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15 Tina Turner Moments That Prove She's The Queen Of Rock 'N' Roll

Spotlighting an incredible life and career.

Thirty years after being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of Ike and Tina Turner, Tina Turner finally got her well-deserved nomination this year as a solo act.

Black and white photo of Tina Turner performing in 1985
John Rogers / Getty Images

HBO's new documentary Tina includes the apparent announcement that the legendary singer has decided to stop appearing in public and talking about her life. We decided to take a look back at some top moments in the singer's career, from her early successes to the kind of achievements in her forties and fifties that many young singers dream of.

1. Steps in to sing "A Fool in Love" when the intended singer didn't show up:

Tina Turner performing
Gie Knaeps / Getty Images

Ike Turner wrote "A Fool in Love" in 1960 for Art Lassiter, who failed to show up to the studio session. Since he'd already paid for the session, Ike let Tina (who was supposed to sing backing vocals) perform the song. "A Fool in Love" was the first song Anna Mae Bullock recorded as "Tina Turner," and it shot straight to No. 2 on the Hot R&B Sides chart as her first hit single.

2. Records Grammy Hall of Famer "River Deep — Mountain High":

Ike and Tina Turner with Phil Spector
Gab Archive / Redferns

In 1966, Phil Spector produced the spectacular "River Deep — Mountain High," which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Phil paid Ike $20,000 to stay away from the record, although he is credited, so that Tina could sing more naturally rather than in the screaming style Ike preferred. While the single flopped in the US, it topped the UK charts and put the Turners on tour with the Rolling Stones.

3. Finally becomes a household name with "Proud Mary":

Tina Turner performing in 1973
Picture Alliance / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Creedence Clearwater Revival front man John Fogerty wrote the song that launched Tina to superstardom and earned Tina — and Ike — their first Grammy win; most people associate the lyrics with her raspy, reaching voice. Ike and Tina's version charted high on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971, a mere two years after the original came out.

4. Receives first solo Grammy nomination:

Tina Turner performing onstage with band
Lynn Goldsmith / Getty Images

Tina Turns the Country On!, her debut solo album, was released in 1974 on the United Artists label in the US. The album was recorded while she was still a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. The album features a roster of covers, and while it was not a commercial success, it earned Tina her first solo Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

5. Stars in rock opera Tommy:

Tina Turner holds up a syringe as "Acid Queen" in Tommy
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Tina made her acting debut playing the Acid Queen, a drug-addicted prostitute, in the 1975 film version of rock opera Tommy. Her performance was critically acclaimed, and her ensuing album was also named Acid Queen, after her opera role and song.

6. Leaves Ike's ass in 1976:

Ike and Tina Turner in 1975
CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images

Ike's escalating domestic abuse and drug problems drove Tina to finally leave the controlling relationship in 1976, after Ike reportedly beat her up over her refusal of chocolate candy. The couple eventually divorced in 1978, with Tina walking away with nothing but her stage name after heated legal battles. (She didn't go to Ike's funeral.) As the '80s rolled on, Tina's albums flopped and her career seemed to stall.

7. She's back on the charts thanks to the Brits:

Tina Turner performing with ripped dress and signature big hair in 1983
Paul Natkin / Getty Images

Tina's comeback was sparked by a unique collaboration with Heaven 17 members Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware for their British Electronic Foundation project. Their 1982 collaboration produced "Ball of Confusion," which snagged her a deal with Capitol. Her 1983 cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" was also produced and backed by Heaven 17 and charted high with European, UK, and US audiences.

8. Don't call it a comeback — Tina takes over the game at 44:

Tina Turner performing on "Private Dancer" tour
Icon And Image / Getty Images

Following the astounding success of "Let's Stay Together," Capitol gave her two weeks to record studio album Private Dancer, which was released in 1984. Private Dancer was her most commercially successful album: It was certified five times platinum in the US and sold 10 million copies internationally.

9. "What's Love Got to Do With It" — Tina has a No. 1 Billboard hit:

Tina Turner in red dress looking fierce
Steve Rapport / Getty Images

"What's Love Got to Do With It" was Tina's first and only No. 1 Billboard hit. Follow-up singles "Better Be Good to Me" and "I Can't Stand the Rain," all off Private Dancer, were also commercial successes. At 44 years old, Tina was reaching the heights of her career. The album also won her three Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for "What's Love Got to Do With It."

10. Turns down The Color Purple in 1985:

Tina Turner posing in red dress 1985
Steve Rapport / Getty Images

Tina was a natural fit for the role of blues singer Shug Avery in the film adaptation of Alice Walker's The Color Purple, but she turned down the role, even though she was casting director Reuben Cannon's first choice.

11. The lady's a thespian — kills it in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome:

Tina Turner and Mel Gibson in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images

Tina took her first acting role in a decade opposite Mel Gibson in 1985's postapocalyptic Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, to much acclaim. The film grossed over $36 million in the US alone, snagged her an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress, and spawned two hits for Tina, "One of the Living" and "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)," with the former winning her a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

12. Continues to slay with "Break Every Rule":

Tina Turner performing with microphone
Paul Natkin / Getty Images

1986's "Break Every Rule" hit No. 1 in four countries and sold more than 5 million copies globally in the first year, with a million copies sold in the US and Germany alone. The album featured hits "Two People," "Typical Male," and Grammy winner "Back Where You Started." That same year, her love life took off as she met now-husband Erwin Bach, who was sent by EMI to pick her up at the airport in Germany.

13. Gets inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991:

Tina Turner performs at Shoreline Ampitheater
Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images

Tina's career continued to skyrocket, with sold-out tours in Europe, the US, and the UK, establishing her legacy as an icon. Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, although neither of them attended — Tina declined the invite and Ike was incarcerated, so longtime friend Phil Spector accepted the award for them. Tina has been nominated to be inducted as a solo performer this year; the inductees will be announced in May.

14. The semi-autobiographical film What's Love Got to Do With It is a massive hit:

Angela Bassett holding Golden Globe
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Based on Tina's autobiography, I, Tina, the 1993 film What's Love Got to Do With It detailed her abusive marriage to Ike, rocky rise to fame, and ultimate triumph. The film starred Laurence Fishburne as Ike and Angela Bassett as Tina, with Angela winning a Golden Globe for Best Actress. You know you made it when VH1 blasts your life story on the regs.

15. Retires at the top of her game:

Tina Turner performing in the Netherlands in 2009 on final tour
Rob Verhorst / Redferns

In 2000, during her tremendous Twenty Four Seven tour, Tina announced at a concert in Zurich that the tour would be her last. However, she couldn't shake the stage: Tina performed alongside Beyoncé at the 2008 Grammys and went on her Tina! 50th Anniversary Tour before retiring, once again, from performing in 2009.

What are your favorite Tina Turner moments? Let us know in the comments!