Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ike Turner, Legendary Rhythm & Blues and Rock Artist, Dies at 76

December 13, 2007

Ike Turner, Musician and Songwriter in Duo With Tina Turner, Dies at 76

New York Times

Ike Turner, the R&B musician, songwriter, bandleader, producer, talent scout and ex-husband of Tina Turner, died on Wednesday at his home in San Marcos, Calif., a San Diego suburb. He was 76.

His death was announced by Jeanette Bazzell Turner, who married Mr. Turner in 1995. She gave no cause of death, but said he had had emphysema.

Mr. Turner was best known for discovering Anna Mae Bullock, a teenage singer from Nutbush, Tenn., whom he renamed Tina Turner. The Ike and Tina Turner Revue made a string of hits in the 1960s before the Turners broke up in 1975.

Tina Turner described the relationship as abusive in her autobiography, “I, Tina,” which was adapted for the 1993 film “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” and made Mr. Turner’s name synonymous with domestic abuse.

“I got a temper,” he admitted in 1999 in his autobiography, “Takin’ Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner.” But he maintained that the film had “overstated” it.

Mr. Turner’s career extended back to the 1950s, when he played with pioneering Mississippi Delta bluesmen and helped shape early rock ’n’ roll as well as soul and rhythm-and-blues. “Rocket 88,” a song his band released in 1951 under the name Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, is regularly cited as a contender for the first rock-’n’-roll record for its beat, its distorted guitar and its honking saxophone.

Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

Ike Turner, whose full name is variously given as Izear Luster Turner Jr. and Ike Wister Turner, was born in Clarksdale, Miss., and was brought up there by his mother after his father, a minister, was beaten to death by a white mob.

As a child Ike spent time at the local radio station, WROX, a hub for Delta blues performances. According to Mr. Turner’s autobiography, the D.J.s taught him how to cue up and segue records, sometimes leaving him alone on the air when he was 8 years old.

He grew up around Delta musicians like the bluesman Robert Nighthawk Jr. and the pianist Pinetop Perkins, who gave him boogie-woogie lessons, and he learned to play guitar.

In high school he formed a group called the Kings of Rhythm. B. B. King helped that band get a steady weekend gig and recommended it to Sam Phillips at Sun Studios in Memphis. The band had been performing jukebox hits, but on the drive from Mississippi to Memphis, its members decided to write something of their own.

Their saxophonist, Jackie Brenston, suggested a song about the new Rocket 88 Oldsmobile. The piano-pounding intro and the first verse were by Mr. Turner, and the band collaborated on the rest; Mr. Brenston sang.

Sun was not yet its own record label, so Mr. Phillips sent the song to Chess Records. It went on to sell a half-million copies. “I was playing rhythm and blues,” Mr. Turner wrote. “That’s all I was playing.” His book says he was paid $20 for the record.

Mr. Turner became a session guitarist, known for his flamboyant, note-bending use of his guitar’s whammy bar. He was also a producer, songwriter and talent scout for Sun and for RPM/Modern Records. He worked with Mr. King, Bobby (Blue) Bland, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Ace, Otis Rush, Elmore James and many other blues and R&B musicians.

In 1954 he moved up the Mississippi River to East St. Louis, Ill., where his disciplined and dynamic band became a major draw at local clubs. There, in 1958, he heard Anna Mae Bullock, who joined the group and quickly became its focal point as Tina Turner.

The band was soon renamed the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. Her lead vocal on “A Fool in Love” started a streak of Top 10 R&B hits for the revue and also reached the pop Top 40. It was followed by “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” in 1961. The duo became stars on the grueling so-called chitlin’ circuit of African-American clubs.

Ike and Tina Turner had a wedding ceremony in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1962; Mr. Turner’s book said they were never actually married. They had a son, Ronald, who survives him, along with Jeanette Bazzell Turner and four other children: Mia, Twanna, Michael and Ike Jr.

The Rolling Stones chose the Ike and Tina Turner Revue as its opening act on a 1969 tour, introducing it to many rock fans. In 1971 the revue reached the pop Top 10 with its version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary,” with Ike’s deep vocal counterpoint and Tina’s memorable spoken-word interlude. “We never do anything nice and easy,” Ms. Turner says in the song. “We always do it nice and rough.” That song won a Grammy Award for best R&B performance by a group.

Ms. Turner’s account of the couple’s years together describes domestic violence, infidelity and drug use; his version does not deny that, although he wrote in his book, “Tina and me, we had our fights, but we ain’t had no more fights than anybody else.”

