IKE TURNER – one of black music’s most controversial figures – died on Wednesday December 12th at this home in California. Cause of death was not revealed.
For all kinds of reasons TURNER was one of the most dehumanized figures in popular music – hopefully history will show him as the true pioneer which he always claimed he was.
IZEAR LUSTER TURNER Jr. was born on November 5th 1931 in Clarksdale Mississippi. Seeing his father beaten to death by a white mob and subsequent traumas hardened the young man who drifted into a musical career, inspired by people like PINETOP PERKINS and LOUIS JORDAN. He formed his own band – the Kings Of Rhythm and in 1951 they went to Memphis to record with SAM PHILIPS at the Sun Studios. The resulting single – ‘Rocket 88’, credited to the sax player who took vocals JACKIE BRENSTON, zoomed to the top of the R&B charts and it’s generally accepted as the first authentic rock ‘n’ roll record. In 1956 vocalist ANNIE MAE BULLOCK was recruited to the band; with subsequent marriage to IKE and a name change to TINA, the rest, of course is history.
It’s well-documented that IKE TURNER’S career and personal life were turbulent and chequered but his contribution to the developments of popular music is unquestionable. He was an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won a Grammy in 2006 for his album ‘Risin’ With the Blues’.