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Lest We Forget

Posted on December 12, 2007

Ike Turner

Singer/Songwriter, Ex-Husband of Tina Turner

1941-2007

Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Ike Turner, who rose to fame in the 1950s and became a star performing with his ex-wife Tina Turner, died Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at age 76. It was Ike Turner’s band “The Rhythm Kings” that recorded the song “Rocket 88” (a song many music historians site as one of the first “Rock ‘n’ Roll” songs of the era) in 1951. Chess Records released the song under the band’s saxophone player “Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats”. As a guitarist and pianist, Turner played with the likes of B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon in the 1950s. He married Annie Mae Bullock in 1958 and she changed her name to Tina. In 1959 the pair recorded “A Fool In Love” which made it to #2 on the R&B charts. Other hits followed with songs like “I Idolize You,” “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine,” “Poor Fool,” and “Tra La La La La”. In 1966 Ike and Tina were approached by music producer Phil Spector who was looking for a chance to “comeback” to the charts. He offered to produce a song featuring Tina. The song would credit “Ike and Tina Turner” BUT Ike could not set foot in the studio or meddle with the session in any way. The result was “River Deep, Mountain High”, a song that flopped in the states but was a hit over seas. In the 1970s Tina’s career was taking off and Ike’s was fading. The pair won a Grammy in 1972 for “Proud Mary.” Their last major hit together was “Nutbush City Limits” in 1972. Tina left Ike in 1975, in the middle of a tour, accusing him of abuse. They divorced in 1976. Turner’s cocaine addiction drained most of his finances, and his recording studio burned to the ground in 1982. He ran afoul of the law as well, and was arrested numerous times on mostly drug-related offenses. When he and Tina were jointly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, he was unable to attend the ceremony because he was serving prison time. Recently Ike Turner seemed to be turning his life around with a book, “Takin’ Back My Name”, in 1999 and a new a new album in 2001. In 2006 he released “Risin’ With The Blues” and was awarded the record industry’s top honor.

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