Ike Turner: Wikis


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Ike Turner

Ike Turner at the Long Beach Blues Festival, 1997
Background information
Birth name Ike Wister Turner
Born November 5, 1931(1931-11-05)
Clarksdale, Mississippi, USA
Died December 12, 2007 (aged 76)
San Marcos, California, USA
Genres R&B, funk, soul-blues, Memphis blues, rock and roll
Occupations musician
Instruments Guitar, piano, vocals
Years active 1951-2007
Associated acts Tina Turner, The Ikettes, The Kings of Rhythm

Ike Wister Turner (November 5, 1931[1][2] – December 12, 2007) was an American musician, bandleader, talent scout, and record producer. Considered to be one of the fathers of rock and roll, his first recording, "Rocket 88" by "Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats," in 1951, is considered by some to be the "first rock and roll song" ever. However, he is best known for his work with his ex-wife Tina Turner as one half of the Ike & Tina Turner revue. Spanning a career that lasted half a century, Ike's repertoire included blues, soul, rock, and funk. Alongside his former wife, he was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and in 2001 was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Turner won two Grammy Awards.



Turner was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi on November 5, 1931, to Beatrice Cushenberry (1909-1991), a seamstress, and Izear Luster Turner (1908-1963), a Baptist minister. Ike was the younger of two siblings, he had an elder sister, Lee Ethel[3]. Ike got his first taste of pleasing an audience at the age of eight working at the local Clarksdale radio station, WROX, located in the Alcazar Hotel in downtown Clarksdale. A man in charge of the station put Turner to work as he watched the record turntables. Said Turner:

"Both the band's saxophonist and the lead vocalist of the song, and on the original Chess release was listed as the song's writer. "Rocket 88" was produced at Sun Studio in Memphis by Sam Phillips. The record was one of the first examples of guitar distortion, which happened by accident when one of the amplifiers was dropped before the recording. The amplifier was sitting on top of a car which was occupied by a band member; when the band member got out and closed the door, the amplifier slid off and the speaker was punctured. The amplifier was brought inside and was fixed with a piece of paper and tape, which ended up creating the distortion. The amplifier stands in Sun Records in Memphis Tennessee today."

Ike and the Kings of Rhythm settled into local fame in St. Louis where the band locally recorded for a St. Louis label and even appeared on local television shows. Throughout this early period, Turner became a recording scout and A&R man for independent record companies including Sun Records - where "Rocket 88" was recorded, helping the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Elmore James and Otis Rush get signed. He also became a sideman playing guitar for these blues acts and more. Musically, Turner was known for his hard-hitting guitar style. He was known to put the whammy bar of his Fender Stratocaster to frequent use.

Tina Turner

Turner's music career changed drastically after meeting a teenage singer from Nutbush, Tennessee, named Anna Mae Bullock, who demandingly grabbed a microphone during a singing session at one of St. Louis' nightspots and sang a B. B. King song in her now-trademark throated raspy vocals. Bullock's performance impressed Ike so much he allowed her to join his band as a background singer. However within a year, Ike's plans for Bullock changed after she recorded what he originally stated was a demo for a song that was to be sung by a male vocalist. After hearing her vocals, he let it be released under an independent label and in the process changed the name of the singer from Anna Mae Bullock to Tina Turner - naming her after Sheena - and the name of the band to the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. "A Fool in Love" became a national hit in early 1960, reaching the top three in the R&B charts and becoming a top thirty pop hit in the process. From then until 1976, Ike and Tina Turner became one of the most explosive duos in rock and soul music. During this time Ike often wore conservative suits and had a large afro. The creation of the revue also led to the soul revues of the 1960s. Inspired by Ray Charles, Turner employed a trio of background singers, The Ikettes, who often had their moves choreographed by Ike and Tina. The Turners eventually scored several hit singles including Rose Marie McCoy's "It's Gonna Work Out Fine", the Phil Spector produced "River Deep - Mountain High", scorching covers of Sly & the Family Stone's "I Want To Take You Higher", Creedence Clear Water Revival's "Proud Mary", and the Tina Turner penned "Nutbush City Limits" over thirteen years.

The success the duo contributed eventually led to the creation of the Los Angeles-based Bolic Sounds studio, founded by Ike. However, after Tina abruptly left Ike after a violent altercation in 1976, Ike lost ground in the national music market. As a solo artist, he struggled to find success without Tina, and after releasing two failed solo albums, found himself facing drug and weapons charges, of which he was convicted in 1989. He was released from prison in 1993. Ike was met at the prison gate by Jeanette Bazzell who later became his wife. With Jeanette's support, Ike enjoyed a long period of sobriety. Jeanette was instrumental in helping Ike rebuild his career. She replaced Tina as Ike's lead singer and eventually they toured the world playing many blues festivals. After the intense negative publicity generated against him as a wife abuser by Tina's movie "What's Love Got to Do with It", Ike's acceptance in the USA as a legendary blues artist and composer was limited, though better in other countries. During this time he recorded two solo albums in his own studio, and he wrote his autobiography called Taking Back My Name.

