She paid her dues for years with almost constant one nightery touring in the so called “Chitlin’ circuit” with Ike and Tina Turner. Things started to change when Phil Spector produced the single “Mountain High, River Deep”. It was such a big hit that the married couple started touring on a much wider scale.
Her life, as shown in the 2021 well done documentary on her life, had more than a few bumps in the road before her fame. She was born Anna Mae Bullock and raised in Nutbush, Tennessee. As a young child she picked cotton along with her parents.
Anna Mae was determined to use the voice that she developed while singing in church. So much so that she went all the way to St; Louis to try and convince the popular R & B band leader Ike Turner to be the lead singer in his band known as the Kings of Rhythm.
Ike showed no interest, so Anna Mae grabbed his mike and started to sing. The band leader saw what a major talent she was and quickly made her the focal point of the group. He even changed her name to Tina and eventually Turner when they married. Wisely, Ike trade marked the name of Tina Turner just in case she got ideas of leaving him.
According to Tina’s autobiography, she quickly realized she made a huge mistake in marrying Ike. From the start Tina’s claim was that Ike was not only a control freak, but abusive. Their fights were legendary.
Under the name of Ike and Tina Turner, they had a mild hit with their very first record. But the reviews of her live performances overshadowed any record chart action. That was true until 1966 until Phil Spector’s production of “Mountain High” propelled them to a new and higher level.
Now they leave could leave the “Chitlin’ Circuit” behind forever. Instead, they were touring with major stars. It was during a tour of the UK as the opening act for The Rolling Stones that Tina got the attention of the group’s lead singer. Mick Jagger admits that his stage performance was very much influenced by Tina’s energetic act and started to show the same kind of energy in his live act.
Chart action and Grammy awards followed for Ike and Tina in the 70’s. That ended abruptly in 1976 when Tina, citing violent abuse and infidelity, filed for a divorce. That divorce was finalized in 1978. Tina got what she wanted. The rights to the name Tina Turner.
Tina went on to greater heights without Ike. She was sensational in her role as the “Acid Queen” on record and on the big screen.
That was followed by huge selling solo albums. However, she grew tired of her fame and performing. Like the very determined person that she always was, Tina Turner retired on her own terms.