Ike & Tina Turner were an American musical duo composed of the husband-and-wife team of Ike Turner and Tina Turner. The duo started as an offshoot splinter act from Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm before the name changed to the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. The duo was once considered "one of the hottest, most durable, and potentially most explosive of all R&B ensembles".[1]

Their early works including "A Fool in Love", "It's Gonna Work Out Fine", "I Idolize You" and "River Deep - Mountain High" became high points in the development of soul music while their later works were cited for wildly interpretive re-arrangements of rock songs such as "I Want to Take You Higher" and "Proud Mary", the latter song for which they won a Grammy Award. They're also known for their often-ribald live performances, which were only matched by that of James Brown and the Famous Flames in terms of musical spectacle.[1]

The duo was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.[2]


 [hide*1 Career


1958-1960: Origins[edit]Edit

By 1956, Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm was one of the most popular live performing attractions to the St. Louis and neighboring East St. Louis club scene. Ike had moved there from Memphisin 1954 after work as a talent scout for the Modern and RPM labels.[3] Around this time, two young women named Aillene and Anna Mae Bullock, along with a few other girls, frequented the nightclubs in both St. Louis and East St. Louis. One night, the Bullock sisters and their friends arrived at an East St. Louis nightclub called Club D'Lisa and it was there that Ann Bullock first watched Ike Turner and his band perform, stating later that the band's performance put her "in a trance".[4][5]

Ann soon became obsessed with wanting to join the band and ventured to every club Ike's band frequented.[6] One night in 1958, while at Club Manhattan, another popular club in East St. Louis, Ann asked Ike to let her sing onstage. Though Ike agreed to it, he never called on her.[6] During an intermission in the show, the band's drummer Gene Washington pulled out a drum microphone and pushed it to Ann's and Aillene's table.[7] Though Aillene shied away from the microphone, her sister took it and sung the song that the band was playing: a version of B.B. King's "I Know You Love Me, Baby". Stunned by Ann's voice, Ike rose from his piano and asked Ann if she knew any more songs. Ann sang along to every song that Ike played.[8] Ann finished out that night singing lead for Ike's band, marking the first time that a female singer had sung lead in the band's history.[9]

Ike would spend time afterwards teaching Ann about voice control and performance.[7] In 1958, Ike featured Ann (then going by the name "Little Ann") and singer Carlson Oliver in his song, "Box Top", which was a regional hit following its release on Tune Town Records. In 1960, singer Art Lassiter was chosen to front the Kings of Rhythm. Ike had written a song for Lassiter he called "A Fool in Love".[10] When Lassiter did not show up and Ike had already booked expensive studio time, he allowed "Little Ann" to sing the song as a "dummy track" for Lassiter. The song made its way through regional radio stations in St. Louis and impressed one radio disk jockey so much that he told Ike to send the record to Sue Records president Juggy Murray.

1960-1965: Career development[edit]Edit

Upon hearing the track, an impressed Murray bought the musical rights to the song and gave Ike a $20,000 advance for it, convincing Ike to keep Ann's voice on the track.[11] Ike renamed the song's backing female trio "The Ikettes" and also gave "Little Ann" the name "Tina Turner" to rhyme with his favorite television character, Sheena the Queen of the Jungle. He also gave her the name to prevent her from running off with it. In case Ann left, he could give another woman the name of Tina Turner.[10] He renamed the entire outfit as "The Ike and Tina Turner Revue".

"A Fool in Love" became a hit after its release in the late spring of 1960, reaching #2 R&B and #27 on the Billboard Hot 100, selling over a million copies. It was described by Kurt Loder years later in Tina's autobiography I, Tina as "the blackest record to ever creep the white pop charts since Ray Charles' 'What'd I Say' a year before".[12] After several successive R&B songs such as "I Idolize You", "You Should've Treated Me Right", "Poor Fool" and "Tra La La", the duo reached the top 20 on the pop charts with "It's Gonna Work Out Fine", which became the duo's second million-selling single and also garnered them their first Grammy Award nomination. It was around this time that the personal friendship between Ike and Tina changed to a sexual one. Ike later described that his first sexual encounter with Tina "felt like I had screwed my sister or somethin'. I mean I had hoped to die... we really were like brother and sister. It wasn't just her voice... Anyway me and Ann were tight."[13]