Tina walked out on him in 1975. Mr. Turner, already abusing cocaine and alcohol, spiraled further downward during the 1980s while Ms. Turner became a multimillion-selling star on her own. A recording studio he had built in Los Angeles burned down in 1982, and he was arrested repeatedly on drug charges. In 1989 he went to prison for various cocaine-possession offenses and was in jail when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But he had a windfall when the hip-hop duo Salt ’N’ Pepa used a sample of his song “I’m Blue” for their 1993 hit “Shoop,” which reached No. 4 on the Billboard pop chart.

Mr. Turner set out to reclaim his place in rock history. He wrote his autobiography with a British writer, Nigel Cawthorne. At the 2001 Chicago Blues Festival he performed with Pinetop Perkins in a set filmed for the Martin Scorsese PBS series “The Blues.” He renamed his band the Kings of Rhythm and re-recorded “Rocket 88” for the 2001 album “Here and Now.” He toured internationally, recording a live album and DVD, “The Resurrection,” at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2002. He visited high schools during Black History Month with an antidrug message. He recorded a song with the British band Gorillaz in 2005.

In the end, the music business embraced him: Mr. Turner’s 2006 album, “Risin’ With the Blues,” won the Grammy this year as best traditional blues album.

Ben Sisario contributed reporting.

Obituary: Ike Turner

Soul musician Ike Turner is probably best known for his musical partnership and stormy marriage with Tina Turner.

But his true legacy is his role as a pioneer of popular music.

In 1951, at the age of 19, he wrote what some music historians identify as the first ever rock 'n' roll record, Rocket 88.

He performed on it with his band, The Kings of Rhythm, although the record was credited to Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats.

Born in 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the session guitarist and pianist also played with many renowned musicians including BB King, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon.

He was at one point a singing coach to blues singer Janis Joplin, and a young guitarist named Jimi Hendrix was also a one-time member of The Kings of Rhythm.

Fateful meeting

Ike met the woman he would later marry when she was an 18-year-old singer named Anna Mae Bullock.

He quickly signed her up to front his group, coaching and re-styling her into the husky-voiced, stiletto-wearing Tina Turner.

They soared to fame with a string of hits, beginning with A Fool in Love.

Others followed, including I Idolize You, It's Gonna Work Out Fine, River Deep Mountain High, and Proud Mary - which won the couple a Grammy Award in 1972.

The pair's relationship was overshadowed by his drug-fuelled abusive treatment of her, which led Tina Turner to eventually seek a divorce in 1976.

The story of this period was told in the 1993 film What's Love Got To Do With It, based on Tina Turner's autobiography I, Tina, and starring Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett as the musical duo.

Ike maintained that much of the film's portrayal of him was inaccurate.

After the divorce, Ike spiralled into cocaine addiction, and was jailed in California in the mid 1980s for drug-related offences.

The duo were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, although Ike was in prison at the time.

However, as late as 2001, at the age of 70, he returned to the public eye - this time for his music, rather than his misdemeanours - with the release of the Grammy-nominated album Here and Now.

And in 2007, despite a battle with the lung condition emphysema, he won his second Grammy for a further album, Risin' with the Blues.

He died at the age of 76 at his home near San Diego, California on 12 December 2007.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/12/13 02:15:14 GMT

The musical legacy of Ike Turner

US Soul legend Ike Turner has died at the age of 76.

Throughout his career, the reputation of Tina Turner's former husband was peppered with accusations that he abused her during their 18-year marriage.

But to many music lovers, he was best known as the man who made the first rock 'n' roll record, Rocket 88, in 1951.


I think he was the cornerstone of modern day rock 'n' roll really. His loss is huge.

The reason for that is he was the guy who many considered made the first rock 'n' roll record with Rocket 88 - even though it wasn't actually credited to him.

The way in which he continued to develop the talent of others as well as his own was hugely significant.

He proceeded to influence British rockers from the mid-1960s onwards. Without Ike you wouldn't have had The Stones and Zeppelin. People like that wouldn't have had the source material on which they drew.

There are various people who want to write the story of Ike Turner, "the rock monster". I find that quite distasteful to be honest because, at the end of the day, the thing that I'm into with Ike Turner is his music.

People are very quick to judge. He came to the Mojo awards this year and we gave him an award for what he achieved musically.

Then I had a bunch of people from the broadsheets who tried to harangue me for giving the guy who had created so much an award for his music.

He was a very gracious man who was full of the joys of spring. I was shocked to find he had gone to be honest. He was in great form and he was enjoying himself.


In musical terms [he was] very important. Rocket 88 is one of the two records that can claim to be the first rock 'n' roll record, the other being The Fat Man by Fats Domino from 1949.

