Simply The Best: 4 Essential Tina Turner Albums
Tina Turner died at the age of 83, but the powerfully resilient voice of the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” lives on.
Rock and soul icon Tina Turner died on May 24, 2023, at the age of 83. Known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Turner’s powerful, raspy voice, sensual delivery, and captivating live performances propelled her career which spanned nearly five decades.
Born in Nutbush, Tennessee in 1939 as Anna Mae Bullock, Turner debuted in the early 1960s as the lead singer of a duo with her then-husband Ike Turner. The pair recorded several hits, including “A Fool in Love,” and “Nutbush City Limits,” and toured extensively as the Ike & Tina Turner Revue until 1976 when the couple divorced and disbanded.
Turner left the marriage with just 36 cents and financial responsibility for the duo’s canceled concerts. She released two solo albums, Rough in 1978 and Love Explosion in 1979, but was dropped from her record label after both records failed to chart. When promoters sued Turner to recoup their losses from canceled Revue performances, she played gigs at clubs and hotels to pay off her debts.
Against the odds, Turner staged a career comeback with the release of her fifth studio album, Private Dancer, in 1984. She collected accolades in the years that followed, winning seven Grammy Awards as a solo artist and receiving the Kennedy Center Honors. She became one of the best-selling recording artists of all time and was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — as a duo in 1991 and as a solo performer in 2021.
Turner’s legacy as one of music’s most enduring and resilient voices lives on. Whether you’re revisiting her records or listening for the first time, these essential albums showcase the singer’s raw emotion and talent in all its glory.
Essential Tina Turner Albums
Workin’ Together (1970)
By 1970, Ike and Tina Turner had begun to experience mainstream success. After a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, a summer of festival gigs, and a string of shows throughout Asia, the duo released their thirteenth studio album, Workin’ Together. The record, which features a mix of original tracks and classic rock covers, was the couple’s most commercially successful.
Turner’s vocal skill shines on the biting “Funkier Than A Mosquita’s Tweeter” (written by her sister Alline Bullock), as well as the duo’s funk rock rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary.” The latter earned Turner the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group.
Acid Queen (1975)
Released the summer before she left the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, Turner took cues from British rock and roll to create her second solo album Acid Queen. Inspired by her role as The Acid Queen in director Ken Russell’s film adaptation of The Who’s rock opera Tommy, Turner covered songs by The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Led Zeppelin, as well as sang original material that blended rock, funk, and soul styles. Critics praised her vocals, finding her gruff and gritty delivery perfectly suited to the rock classics.
Private Dancer (1984)
After the disappointing commercial performance of her third and fourth albums led to a six-year recording hiatus, Turner staged a comeback with Capitol Records. The label gave her just two weeks to record her fifth studio album, Private Dancer. The album features slick pop rock production from English musicians Rupert Hine, Martyn Ware, and Terry Britten, and strong vocal performances — like the Grammy-winning “What’s Love Got to Do with It” — that cemented her reputation as a sonic force.
Private Dancer became Turner’s most acclaimed and most commercially successful record. The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, and was selected by the U.S. Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for its significance.
Break Every Rule (1986)
As the follow-up to Turner’s wildly successful fifth album, Break Every Rule saw the singer collaborate with the team that helped create Private Dancer for a second time. She had another platinum-selling hit on her hands that was propelled by several chart-toppers — eight of the record’s 11 songs charted as singles in the U.S. or Europe. Break Every Rule proved that Private Dancer wasn’t a fluke and quickly became another legendary entry in the Tina Turner catalog.
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