We’ve got an absolute treat on Artists in Focus this week. Think Queen of Rock and Roll as we ask ourselves, “what’s love got to do with it?”. It’s Tina Turner, of course!
Not born Tina Turner mind, born Anna Mae Bullock and blossoming into Tina Turner as frontwoman of the couple’s duo, Ike & Tina Turner. The pair were a massive success and released enormous hits like “River Deep – Mountain High” and their unbelievable version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary”. Who can forget Ike’s smooth low notes gliding underneath Miss Tina’s powerful melodies?!
One of our personal favourite Ike & Tina tune is “Nutbush City Limits”, and there’s an fascinating story behind this one! Nutbush, Tennessee, is the small rural hometown in which Tina grew up, and where she sang in the Nutbush Spring Hill Baptist church choir! “Nutbush City Limits” is a song which commemorates this place which actually has no city limits! Instead, being an unincorporated rural community, its edges are simply described by signs along the local highways that say, “Nutbush, Unincorporated”!
The song displays its character in the unusual guitar sounds, extremely funky brass parts (who wouldn’t love to be in that band?!), and the wicked Moog synthesizer solo performed by Ike himself. Do not fear, “Nutbush City Limits” is very much incorporated in the Rockschool Vocals Grade 5 syllabus so you too can channel your inner Queen of Rock and Roll!
Simply The Best
Unfortunately, the Ike & Tina partnership came to an end – both personally and professionally. However, after some years under the radar (and being the nostalgia act!), Tina made the comeback of a lifetime! Her 1984 album, Private Dancer, went multi-platinum, bringing us smash hits like “Private Dancer” and a song we all know and ADORE, “The Best”.
And if that isn’t enough of an achievement on its own, Private Dancer contained what would go on to be Tina’s most successful tune yet. That’s right, “What’s Love Got to Do with It” snagged Turner the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1985, amongst many other awards. It was actually the first and only Billboard Hot 100 number 1 that she ever got, though she did break the record of being, at age 44, the oldest female solo artist to top the chart!
“What’s Love Got to Do with It” ended up selling over 1 million copies worldwide, and is often described as “three minutes and 48 seconds of pop perfection”!
But selling over 100 million records in total is what made Tina Turner one of the best-selling recording artists of ALL. TIME. Her career has seen her receive 12 Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She also became the first woman, and first black artist, to be on the cover of the coveted Rolling Stone magazine.
Here at RSL, we think that Tina Turner is simply the best!
If you’ve enjoyed getting to know Tina a little bit better, why not expand your reading to some other RSL syllabus stars? Perhaps you could start with jazz legend Chick Corea, or pop’s golden child, Taylor Swift!