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