When most people hear of Ike Turner, they immediately think of Tina Turner’s abusive ex-husband, and maybe Laurence Fishburne. The truth is that Tina’s 1993 biopic, What’s Love Got to Do with It, cemented Ike’s reputation as a drug-crazed wifebeater. In 2006, thirteen years after the picture was released, Ike Turner—along with Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, Freddy Krueger and Norman Bates— made Vibe magazine’s top five ultimate movie “bad guys”!
“That movie is not me. They had to have a villain. They assassinated my career with that damn movie, man.” -Ike Turner in an interview with Esquire magazine
While I don’t condone Ike’s abusive behaviour towards his former wife, I still think the man was a true rock and roll pioneer and deserves a little more praise. So in order to clean up his reputation, I compiled a top 10 list (in no particular order) of Ike’s greatest musical accomplishments.
1. His song Rocket 88, gains recognition as a first in rock and roll recording (along with Roy Brown’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight”). He was just 19 years old when he put the song together with his Kings of Rhythm at the legendary Sun Studios in 1951.
2. Ike discovered a teenage singer named Anna Mae Bullock and gave her stage name and persona: Tina Turner
3. His musical talent coupled with Tina’s raw and powerful vocals turned the Ike & Tina Turner Revue into one of the hottest R&B ensembles and gave James Brown a run for his money. The couple’s cover of C.C.R’s Proud Mary even earned them a Grammy in 1971.
5. In 1991, Ika and Tina were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
6. Ike learned to play the piano from none-other than Boogie-Woogie Master, Pinetop Perkins.
7. Ike played piano on B.B. King’s first hit record 3 O’Clock Blues, which became one of the most popular R&B records of 1952.
8. A prolific session player at Sun Studios, Ike backed such eminences of the blues as Buddy Guy, Elmore James and Howlin’ Wolf. While playing the piano, He kept his guitar handy on his lap to embellish tracks with his own hot licks when needed.
10. In 2006, the same year as the Vibe magazine listing, Ike, he won his first solo Grammy in the Best Traditional Blues Album category for the album, Risin’ With the Blue.
Ike Turner passed away on December 12, 2007 from a cocaine overdose. He was 76.