False Things You Believe About Tina Turner

With her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021, the career of Tina Turner has come to a fitting conclusion. For more than half a century, Turner reshaped, redefined, and reformed both herself and the music industry with seemingly a limitless amount of energy. Like James Brown, Turner's work ethic and onstage persona transcended racial lines, not to mention gender lines in her case.

Her voice first captured fans during the Eisenhower administration and continues to do so today. Turner's songs have found a place in pop culture, and so has her personal life. Her abusive relationship with her husband and musical partner, Ike Turner, became the subject of a popular autobiography and award-winning biopic.

Following their breakup and the end of their group, Tina Turner reinvented herself from half of a popular duo to a singular star. Celebrated songs such as "What's Love Got To Do With It," "Private Dancer," and "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" were made after her divorce from Ike and helped her remain one of the biggest pop stars in the world two decades into her career. Black female performers today look to Turner as royalty in the industry, earning her the nickname "The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll." Still, despite being in the public eye for decades, there are many myths about her. Here are some false things you might believe about Tina Turner.

Myth: Her name is Tina

While stage names are not uncommon in music, Tina Turner has been such a staple in the industry that many people have come to believe her name is actually Tina Turner. However, Tina Turner, as Smooth Radio confirms, was born Anna Mae Bullock to Floyd and Zelma Bullock on November 26, 1939.

Her parents separated in the early 1950s, and young Anna Mae moved in with her grandmother in Nutbush, Tennessee. During her career, Ike and Tina recorded an album titled "Nutbush City Limits" that featured a popular song of the same name. At 16 years old, she moved to St. Louis, Missouri. In 1956, she met her future husband Ike Turner, who, at the time, was the guitarist and bandleader of the group Kings of Rhythm. Ike took an interest in Anna Mae, and soon, the teenager was performing as the lead singer in Ike's band.

Originally, Anna Mae went by "Little Ann" in her first days with the group. However, Ike convinced Anna Mae to change her stage name to Tina, which she did. With the name change, the band's name went from the Kings of Rhythm to the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Ike remained the bandleader and commanding voice in the group, while Tina became the frontwoman and lead singer. During this time, the two began their romantic relationship, and the couple married in 1962.

Myth: She was close with Phil Spector

According to The Second Disc, Phil Spector put so much work and energy in his song with Tina Turner, "River Deep-Mountain High," that upon its commercial failure in the United States, he left the music industry for the rest of the 1960s. After all that effort, one might think that the two remained close, though this was not the case.

By 2007, Spector had gone from one of the most important producers in pop music during the 20th century to a man seemingly losing his grip on reality, standing trial (and eventually being convicted) for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. That year, NME reports, Spector spoke out against Tina Turner following the funeral of Ike Turner.

Spector slammed Tina's 1986 autobiography, "I, Tina," which told of her abusive marriage to Ike Turner, saying, "I have an ambivalence towards Oprah Winfrey. She made Tina Turner's book into a bestseller which demonized and vilified Ike. The book wouldn't have sold 10 books. It was badly written. It was a piece of trash." He also questioned how talented Tina was outside of Ike's influence: "Ike made Tina the jewel she was. When I went to see Ike play at the Cinegrill in the 90s...there were at least five Tina Turners on the stage performing that night, any one of them could have been Tina Turner."

Much like Ike, Phil Spector's ex-wife, singer Ronnie Spector, accused him of being abusive throughout their marriage and professional relationship

Myth: Private Dancer was Tina Turner's first solo album

Tina Turner's 1984 comeback album, "Private Dancer," was the end of a long journey almost a decade in the making. The album featured some of the biggest names in music contributing to it, such as Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck, and David Bowie. While many believe that "Private Dancer" was Turner's first solo work, AllMusic indicates that the album was her fifth as a solo artist.

Surprisingly, Tina, who came from a blues/soul background and who became known by the honorific "The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll," gave her take on a different genre in her solo debut. "Tina Turns the Country On!" was released in 1974 and saw her give her own spin on country music. The album did also feature the R&B and pop-rock sound that Turner was accustomed to singing with her husband.

Turner's second solo album, 1975's "Acid Queen," was titled after her character in the 1975 film "Tommy," based on the rock opera from The Who. Despite being filled with covers, the album was seen as a solid foundation for a future solo career. "Tommy" also featured the couple's last hit song, "Baby Get It On."

Her next two solo efforts, "Love Explosion" and "Rough," were both released in 1978, the same year she divorced Ike. Neither received the same commercial success as her first two solo works, and they would be Turner's last studio albums until "Private Dancer."

