Dec 12, 2007

Rock pioneer Ike Turner has passed away at the age of 76 in San Diego, Ca.

Ike was most famous for his work with ex-wife Tina Turner. It was through Tina's autobiography and subsequent movie of her life that a very disturbing side of Ike was revealed to the masses.

Turner, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is credited by many rock historians with making the first rock 'n' roll record, "Rocket 88," in 1951. Produced by the legendary Sam Phillips, it was groundbreaking for its use of distorted electric guitar.

But as would be the case for most of his career, Turner, a prolific session guitarist and piano player, was not the star on the record -- it was recorded with Turner's band but credited to singer Jackie Brenston.

And it would be another singer -- a young woman named Anna Mae Bullock -- who would bring Turner his greatest fame, and infamy.

Turner met the 18-year-old Bullock, whom he would later marry, in 1959 and quickly made the husky-voiced woman the lead singer of his group, refashioning her into the sexy Tina Turner. Her stage persona was highlighted by short skirts and stiletto heels that made her legs her most visible asset. But despite the glamorous image, she still sang with the grit and fervor of a rock singer with a twist of soul.

The pair would have two sons. They also produced a string of hits. The first, "A Fool In Love," was a top R&B song in 1959, and others followed, including "I Idolize You" and "It's Gonna Work Out Fine."

But over the years they're genre-defying sound would make them favorites on the rock 'n' roll scene, as they opened for acts like the Rolling Stones.

The densely layered hit "River Deep, Mountain High" was one of producer Phil Spector's proudest creations. A rousing version of "Proud Mary," a cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit, became their signature song and won them a
Grammy for best R&B vocal performance by a group.

Still, their hits were often sporadic, and while their public life depicted a powerful, dynamic duo, Tina Turner would later charge that her husband was an overbearing wife abuser and cocaine addict.

In her 1987 autobiography, "I, Tina," she narrated a harrowing tale of abuse, including suffering a broken nose. She said that cycle ended after a vicious fight between the pair in the back seat of a car in Las Vegas, where they were scheduled to perform.

It was the only time she ever fought back against her husband, Turner said.

After the two broke up, both fell into obscurity and endured money woes for years before Tina Turner made a dramatic comeback in 1982 with the release of the album "Private Dancer," a multiplatinum success with hits such as "Let's Stay Together" and "What's Love Got To Do With It."

The movie based on her life, "What's Love Got To Do With It," was also a hit, earning Angela Bassett an Oscar nomination. (Source)

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1 comment:

  1. The tragedy, anger, and turmoil that permeated the life of Ike and his muse Tina is a well known story. The victimization of Tina in the media rightly or wrongly revived her career. Ike on the other hand unfortunately suffered the public demonization not often heaped upon men of other ethnicities and had his livelihood stripped away. His musical persona and style made many contributions to American music and our popular culture. The concert by Ike and Tina Turner Live at Carneige Hall is an all time classic rock and roll album. I do not forgive him for his abuse of Tina, but I cannot forget the first time I saw he and Tina perform Proud Mary on Johnny Carson in the 60's. He gave us rythm but his life was filled with the blues.

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