But Rock 88 does have a couple of elements which the Fat Man did not. The wailing saxophone and that distorted electric guitar.

It was number one in the rhythm and blues chart for five weeks, it's in the Grammy Hall of Fame and it was an indisputable claim to fame for Ike Turner, even though his lead singer and saxophonist, Jackie Brenston, got the label credit.

He was a link in the chain. Let's not say he invented rock 'n' roll, because no single person invented an ever-ongoing revolution of music, but nonetheless he is definitely there.

To critics he will be known as a great founder, unfortunately to the general public he will always be known as a brutal man.

When he was eight years old his minister father was killed by a mob of white people in Mississippi. You can understand he would be angry. Unfortunately, unlike many angry people who manage to keep their fury inside them, his directed it outward, as well as towards himself.

He did abuse Tina quite terribly and he abused himself, and it found him in prison later in his life. I do believe that stress and anguish does, in some cases, lead to creativity, there's no doubt about it.

His continued, putting himself on a treadmill, because you have to remember that his type of music and his type of presentation, which was the review, required constant touring.

He was always on the road and he drove himself as well as punishing others.


Although there had been black rock 'n' rollers who had made it big already, they really only played to a white audience.

Ike and Tina played to a mixed audience and he deliberately desegregated audiences in the southern states and he wouldn't play to any segregated audiences at all.

Because he had such a big band and entourage he desegregated a lot of the hotels because the hotel chains wouldn't want to miss out on the money they would make from him touring the southern states.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/12/13 13:09:54 GMT

US soul musician Ike Turner dies

US soul legend Ike Turner, the former husband of Tina Turner, has died at the age of 76.

He died at his home near San Diego, California. There was no immediate word on the cause of death.

He rose to fame in the 1960s, and is best remembered for his musical partnership and stormy marriage with Tina Turner, who said he abused her.

In later years he rehabilitated his image and won his second Grammy in February for Risin' with the Blues.

He shared his only other Grammy with Tina Turner in 1972 for their cover of Proud Mary.

"Ike Turner passed away this morning. He was at his home," said Scott Hanover, an official at the performer's management company.


Michele Schweitzer, a spokeswoman for his former wife, said: "Tina is aware that Ike passed away earlier today.

To critics he will be known as a great founder, unfortunately to the general public he will always be known as a brutal man
Paul Gambaccini , broadcaster

"She has not had any contact with him in 35 years. No further comment will be made."

Singer Chuck Berry was getting ready to perform on stage when he heard the news.

"What can you have but sorrow if you lose one of your colleagues, you know?" he said.

Turner, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is credited by many music historians with making the first rock 'n' roll record, Rocket 88, in 1951.

Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "In musical terms [he was] very important.

"Rocket 88 is one of the two records that can claim to be the first rock 'n' roll record, being the other being The Fat Man by Fats Domino from 1949," he said.

He said the track was an "indisputable claim to fame" for Turner.

"To critics he will be known as a great founder, unfortunately to the general public he will always be known as a brutal man," he added.


Turner was also known as a prolific session guitarist and piano player.

After marrying Tina Turner in 1959, the pair produced a string of hits, including A Fool In Love and It's Gonna Work Out Fine.

The song River Deep Mountain High, produced by Phil Spector, was one of their most successful singles.

But Turner will be forever remembered for his turbulent relationship with Tina Turner, the BBC's Peter Bowes in Los Angeles says.

In 2001, Turner denied his ex-wife's claims that he abused her and expressed frustration that he had been demonised in the media.

Your comments:

Whatever his troubles were you can't take away what he contributed to the music world. Bowie and Jagger revived Tina Turner's career but Ike created it. I'm not saying how he treated her in private was right, I'm saying he is a musical genius whose contributions will be missed. I saw him perform at the Long Beach blues festival a few years back and his set blew everyone away. A true talent. R.I.P
Jason Urbanczyk, Los Angeles

I'm a huge Tina fan but there is no denying the debt music fans owe him and the enormous contribution he made to fashioning Tina Turner.
Denis O'Connor, London

This is such a loss to the music scene. He will be sadly missed for his talent. Not so much for what he did to Tina Turner that is unforgivable in a man. We still should not judge him for thing in the passed. He will be missed.
G Russell, Ayr

Ike Turner was one of the greatest musicians, arrangers and producers of the modern era. He invented rock n roll and you can not take that away from the man. Yes, he was a bad man but so were many of our musical heroes. Even today people with tarnished reputations top the charts, such as 50 Cent and Eminem. R.I.P. Ike
Gordon, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyneside

