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September 2, 2018

Rare Photographs of Tina Turner on Stage Taken by Gjon Mili in 1970

Here’s a handful of previously unpublished photos taken by Gjon Mili for LIFE magazine in 1970. The exact date of the shoot? Unknown. The location? Unknown. The show’s set list? Unknown.

But one thing these pictures do manage to impart is confirmation that, when Tina Turner took the stage -- no matter where that stage was, and no matter how large or how small the crowd might be -- there was no simply no restraining her soulfulness, or her sex appeal.

Born Anna Mae Bullock, Turner grew up in rural Tennessee, the daughter of a church-deacon father and a part-Native American mom. Humble beginnings, indeed, for a women whose life and long career have seen their share of very low lows (a two-decade marriage to Ike Turner marked -- she maintains, and he denies -- by emotional and physical abuse) and tremendous highs: roughly 100 million records sold; multiple Grammys; Kennedy Center honors; iconic work on the big screen, e.g., the Acid Queen in Tommy; legions of fans; induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and on and on.

(Photos: Gjon Mili—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)



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