Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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TURNER, Tina

(b Annie Mae Bullock, 26 November 1938, Nutbush TN) Rock/soul singer, one of the biggest stars of the '80s. She spent her childhood in Nutbush, but left as soon as she could. When she later left her Svengali Ike Turner (see above) she also left his financial management and organization; like many other US artists since the early days of rock'n'roll she was more appreciated in UK than at home; Love Explosion and Rough '79-81 on UA had not set the world on fire and the label seemed to be losing interest, and she was asked to be one of several vocalists on Music Of Quality And Distinction '82 on Virgin, a concept LP organized by synth players Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh as British Electric Foundation (see also Human League and Heaven 17). She sang 'Ball Of Confusion'; they produced a cover of Al Green's 'Let's Stay Together' for a UK top ten late '83, USA top 40 '84. She signed with Capitol. Cover of Beatles' 'Help' a minor UK hit '84, produced in the USA by the Crusaders; the other nine tracks on her Private Dancer were all produced in the UK, including 'What's Love Got To Do With It', written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, produced by Britten: it was a UK top three hit, no. 1 for three weeks in USA, won Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Female Pop Performance and Female Rock Vocal of the Year: Tina was back. 'Better Be Good To Me' was USA top five, minor UK hit; LP's title track top 30 UK: all these except 'Ball Of Confusion' were on Private Dancer, a no. 3 LP USA '84.

She starred in the SF fantasy movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdrome, won plaudits for acting and sang 'We Don't Need Another Hero', another hit; duetted with Mick Jagger in Live Aid concert mid-'85; follow-up LP on Capitol was Break Every Rule '86 (producers included Britten and Mark Knopfler) as well as a reissue of '75 Acid Queen on Fame, and video cassettes including the Private Dancer Concert Tour; there was also a mini-LP Mini on Fantasy USA. She sang on one track of Eric Clapton's August '86. Her autobiography I, Tina '86 was written with Kurt Loder, filmed as What's Love Got To Do With It? '93 (soundtrack on Virgin). Foreign Affair '89 was a top 40 album USA, but Simply The Best '91 did not make the top 100; Wildest Dreams '96 was her next studio album, stale and predictable despite the presence of all her superstar friends. The icon of survival became an American Shirley Bassey.