Tina Turner was born on November 26, 1939.
As of January 18, 2021, she is 81 years old.
Turner was born as Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, but lived with her paternal grandparents while her parents worked as defense contractors during World War II.
During this time, she built her legendary voice singing in church choirs. When she was a late teenager, Anna and her older sisters began hitting the music scene in St. Louis.
A Star Is Born … and Named!
It was there she encountered Ike Turner, and the two were soon producing music together, with Anna on vocals.
Turner wanted to turn his protege into a queen of the stage, so he rebranded her in the image of Sheena Queen of the Jungle … tweaked *slightly* to “Tina.”
For good measure, he gave Bullock his own last name, creating “Tina Turner” as an entirely knew and trademarked persona that he would control even if Bullock left him.
Eventually, the pair made the name change legit by getting married (though Ike later denied this), and Tina Turner became a music superstar.
As their relationship became more abusive and tumultuous over the years, and as other acts rose to prominence, Tina slid from the spotlight.
Tina re-emerged in the mid-1980s, though, older and bolder, and with legs that went all the way from down there to way up there!
For a whole generation of rising adults, Turner became the sultry, spicy voice of experience plopped down right there in the middle of the big-hair, bubble gum-flavored 1980s.
When she asked, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”, we sang along, danced along, joyfully bopping to the music.
And then, the words began to sink in.
Is she really saying what it sounds like she’s saying?
Oh, yes, she was.
Here was a woman from our parents’ generation telling us that maybe the stodgy old ways weren’t necessarily the best.
And we loved every minute of it.