Despite his controversial personal life, Ike is considered an influential Rock N’ Roll pioneer
Ike Turner was born 87 years ago today in 1931
Ike Turner was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on November 5, 1931. An early pioneer of 1950’s Rock N’ Roll, he is most popularly known for his work in the 1960’s and 1970’s with his then-wife Tina Turner in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Turner began playing piano and guitar when he was eight, forming his group, the Kings of Rhythm, as a teenager He employed the group as his backing band for the rest of his life. His first recording, “Rocket 88”, credited to “Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats”, in 1951 is considered a contender for “first rock and roll song”. Relocating to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1954, he built the Kings into one of the most renowned acts on the local club circuit.There he met singer Anna Mae Bullock, whom he renamed Tina Turner, forming the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, which over the course of the sixties became a soul/rock crossover success. Stories by Tina Turner of domestic violence by Ike, published in her autobiography “I, Tina” and included in its film adaptation “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, coupled with his cocaine addiction, impacted Ike Turner’s career in the 1980’s and 1990’s, in contrast to Tina’s solo career just got bigger.
Addicted to cocaine and crack for at least 15 years, Turner was convicted of drug offenses, serving seventeen months in prison between July 1989 and 1991. He spent the rest of the 1990’s free of his addiction but relapsed in 2004. Near the end of his life, he returned to live performance as a front man and, returning to his blues roots, produced two albums that were critically well received and award-winning. Turner has frequently been referred to as a “great innovator” of rock and roll by contemporaries such as Little Richard and Johnny Otis. Ike Turner died on December 12, 2007, at the age of 76, at his home in San Marcos, California, near San Diego. Among those who spoke at the funeral were Little Richard, Solomon Burke and Phil Spector. The Kings of Rhythm played versions of “Rocket 88” and “Proud Mary”. Turner was cremated after the funeral service.With his former wife, Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and in 2001 was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
Watch Ike and Tina Turner performing “Proud Mary” in 1971
Listen to some of The Best Of Ike & Tina on Spotify
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