I know it will sound cruel, even though Tina lives in another country then Ike did. However, now Tina Turner can rest. No more having the fear of him coming into a room. No more looking over her shoulder.
Mike, Washington, DC

Ike's incredible dedication passion for his music has always inspired me. Seeing him play alongside Rosco Gordon showed two of the great blues players with such varying personalities- Ike's powerful and non compromising style and Rosco's sweeping, gentle manner- two of the greats gone. Now they're gone
Tom Blant, Canterbury, uk

Whilst he was portrayed as a wife beater, tyrant and good musician he was still a human being. Death is never good. My heart goes out to Tina who must be feeling the pain and mixed emotions after what happened to her
Kevin Ross, Scotland, UK

What an incredible musician this world has lost. Being a Turner fan I feel the loss and my heart is filled with grief. Every marriage has got ups and downs and we should not look at whatever happened between him and Tina. He will be missed. R.I.P
Doreen Nawa, Lusaka, Zambia

I saw Ike performing live a few years ago and for the first time. He "blew me away". That guy oozed talent that the stars of today may not even grasp.
Lance Munslow, Preston, UK

My deepest sympathy to the family. Ike was a musical genius who was determined to be a success.
Karen, Balto. City

As a music student, having studied soul music, I have only just come across what Ike Turner contributed to the music world. Although his tumultuous relationship with Tina was an issue during their respective careers, there is no denying that his death will have a serious impact throughout the music industry. His work as a singer, guitarist, pianist and most importantly as a songwriter will be forever captured on record, and in the end, the recognition for his work is the most important thing at this time. R.I.P. Ike
Tom Beck, Brighton, UK

Ike and Tina may have had a stormy relationship, but they put on a hella good show. He'll be missed.
Shell Lavender, Snowflake, Az. U.S.A.

Ike Turner was a musician's musician. He understood that music comes from PEOPLE, not just a singular performer. He knew how to craft and combine sounds to create complex yet compelling songs. He could mix class and strut with funk and dirt. And humour. You never miss the water till the well runs dry, and I will miss Ike Turner.
Dano delaMano, Minneapolis

I had the pleasure of meeting Ike when he played at the Koh Samui Music Festival in 2005. As one of the organisers I had plenty of time to talk with him and found him to be one of the nicest most open and honest people I have met. He admitted all the bad things he had done but said they had been overstated and that there are always two sides to the story - and only one had been told. Nevertheless, during his time here in Koh Samui he was the most accommodating of any of the famous stars we had here, no airs and graces, no silly demands. His most famous phrase during his stay was "What can I do to make this work?" A great guy and great musician who will be sadly missed.
Harry Bonning, Koh Samui, Thailand

We mustn't forget that for all his vices, he is single handedly responsible for introducing the world to Tina Turner. As previous comments on here have suggested, there are always two sides to every story and a jaded past should never overshadow his massive contributions to the music industry. Rest in Peace Ike
Richard, York, UK

I knew Ike Turner in recent years, long after his stormy relationship with Tina and his excessive living had passed. Ike was a great musical talent and in his earlier years a talent scout, producer and arranger for Chess Records. At a low point, he signed a contract allowing someone to make a film about his relationship with Tina without the right to reply or refute what was said. It made a great film. Sadly that is how people will remember him.
Fran Leslie, London UK

I have no doubt in my mind that Ghanaians of what I would call 'menopausal age'will always remember the wonderful performance Ike and Tina Turner put up in Ghana in the late 1960s. It is a pity that the two had a such a stormy relationship and ended up going their separate ways. May Ike rest in perfect peace.
Tete Cobblah, Luanda, Angola

Ike and Tina came through my home town frequently for years to perform. I remember that their posters would be plastered all up and down the avenue. They would pack people into the local theatre to see their show. It is unfortunate that their personal relationship overshadowed the truly great musician that he was. May he rest in peace. And may we remember him for his contribution to soul music!
Ms Whyte, Columbus, Ohio USA

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/12/13 12:23:43 GMT

1 comment:


Ike and Tina were ahead of thier time..i believe that had she stayed..he may have killed her. Ike was in serious need of self love and he told a lie by claiming they were never married..(check out the cost to him in $$ for not being married?),He was afraid that someone would take his woman...but perhaps he forced her away with his admitted abuses.
i will never put this man on a pedestle i am sad that it just took so long for him to get out of the way. That is certainly a problem in our community..not holding up those worthy ..but rather trying to build a legend who has already died.
Noone even knew of any of his music unless his name actually came up.i say let the dead bury the dead..Tina,is alive because she got away!!