Ike Turner 1931-2007

13 Dec


Another musical icon is gone.  News came last night that Ike Turner, egnimatic ex-husband of Tina, died at his home in California yesterday.  Cause of death has not been released, but Ike Turner suffered from emphyshema for years.

Much maligned for his tempetuous relationship with the beloved Tina Turner, much of Ike’s contribution to modern day Rock & Roll as been ignored.  He was a pioneer of the electric guitar and one of the first to introduce distortion as a technique.

Hailing from the infamous Blues Capitol of the World, Clarksdale, MS, Ike began his career with the infamous Rocket 88 — considered by many to be the first Rock & Roll song.  While it was formally credited to Jackie Brenston on vocals, the rockin’ music was all Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm.


Of course, Ike’s real fame came when he groomed and made his wife, Tina, the lead singer of his very talented band.  Her long legs, sultry voice and powerful performances showcased his music in perfect sync.

At the height of their fame, Ike & Tina released the world renowned Proud Mary.  It was the beginning of the end.

Ike admitted to extended drug use and making a myriad of mistakes in his life, but always vehemently denied abusing Tina Turner, as portrayed in her autobiographical movie, What’s Love Got To Do With It?  Perhaps it wasn’t as bad as Tina said but more than Ike wanted to admit, but regardless he was “shunned” by the business for many years.

However, in the last few years he did receive some critical acclaim, most recently winning a Grammy this year for Best Traditional Blues Album, entitled Risin’ With The Blues.

Like many influential artists, his offstage demons can’t overshadow the profound contribution his talent and music had on defining the dominating music genre of the last millenium.  So, today we give a nod and a thumbs up to Ike Turner, musician extraordinairre.

Footnote:  What is it about the “ides of December”?  It seems that so many great Rock and Soul influences pass away in early to mid-December:

Sam Cooke  12/11/64

Otis Redding 12/10/67

The Barkays  12/10/67

John Lennon  12/8/80

Marty Robbins  12/8/82

Ian Stewart (Rolling Stones)  12/12/85

Roy Orbison  12/6/88

Frank Zappa  12/4/93



Posted by on December 13, 2007 in blues, music legends, rock, Soul


5 responses to “Ike Turner 1931-2007

  1. Colette

    December 13, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks so much for the Ike tribute, MM!

    Yes Ike was one nasty mutha,. who should not be forgiven for abusing Tina for years. He also was, like it or not, one of the true pioneers of R & B — the gritty, nasty, down-home variety — and he deserves the respect you’ve showed him with this sequence.

    Someone years ago gave me a CD compilation of early Ike & Tina, and it was a revelation. Those who know them only from “Proud Mary” and later hits are missing some truly great stuff, as you are showing here.

    Though Tina was an increasingly brilliant entertainer in her solo years, I love that unaffected, earthy early period, without all the bells and whistles and glam and histrionics. And I adore this duet between her and marvelous Marvin, it’s one for the ages:

  2. shrewspeaks

    December 13, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I have been struggling to find the right words that would honestly and fairly reflect my feelings on Ike Turner’s contributions to this world. I find it ironic how he promoted such a liberated sound from Tina on stage yet was far from a liberated view off stage. Or perhaps he just knew what gold sounded like…raw, full of emotion, determined; the gritty side of soul to scary to have been uttered prior to Ike finding Tina.

  3. sondan

    December 14, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    Nice tribute to brother Ike. But you left one more December passing off of the list … The Godfather of Soul, Soul Brother Number 1, James Brown, passed last year at Christmas! RIP Godfather.

  4. Pingback: Lost & Sound
  5. he was a monster

    April 15, 2010 at 12:31 am

    He doesn’t deserve any respect after what he did to Tina. He was an abusive person. And who needs icons like that. His jail time didn’t help him change his ways. He died lonely and just the way he deserve, with his poison.


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