Tina Turner is one of the most storied artists alive. For context, her career started up in the late 1950s and continued until the late 2000s, so it should come as no surprise to learn that she can claim a number of notable firsts. To name a couple of examples, Turner is both the first woman and the first black artist to appear on Rolling Stone’s cover. On top of that, Turner has managed to sell more than 100 million records worldwide, which are more than enough to make her one of the best-selling artists ever.
10. Love Explosion
Love Explosion is Turner’s fourth studio album as a solo artist. It received little interest, with the result that she lost her recording contract. As such, Turner wouldn’t make a successful comeback until the 1980s.
9. Tina Turns the Country On!
Tina Turns the Country On! is Turner’s debut studio album as a solo artist. However, it is important to note that she wasn’t what anyone would consider an inexperienced artist by the time that it came out in 1974. After all, Turner had already managed to find mainstream success as a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, with her debut album as a solo artist being meant to introduce her to a wider audience. Its sales weren’t particularly good, but a Grammy nomination makes it clear that there were those who had noticed her.
Rough is notable in that it was Turner’s first studio album as a solo artist after her divorce from Ike Turner. Music-wise, it consisted of blues and disco cover songs for the most part, but it showed clear signs that she was taking an interest in rock and roll. In any case, while Rough received some critical praise, its commercial performance was lackluster.
7. Break Every Rule
Break Every Rule had a rough role to fill. This is because it was Turner’s first studio album following the very successful Private Dancer, meaning that there were high expectations. Still, Break Every Rule did well enough, as shown by how it came close to securing her a second number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
6. Acid Queen
Acid Queen is named thus because Turner played a character by the same name on the film version of Tommy, which was based on The Who’s rock opera of the same name. Much of its content consisted of rock covers. Meanwhile, the rest was penned by Ike Turner, with the most notable example being Turner’s duet with her then husband as well as musical partner. Acid Queen was her last studio album as a solo artist before the two went their separate ways.
5. What’s Love Got to Do With It
This album is a bit unusual in that it is Turner’s eighth studio album, which also counted as the soundtrack album for her 1993 biopic of the same name. As such, it featured re-recordings of a number of songs from when Ike & Tina Turner were still a thing plus more besides. Meanwhile, the biopic was a success in both a critical and a commercial sense. Unfortunately, Turner is known to have been less than impressed by it, both because of its inaccuracies and because it depicted her as a victim.
4. Twenty Four Seven
Twenty Four Seven would be Turner’s last studio album before she retired from recording. As such, it is no exaggeration to say that it possesses the full weight of her expertise and experience behind it, which is considerable considering her multi-decade career. Twenty Four Seven isn’t quite capable of matching the best of Turner’s best. However, it isn’t that far from it.
3. Foreign Affair
Turner’s last studio album with Capitol Records was Foreign Affair in 1989. It wasn’t particularly successful in the United States. However, Foreign Affair met with a much more positive reception in Europe, as shown by how it peaked at the number one position in countries that included but were not limited to Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In particular, “The Best” was very well-received, so much so that it went on to become one of Turner’s most iconic songs.
2. Wildest Dreams
Wildest Dreams was another studio album that proved to be more popular in Europe than in the United States. In total, it managed to sell more than two million copies in the region versus approximately 475,000 copies in the United States. For context, this means that the studio album sold more copies in just the United Kingdom than in the United States. Regardless, Wildest Dreams still did quite well on the whole, thus making it one to remember. Some people might be familiar with it through the James Bond movies. After all, Turner was the one who did the song “GoldenEye,” which was the theme for the James Bond movie of the same name. This was the album that included said song.
1. Private Dancer
As mentioned earlier, Turner struggled for quite some time as a solo artist, so much so that she winded up losing her recording contract at one point. Eventually, the A&R man John Carter at Capitol Records took a gamble on her and signed her in spite of significant opposition from within the record label, thus making it possible for her to record Private Dancer. The new studio album was quite different from its predecessors. Rather than R&B, it leaned much further towards rock and pop while still retaining clear R&B and jazz influences. Regardless, the important point is that Private Dancer became a huge success, so much so that it received multi-platinum certification in eight countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In other words, Private Dancer proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that Turner was a name to be reckoned with.