Celebrating Black History: Tina Turner
February is Black History Month and we’re featuring stories of black female artists through history. KVCR’s Shareen Awad talks about Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tina Turner, whose powerful stage presence and vocals took the world by storm.
People the world over might recognize the name Tina Turner and immediately get an image of a high-energy performance with powerful vocals. Tina Turner is a singer whose career is still going strong, 50 years after it began. She’s one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, with over 100 million records sold. She’s had success in R&B, soul, and rock n roll.
But before hitting the stage and taking her life on the road, Tina Turner began her life in rural Tennessee, the child of sharecroppers. From there, she moved to St. Louis and quickly immersed herself in the local R&B scene where she eventually met Ike Turner and joined his group Kings of Rhythm. With her electric stage presence, it didn’t take long for Turner to become the highlight of their show.
Tina Turner found success with Ike, notably with their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary”. And she appeared as a guest on many albums of other artists. But in 1984, Tina Turner released her debut solo album, Private Dancer. It saw overwhelming success. The songs “Private Dancer” and “Better Be Good for Me” reached top 10 in the U.S. pop charts. And the mega-hit "What's Love Got to Do With It" is recognized as one of the greatest songs of all time.
Tina Turner’s achievements are numerous, with 12 Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also the first black artist and first female to grace the cover of Rolling Stone, who ranked her among the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. You can find her star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. And in 1991, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Now Tina Turner lives in Switzerland and has retired from the stage, but you can bet we’ll be rocking out to her powerful music for generations to come.