Anyone who knows me well, knows that I adore my Ike and Tina Turner Albums. I play them around my house and in my shop all the time. I have taken a lot of heat for my loyalty to these albums, due to the nature of Tina's turbulant relationship with Ike. I do not condone domestic violence, but have always seen the unfortunate demise of their partnership as tragic- and a direct result of an insecure man, a combo of powerful drugs and losing control. Ike was an early influential musical player to the R & B scene way back, and sadly is known more for his temper and abuse. I saw Tina play when I was in the 8th grade with my mom. We sat on the lawn waiting to see Lionel Ritchie. The opening act was the comeback girl TINA Turner. I 'll never forget "What's Love Got to Do with it?" and her fantastic legs.
Later when I discovered her earlier work I was astouded by the great 60's energy of the Ike and Tina act. I played "Contact High" and "Proud Mary" countless times. Ike and the Family Vibes (his other band) is a record worth about $75 bucks now and has the awesome song "I Am Your Garbage Man". When I found out that their amazing sound was ceased by his abuse I immediately tried to understand WHY?
Of course he was a perfectionist, someone who discovered his muse only to see her career take off without him. Combine a drug abuse problem with all of this and you have a real disaster. The fear of losing her to bigger things and getting left behind seemed to fuel this. I have never thought of him as innocent, but rather a man clinging to his past.
According to MTV:
Ike Turner, the musician, bandleader, talent scout and record producer best known for his work with former wife Tina Turner, died at his home on Wednesday (December 12), according to The Associated Press. He was 76.
Turner's death was confirmed by his manager, Scott Hanover. "He did pass away this morning," Hanover said. There has been no official announcement of the cause of his death, but TMZ.com reports that Turner died in his sleep at his San Marcos, California, home.
"There is no doubt that Ike Turner was one of rock and roll's great architects with his genre-defying sound as an instrumentalist and bandleader," Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement issued Wedneday. "His innovative musicality helped lay the foundation for rock and roll and R&B more than 50 years ago. As a bandleader, his well-rehearsed ensembles were some of the most exciting live groups the world had ever heard. As a two-time Grammy Award winner and recipient of the Recording Academy's 2004 Heroes Award, Ike's legacy as a groundbreaking pioneer in the music industry will never be forgotten."
While his contributions to the world of music have been largely overshadowed by his personal turmoil (documented in the 1993 Tina Turner biopic, "What's Love Got to Do With It"), Turner was a true rock and roll pioneer, having released what many consider to be the first rock and roll song, "Rocket 88" (albeit under the name of his band's singer, Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats), in 1951.
Izear Luster Turner Jr. was born in 1931, in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He formed his first band while still in high school, and by the late '40s had assembled an outfit dubbed the Kings of Rhythm — the group recorded "Rocket 88," although authorship of the song has been disputed. The song became a hit and the Kings went on to work with such legendary blues musicians as Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy and many others.
Turner and the group continued performing and recording throughout the 1950s, with Tina joining the group late in the decade and ultimately marrying Turner in 1958. In the ensuing years the Ike & Tina Turner Revue built up a strong following, scoring several hits in the 1960s and becoming a top live draw. Tina's voice caught the attention of producer Phil Spector, who cut "River Deep - Mountain High" with them in 1966; a huge hit internationally (although not in the United States), the song has since attained classic status.
In 1969, the group was invited to open the Rolling Stones' American tour (documented in the film "Gimme Shelter"), which broke them out of genre status and led to a series of hit covers of rock songs, including Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary," which won them a Grammy. However, Turner's problems — including substance and spousal abuse — soon became untenable and Tina left him in the middle of a tour in 1975; they divorced in 1978.
Reflecting the distance that had grown between the ex-spouses over the years — and the bitter feelings that allegedly still existed between them — Tina Turner's publicist reportedly told TMZ.com on Wednesday, "Tina is aware that Ike passed away earlier today. She has not had any contact with him in 35 years. No further comment will be made."
Whatever demons Ike created down here, he will have to contend with upstairs with the big guy. In the meantime I can still appreciate the times when their music still radiated positive vibes.