RIP Ike Turner

I vividly remember the first time that I saw Ike and Tina perform, when I was but a wee lad. It was a Saturday morning in the very early 70s. I was at the Sears store with my pops and he was buying some tools or something, but as usual, I got distracted in the electronics department.

Soul Train, or some similar show was on all 40 black and white and "living" color tv sets. The main thing that I noticed was that the volume was cranked on all the sets, when usually the volume was muted.

There was this incredibly hot woman in the shortest of skirts and the tallest of boots (silver, perhaps?) that was singing he lungs out in front of a tight band that was bordered by a series of HUGE Orange speaker cabinets. I was staring at the biggest set and one of the sales dudes, said, "Hey Lil' Man, you're watchin' Tina Turner!!!" I think the song was Proud Mary.

At the time, I had no idea what role Ike Turner played in any of this, but as a little kid in Chicago, I thought this was up there with James Brown, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson Five.

I was traveling today, so more out of the pocket than normal, when I saw in the NYTimes that Ike Turner had passed away in San Diego at the age of 76. He was known as both Izear Luster Turner Jr and Ike Wister Turner and was born in the Delta town of Clarkdale Mississippi.

It boggles the mind to consider that Ike wrote the song Rocket 88 (at least the intro and 1st verse) all the way back in 1951! That was 20 years and more before I was grooving to Ike & Tina in the early 70s. I learned about the Jackie Brenston and the Nightcats much later in my life, but I still enjoy hearing it even now. I can't imagine what an effect a song like that may have had way back then. The Times said Ike was paid $20 for the record that went on to sell 500,000 copies on Chess Records.

In 1958, he was working the St. Louis scene and met Anna Mae Bullock, whom he later named Tina Turner. I will spare all the detail of their ups and downs as they are well documented elsewhere.

As always, music always speaks better than words anyway. The music lives forever.

In remembrance, here is an Ike and Tina funky track that I included on a mix earlier this year, Funkier Than A Mosquitos' Tweeter.



iowahawk said...

RIP, Rocket 88.

Saw Ike perform last year; he had a Tina look-alike, which was a little creepy, but the man still had major stage presence. One of rock's underappreciated pioneers.

Yo RB, see you on the 30th if not before.

Slim Jenkins said...

Horrible news about Ike the man. He made some utterly classic ish (I'm thinking of "A Black Man's Soul").

Holler at my blog:

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