As their romance grew, so did the tensions in creating another hit. Ike's first accounts of his abusive dominance occurred when he hit Tina in the eye with his shoe stretcher.[14][15] In 1962, the couple eloped in Tijuana. Rumors abound the real reason for the marriage was for Ike Turner to avoid paying alimony and child support to Lorraine Taylor. Ike and Tina and the entire band relocated from East St. Louis toLos Angeles. Gigging for 365 days a year to make up for lack of more hits, the grueling schedule put a strain on Tina.[16] In 1964, after months of tension, Ike Turner ended his contract with Juggy Murray and Sue Records, signing with the Kent label, and, a year later signing with Warner Bros. Records and its subsidiary Loma Records, where they met Bob Krasnow, who began managing them in 1965.[16]

1965-1969: The Ike & Tina Turner Revue[edit]Edit

Around 1965, Tina Turner went on TV as a solo act promoting Ike & Tina's works on shows such as American Bandstand and Shindig! Ike and Tina and their Revue appeared in the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show. In between their deals with Kent, Warner and Loma, Ike and Tina would record for seven other labels between 1964 and 1969.[17] It's been suggested that Ike's limited facility in the studio failed to present a memorable single for the duo.[16] With Krasnow, however, that changed. Hit producer Phil Spector soon called Krasnow asking him if he could produce for Ike and Tina, to which Krasnow agreed.[18] Spector forked over $25,000 for the right to record with them, with the intent on creating his "biggest hit".[18]

Tina recorded the Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry composition "River Deep - Mountain High", which failed to chart successfully in the United States after its release in 1966, reaching only #88. European label executives for Spector's label Philles, to which Ike and Tina were signed to, released the song overseas. The song's success particularly in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at #3, led an angry Spector to print in ads, "Benedict Arnold was right!" in regards to the United States indifferent reaction to the song, and announced a brief retirement that lasted two years.[18][19] Later that year, The Rolling Stonesoffered Ike and Tina a chance to be one of their opening acts on their fall tour in the United Kingdom that year, which they accepted.[20] The duo took the opportunity afterwards to book themselves tours all over Europe and Australia where they attracted audiences.[18] The audiences' appreciation of the band's sound stunned Ike Turner, who noted that "there wasn't anything like my show."[21]

Following this, the band returned to the United States in demand despite not having a big hit. By 1968, they were performing and headlining in Las Vegas. That year, they signed with Blue Thumb Records and released the first of two albums with them, the first of which, Outta Season, included their modest hit cover of "I've Been Loving You Too Long". The second Blue Thumb release, The Hunter, followed in 1969, and included their modest hit cover of the Albert King hit as well as an original composition titled "Bold Soul Sister", resulting in Tina receiving her first Grammy nomination as a solo artist. It was also during this time that Ike Turner, who had once been teetotal and drug-free, turned to cocaine after being introduced the drug by, he says, "two famous Las Vegas headliners".[22] In 1968, after another violent confrontation with Ike, Tina bought 50 Valiums and swallowed them all in an attempt to end her life before a show in Los Angeles; Tina eventually recovered.[23]

1970-1975: Mainstream success[edit]Edit

[1][2]Ike & Tina Turner 1972

A second opening spot on The Rolling Stones' American tour in November 1969 made Ike and Tina a hot item.[23] In 1970, after their deals with Blue Thumb and Minit ended, they signed with Liberty Records and released the album, Come Together. The title track, a cover of the famed Beatles song, charted, as did their cover of Sly and the Family Stone's "I Want to Take You Higher", which became their first top 40 pop song in eight years, peaking at #25, placing several spots higher than Sly's original had done months earlier.[23] The album would sell a quarter of a million copies. That same year, Ike and Tina appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Their successful records and their increasing popularity with mainstream audiences increased their nightly fee, going from $1,000 a night to $5,000 a night.[23]

Late in 1970, while on break from touring in Florida, the band recorded their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary".[23] The song was released the following January and became the duo's best-selling single to date, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling well over a million copies, later winning them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. The album which featured the song, Workin' Together, was released shortly afterwards and benefited from the success of "Proud Mary" peaking at the top 40 of the albums chart, the first of their albums to do so. Also during the year, the band put out the live album Live at Carnegie Hall: What You Hear Is What You Get, which sold half a million copies and gave them their first gold-selling album. Late in 1971, the band signed a five-year deal with a Liberty subsidiary, United Artists, who released the band's first of ten albums with the label, Nuff Said.

In 1972, Ike Turner officially opened his recording studio he named Bolic, or Bolic Sounds. That year, the albums Feel Good and Let Me Touch Your Mind were released. Neither album produced any hit single though some songs did chart on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1973, with help from Tina on lyrics, Ike Turner composed and produced the song "Nutbush City Limits". The song reached #22 on the Hot 100 and reached #4 in the UK. In 1974, the duo released two more albums including the Grammy-nominated The Gospel According to Ike & Tina and the pop release Rhode Island Red, which included one of their final chart placements, "Sexy Ida (Pt. 1)". In 1975, Ike and Tina had their final charted single together, "Baby Get It On". The song was one of only a few in which Ike Turner sung lead first before Tina.