In 2001, Ike released the Grammy-nominated Here & Now album. Three years later, he was awarded with a Heroes Award from the Memphis charter of NARAS. In 2005, he appeared on the Gorillaz' album, Demon Days, playing piano on the track, "Every Planet We Reach Is Dead". In 2007, Ike won his first solo Grammy in the Best Traditional Blues Album category for the album, Risin' With the Blues which was Mixed at Future Sound Studios by Rene Van Verseveld. Before his death, a collaboration between Turner and the rock band, The Black Keys, by Gorillaz' producer Danger Mouse was expected in 2008.

Personal life

Turner was married at least five times. He sometimes claimed to have been married thirteen times. Turner's first known marriage was to Lorraine Taylor, who had two sons with Ike. The facts surrounding his second known marriage, to Tina Turner (Anna Mae Bullock), have been hotly debated, along with the accusations of abuse. Their divorce was finalized in 1978. Ike married former Ikette Ann Thomas in the early 1980's. In 1995, he married Jeanette Bazzell. Ike and Jeanette divorced in 2001 but remained friends. Their relationship lasted longer than the Ike and Tina union. Ike still trusted Jeanette and relied on her. In 2006, he married long time music collaborator Audrey Madison. Ike has six known children: sons Ike Jr. and Michael (with Lorraine Taylor) and Ronald (with Tina Turner), and daughter Mia (with Ann Thomas). Mia Turner was conceived and born during Ike's marriage to Tina in the late 1960's. [4] Tina's son Craig (fathered by legendary saxophonist Raymond Hill) carries the Turner name. Ike also has two other daughters: Linda Trippeter, who is the eldest; and Twanna Turner Melby, who took him in after he was released from prison.

In the mid-1980s, Turner was convicted of drug-related charges and sentenced to several years in a California state prison. Turner was still in prison pleading parole when he and Tina were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, which Phil Spector accepted on their behalf (Tina was working on an album at the time). Ike stated in past interviews that the award was broken in half when he received it.

In 2001, Turner's autobiography, Takin' Back My Name,[5] was published. In Tina Turner's 1986 autobiography, I, Tina, later filmed as What's Love Got to Do with It? starring Laurence Fishburne as Ike and Angela Bassett as Tina, Tina accused Ike of violent spousal abuse, which Ike repeatedly denied for many years. However, in his 2001 autobiography Ike admitted, "Sure, I've slapped Tina... There have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I have never beat her."

Ike converted to Judaism in 1994.[citation needed] During his interview with NPR's Terry Gross on Fresh Air, Ike claimed that he and Tina Turner were never married, and that she took his name in order to discourage a former lover from returning to her.[6] On October 17, 2007, in a telephone interview conducted by radio personality Howard Stern, Ike reiterated his claim that he and Tina Turner were never actually married.


Turner died on December 12, 2007, at 76 years of age, at his home in San Marcos, California, near San Diego[7][8]. He was found by his ex-wife Ann Thomas. Little Richard was asked by the family to speak at the funeral. On January 16, 2008 it was reported by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office that Turner had died from a cocaine overdose. "The cause of death for Ike Turner is cocaine toxicity with other significant conditions, such as hypertensive cardiovascular disease and pulmonary emphysema," Supervising Medical Examiner Investigator Paul Parker told CNN.[9]


  • 1969: Ike Turner & the Kings of Rhythm: A Black Man's Soul
  • 1972: Ike Turner & the Family Vibes: Strange Fruit
  • 1994: I'm Blue (Gong Gong Song REMAKE (Ike Turner & Billy Rogers CD)
  • 2001: Here and Now
  • 2007: Rising with the Blues

Ike & Tina Turner


  1. ^ Santelli, Robert (1993). The Big Book of Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Penguin. pp. 410. ISBN 0-140-15939-8. 
  2. ^ Christian, Margena A. (October 2008). "The Last Days of Ike Turner". Ebony (Johnson Publishing Company) 63 (12): 97. ISSN 0012-9011. 
  3. ^ EBONY magazine, pg. 97, "The Last Days of Ike Turner" by Margena A. Christian
  4. ^ New York Times "Ike Turner Is Paroled". The New York Times. 1991-09-05. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEFDB153EF936A3575AC0A967958260 New York Times. 
  5. ^ ISBN 1-85227-850-1
  6. ^ Fresh Air from WHYY : NPR
  7. ^ McDonald, Ray (13 December 2007). "Rock and Roll Legend Ike Turner Dies". VOA News (Voice of America). http://voanews.com/english/archive/2007-12/2007-12-13-voa18.cfm. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  8. ^ Ken Barnes (2007-12-12). "Ike Turner: A tarnished rock legend". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2007-12-12-ike-turner-obit_N.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  9. ^ "Medical examiner says Ike Turner died of cocaine overdose.". CNN.com. 2008-01-17. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/01/16/iketurner.cocaine/?iref=mpstoryview. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 

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