Myth: Ike was Tina's first love

Ike Turner was such a presence in Tina's life, even from an early age, that it's easy for many to believe that he was her first true love. However, as she explained in a 1986 article for Rolling Stone, Turner had two serious relationships prior to meeting Ike, one of which ended with the birth of her first child.

Her first was with a young boy named Harry Taylor when she was living in Brownsville, Tennessee. Despite being the object of affection for many girls in the area, Harry and then-Anna Mae Bullock dated for about a year. However, their relationship ended when she learned that Harry had impregnated another girl whom he planned to marry.

Her next serious relationship came in St. Louis after she had met Ike. She began to date Raymond Hill, the saxophone player in the Kings of Rhythm. She was still in high school at the time, and their relationship led to Anna Mae becoming pregnant with her first child. While admitting to herself that she did not love Raymond as much as she loved Harry, she was still excited about their future together with their child. This ended when Hill left the band and his child's mother before she even gave birth, leaving Anna Mae to care for their son, Craig, as a single parent. Her next romantic partner would be Ike Turner.

Myth: Proud Mary was an Ike and Tina Song

Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin have many similarities: The two broke into stardom around the same time in the early 1960s. Both had long, successful careers long after people had counted them out when they hit their 40s, and both are seen as powerful Black female voices in the music industry. Another point of comparison is that like Aretha Franklin's "Respect," Tina Turner's "Proud Mary," arguably her most well-known song, is a cover that she made her own.

While Otis Redding's original version of "Respect" did not garner him much attention on the pop charts, Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" was a hit. It was actually a bigger hit than Ike and Tina's version. According to Culture Fandom, CCR's original version peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 charts in March 1969, while Ike and Tina's version peaked at No. 4 in March 1971.

While CCR's version is a classic rock song in a basic C-to-A chord structure, Ike and Tina's version begins slowly as she states that the band is going to start "nice and easy" but finish "nice and rough." After the first verse, the song explodes into a soulful anthem about a hardworking woman keeping her head high (again, similar to Aretha's "Respect"). While CCR won the chart battle back in the day, the song is firmly remembered as Tina's own to the point that people forget that John Fogerty wrote and sang the original.

Myth: Tina recovered from her relationship with Ike

Abusive relationships can take a great amount of support and care for the victim to recover from, and even then, this may not be enough. Despite Tina Turner becoming an international solo star, achieving greater fame than during her marriage to Ike, the 81-year-old "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll" is still dealing with the effects of the abuse she suffered.

As Bustle reports, following her divorce from Ike and her resurgence as a successful solo artist, many people believed Turner had moved on. However, as she has expressed to documentarians Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, this was not the case. "People can't imagine the kind of man he was," she said. In their 2021 HBO documentary about the famed singer, Lindsay spoke about why he believed Tina wanted to sit down and tell her story once again, stating, "We realized that the motivation on Tina's side was that she was having trouble getting the record industry to disassociate her from Ike."

Ike and Tina, for better or worse, were one of the most iconic musical duos and musical couples of the second half of the 20th century. This means, despite her solo career and telling the truth about their relationship, Tina will always have trouble disconnecting from her ex-husband. Even Lindsay admitted that the documentary "cemented her identity with Ike in a way that she was never able to really detach from."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Myth: Tina Turner dated Mick Jagger

According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Tina Turner and Mick Jagger first met each other in 1966, when Ike and Tina toured England with the Rolling Stones. The two crossed paths over the ensuing years, and at Live Aid 1985, the pair performed two songs together. Their steamy stage act included Jagger removing his shirt and ripping off Turner's skirt mid-performance. However, as Turner explained, the pair were just colleagues.

Tina described Jagger and fellow British superstar David Bowie as "the boys" and had this to say about teaching Jagger dance moves while they toured together, Fabiosa reports: "Mick wanted to dance — and I was a dancer — but he never gave me the credit! He said his mother taught him how to dance. But we worked with him in the dressing room, me and the girls, and we taught him how to Pony."

The Rolling Stones were enthusiasts of Black music, with their first albums being filled with blues and R&B covers. The band's name comes from a popular song by blues legend Muddy Waters. Turner said of Jagger and the other musicians from Great Britain admiring her work, "All those English guys felt I could sing. They felt there was something to learn from my singing. My vocals are natural. I hit the note naturally, and they'd go: 'What?! How'd you do that?!!"

Myth: Tina Turner is a U.S. citizen

Tina Turner was born and raised in the United States, so us stating that people falsely believe she's a U.S. citizen requires an explanation! As The Washington Post reported in 2013, Turner relinquished her U.S. citizenship after spending the past two decades in Switzerland with her partner, Erwin Bach.

