…yeah I’ll give him an R.I.P, after he died on Wednesday aged 76.
I know, I know the first image you have when you hear the name is of a coked up scumbag slapping Tina around, like you saw in the film.
But he played a major part in the history of popular music that we know as Rock and or Roll.
With his own band the Kings of Rhythm he recorded, in 1951, what is regarded by many as the first rock ‘n’ roll record “Rocket 88“, an homage to his Oldsmobile 88, though Sun Records released it as being by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats. The distinctive new distorted fuzz sound coming from the fact the amp was knackered after it had been dropped earlier.
He was an A&R man for Modern, Sun and Chess Records where he helped the likes Howlin’ Wolf, Otis Rush and Sonny Boy Williamson get record deals while backing them and others such as B. B. King and Elmore James with his sharp sounding guitar playing. Check out the likes of Otis Rush’s “Double Trouble” for some haunting guitar work from both men.
But most of all Turner is going to be remembered for the Ike & Tina years from their first meeting in a St. Louis nightclub in 1956, when Annie Mae Bullock took the microphone as he was chatting up her sister, up to the day she finally walked out on him, with 35 cents in her pocket, 20 years later.
She became an Ikette, got pregnant by his sax player then by Ike, he changed her name to Tina and they became a staple of the R&B/soul revue circuit from their first hit (“A Fool in Love”) in 1960 through the decade, with a tight show. With other hits coming from “River Deep – Mountain High”, “I Want To Take You Higher”, “Nutbush City Limits” and “Proud Mary”. The latter being a cover of the CCR track and something they would do a lot of cover established rock acts tracks such as The Beatles “Come Together”, “Get Back” or soul tracks like Otis Reddings “Respect“, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long“.
Just listening to one of the Revue shows from ’74 and hell didn’t they put on a cracking show, back when R&B was really rhythm and blues, where exactly is that in the crap they call R&B these days…
Reported to have been sober for a number of years now following his release from prison, he had regained some credibility from his music lately with his albums, 2001’s “Here and Now” being nominated for a Grammy, “Risin’ With the Blues” winning this year, he’d also played piano on Gorillaz album “Demon Days”.
So yes he was a ratbag and you can see how Tina feels about what’s happened with her statement…
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. - Tina Turner’s spokesperson
He was inside for a drugs conviction when they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, one arrest in a total that reached double figures, he wasn’t exactly apologetic or unrepentant about his treatment of his former wife and wasn’t backward in coming forward about what he thought he deserved in terms of recognition.
So no maybe not the nicest guy in the world but should that mean his name is erased from the history of music?
Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter…