Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ike Turner: A tarnished rock legend


Ike Turner: A tarnished rock legend

In the late '50s, Turner hired Anna Mae Bullock as a singer. She became Tina Turner in name and wedlock, and their records from 1960 through the mid-'70s demonstrate Tina's awe-inspiring lung power and Ike's dry wit and lacerating guitar. A Fool in Love, It's Gonna Work Out Fine and Nutbush City Limits are R&B monuments, while their recasting of John Fogerty's Proud Mary became the definitive version.

Ike wrote and produced most of their records and led the legendary Ike & Tina Turner Revue (including a rotating cast of backing singers known as The Ikettes), one of the top R&B touring aggregations of the '60s. They opened for the Rolling Stones on the British band's 1969 tour.

Turner was also a brilliant guitarist, and he recorded several instrumental showcases with the Kings of Rhythm and under his own name.

Tina left him in 1976, ending an abusive relationship chronicled in the 1986 autobiography I, Tina and 1993 film What's Love Got to Do With It. (Ike disputed his portrayal in both.)

She declined to comment on his death.

"Tina is aware that Ike passed away earlier today," her spokeswoman Michele Schweitzer said in a statement. "She has not had any contact with him in 35 years. No further comment will be made."

Ike was convicted on cocaine possession charges in 1990 and was in prison at the time he and Tina were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Solo efforts after their breakup attracted little notice, but in recent years he began to receive more recognition for his pioneering musical efforts, including a 2007 Grammy for traditional blues album.

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