In 1985, Tina met German music producer Erwin Bach, and the two have been inseparable ever since. The couple finally tied the knot in July 2013 in a quiet civil ceremony in Kuesnacht. The wedding was followed by a weekend party, featuring a Buddhist water ceremony. With her new husband and home in Europe, Turner decided to relinquish her status as a U.S. citizen. This meant she became a citizen of Switzerland "with the intent to lose her U.S. citizenship."

Turner retired from performing in 2009 and has stated that outside her family, she has no other connections to the States and has no interest in remaining there. Today, she lives in Zurich with her husband.

Myth: Tina wore wigs because she enjoyed it

Outside of her dynamic voice and long legs, Tina Turner's wigs are her most recognizable style. From when she first stepped onstage in the 1950s until she stepped off more than a half-century later, Turner has rocked wigs like she has rocked concerts. However, as CBS News reports, these were originally less a style for Turner and more of a confidence enhancer.

She told Gayle King in an interview for "CBS Sunday Morning" that she was very insecure when first starting her music career. Turner recalled, "I had the strange voice most girl singers didn't have. You know, in the beginning, I didn't. I thought it was kind of ugly because it didn't sound like Diana Ross...But then afterward I thought, 'Yeah, it sounds like the guys.'" 

Turner found solace in one area that put her above other performers: "I was the only one that danced and I remember Little Richard said, 'Tina dances, you know, it's hard for us to compete with her.'" Still, this did not keep her from disliking her appearance and turning to wigs and makeup to hide her true face. When asked if she thought of herself as attractive, she responded, "I never thought I was. I tried to — that's why the wigs and the makeup, and the dress. I had to really make myself pretty. I had to work on that."

Myth: Tina's divorce left her rich

Many divorces end with both sides obtaining an equal share of money and possessions. This way, both parties leave on equal terms and are able to continue on with their lives. Tina and Ike Turner's divorce was less a 50/50 split and more of a 90/10 split, to put it generously, in Ike's favor. The end came after Tina and her husband had an altercation in Dallas. The 1978 divorce left her, as she put it, walking away with "36 cents and a gas station credit card," Biography reports.

As Ike had taken the royalties from their almost two decades of work, Tina had to lick her wounds and retreat in order to plan out her future away from her ex. At first, she had to take menial jobs in order to feed her children, cleaning houses and living on food stamps while working as a musician. Though her concerts were at low-profile venues, she made guest appearances on other artists' albums until her big break, when a cover of the Al Green song "Let's Stay Together" netted her a hit in 1983. The next year, she released "Private Dancer." The album sold more than 20 million copies and put Tina Turner back in the limelight.

Myth: Tina was the only member of her family in the music industry

Before the Jackson 5 and DeBarge, Tina Turner starred in The Ike & Tina Revue with her sister, Ruby Aillene Selico (also known as Alline Bullock), as a background singer. After Ike's death, the former Ikette told Ebony that she had always considered him her brother-in-law, despite the stories of abuse from her sister.

Ruby actually introduced her sister to her future husband and musical partner. At the time, Ruby was dating the drummer of the band, Eugene Washington, and would take her little sister to the club to hear them perform. At her insistence, she convinced Anna Mae to get up onstage and sing with the band, even though she'd never worked as a singer before. This was the beginning of Ike and Tina's musical partnership.

Outside of working as a background dancer, Ruby also gave a song to the duo. "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter" was written by her, recorded by Ike and Tina in 1970, and covered by multiple artists, such as Nina Simone and Joe Bonamassa.

Myth: Ike Turner was destroyed by the scandal

Despite detailed accounts of his abuse of Tina and a popular biopic putting an image to these stories, Ike Turner continued to work as a successful musician until his death.

As Ebony explained in their tribute piece following his passing, Ike was not simply one half of the Ike & Tina Revue — he was one of the most important figures in 20th-century music. At the age of 19, Ike's band recorded the song "Rocket 88," which became a hit and helped spark the genre of rock 'n' roll. Little Richard said his song "Good Golly, Miss Molly" was inspired by "Rocket 88." As a talent scout, Ike discovered Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, and Muddy Waters, and he also worked on the early recordings of B.B. King.

According to Biography, throughout the 1980s, Ike's drug use increased as Tina's star rose. The decade ended with allegations of abuse from his ex-wife and an 18-month prison sentence for drug use. He was in prison when the Ike & Tina Turner Revue was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. However, Ike's career rebounded post-prison. He recorded more albums and was nominated for two Grammys, winning one, during the 2000s. Ike Turner's personal demons ultimately led to his death in December 2007, when he succumbed to a cocaine overdose at 76 years old.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).