Tina Turner’s influence on music was simply the best. First, with her husband Ike Turner, and later as a solo artist, Tina Turner injected grit, energy and passion into her music.
Born Anna Mae Bullock on Nov. 26, 1939, Turner grew up in Nutbush, Tennessee. Her raspy voice and soulful delivery were a major influence in rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and pop music, Rolling Stone reported, adding that she “injected an inhibited, volcanic stage presence into pop.”
“Watching Tina perform is what I call a spiritual experience,” Oprah Winfrey told the Los Angeles Times. “Each electrifying swing of her miniskirt, every slide of her 3-inch Manolos across the stage, sends a message: I am here. I have triumphed. I will not be broken.”
Here are some of Tina Turner’s greatest hits.
What’s Love Got to Do With It (1984)
Turner’s soulful, moody voice is oozing with pain and bitter life experience in this song. Her defiant voice rises in the chorus, making it truly her theme song. The song topped the Billboard charts for three weeks in 1984 and spent a total of 28 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song won four Grammy Awards, and Turner won two of them for best pop vocal performance by a female and best rock vocal performance by a female.
The song also solidified Turner’s comeback in mainstream music.
Ike and Tina Turner’s stormy relationship was chronicled in her memoir, “I, Tina.” In 1993, it was adapted for the screen in the film “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” The biopic starred Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, the Times reported.
Proud Mary (1971)
Ike and Tina Turner took Creedence Clearwater Revival’s hit “Proud Mary” and turned it into a two-part epic. Starting off slowly, the song builds to a frenetic crescendo with Tina Turner’s full-throated performance.
“You know, every now and then, I think you might like to hear something from us, nice and easy,” Tina Turner begins. “But there’s just one thing: You see we never ever do nothing, nice, easy. We always do it nice and rough.”
The song went to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award.
Private Dancer (1984)
Written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, Private Dancer rose to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 3 on the U.S. R&B charts.
The single remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for 18 weeks.
“It’s a sexy, dark track that gives the album an edge and also a chance for Turner’s powerful sexuality to sparkle,” music critic Mark Millan wrote.
The album of the same name sold more than 10 million copies and won four Grammy Awards, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Nutbush City Limits (1973)
This is a song that calls out Tina Turner’s hometown of Nutbush.
The song is full of funk and synthesizers, blaring horns and nostalgic lyrics that recall Turner’s hard life in western Tennessee..
“You go to the field on weekdays. And have a picnic on Labor Day,” Tina Turner sings.
The Best (1989)
Tina Turner took Bonnie Tyler’s original, which did poorly, and made it her own. “The Best” was a huge hit from Turner’s multiplatinum album, “Foreign Affair.”
While the song topped out at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, it remained on the charts for 14 weeks.
A diverse legacy
Tina Turner’s music catalog is so diverse, it is difficult to narrow her top work to five. “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” for example, spent 18 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 2. It was from the soundtrack of “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” and included a children’s choir, screeching guitars and more synthesizers. Turner also starred as villain Auntie Entity alongside Mel Gibson.
“River Deep, Mountain High,” with Ike Turner in 1966, was an example of producer Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” technique. And Tina Turner’s voice made the production that much more effective.
“Acid Queen,” in 1976, is from the movie “Tommy.” Unlike The Who’s version, Tina Turner’s soulful reading of the hit was one of the soundtrack’s more memorable hits.
“My songs are a little bit of everybody’s lives who are watching me. You gotta sing what they can relate to,” Turner told Rolling Stone in 1986. “And there are some raunchy people out there. The world is not perfect. And all of that is in my performance.”
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