain the same pep!