In addition to group recordings, both Ike and Tina released solo recordings around this time with Ike also releasing offshoot project albums with his spinoff band The Family Vibes (which he had the name changed from The Kings of Rhythm), releasing three albums with the band between 1972 and 1974. When the band was still called the Kings of Rhythm, the band recorded the album A Black Man's Soul, which was mostly an instrumental album, except for one track in which Tina Turner participated in the song, "Foolin' Around". Tina released her first solo album Tina Turns the Country On, a collection ofcountry standards produced under a modern pop/soul styling. Her performance on the album led to another solo Grammy nomination. In 1975, Turner released her second solo album Acid Queen, which was released following Tina's critically acclaimed performance on the musical film version of The Who's Tommy.

1976-1978: Decline and divorce[edit]Edit

By 1976, Ike Turner was so addicted to cocaine that he burned a hole in his nasal septum, leading to nosebleeds, in which he would relieve himself by using more cocaine.[22] During this time, Turner was spending more time in his recording studio than he was with Tina and their children at their home in Inglewood. By this point, Tina Turner had looked inward to help her own problems and soon found it after a friend in their entourage introduced Tina to the teachings of Buddhism.[24]

In July 1976, Ike signed a five-year contract with a new record company, Cream Records, for a reported yearly amount of $150,000.[25] The contract had a key person clause, meaning Tina would have to sign the contract.[26] On July 2, Ike and Tina traveled by plane from Los Angeles to Dallas where they were to start another national tour at the Dallas Statler Hilton. While on airplane, the two fought, continuing the fight while in their limousine.[25] Ike's account was due to Tina refusing to help him with his nosebleeds as a result of his cocaine use, which had him up for five days straight.[25] Tina's account was Ike's insistence for her to eat chocolates and when she refused, Ike slapped her in the back of her head.[27] Tina recalled she began fighting him back, scratching him and kicking him.[26]

After Ike fell asleep shortly after arrival to their hotel room, Tina escaped from the back of the hotel, running through a freeway before stopping at a local Ramada Inn hotel where she stayed despite having only 36 cents and a Mobil gas card. Tina then hid out at friends' homes in Los Angeles, constantly moving in fear Ike or members of his entourage would seek her out by force.[27][28] Tina later purchased a gun for protection.[24] On July 27, 1976, Tina Turner filed for divorce after 14 years of marriage.[29]

Ike and Tina fought for a year in divorce court arguing over monies. By late 1977, Tina decided to stop her pursuit of any financial earnings including an apartment complex in Anaheim and another apartment, stating to her lawyer that her freedom "was more important".[30][31] Tina also agreed to retain only the use of her stage name, since it was found in court that Ike had failed to copyright the name, losing his right to the name. The divorce proceedings ended in November 1977 and was finalized March 1978.[31][27] She also agreed to pay a significant IRS lien.[27]

1978-2007: After Ike & Tina[edit]Edit

Both Tina and Ike went through some struggles in their careers following the split. But while Tina managed to make a living as a stage performer, Ike's cocaine addiction made him unequipped to perform. Tina managed to succeed in her career, using the concert successes from her opening gigs with Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones and several performances at New York's Ritz Theatre to parlay a singles-only, then three-album deal with Capitol Records. The release and subsequent success of Private Dancer resulted in what Ebony magazine later called "an amazing comeback".[32] Tina's post-comeback career consisted of top-selling albums and record breaking concert tours. In 1988, Tina made history by performing in front of the largest paying audience (approximately 184,000) to see a solo performer at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, earning her a spot on the Guinness World Records.[33] Following the end of her Twenty Four Seven Tour in 2000, Turner made another Guinness World Record by selling more concert tickets than any solo performer in history at the time.[34][35]

Tina's accounts on her life with Ike Turner were later documented in the autobiography, I, Tina, released in 1986. In 1988, both Tina and Ike signed away their rights to have their lives dramatized in a biopic based off Tina's book. Ike Turner would later claim that he signed against his will since he was heavily addicted to crack at the time and accepted a $50,000 payment, waiving the right to sue the film company for their portrayal of him in the film.[36] The film What's Love Got to Do with It helped to damage Turner's career in the 1990s.[37] Due to the film and the book, Ike's name became a synonym for wifebeater, overshadowing his contributions to music.[38]

Ike later admitted his first post-Tina Turner years were a period in which his behavior had grown increasingly erratic.[39] Turner's Bolic Sounds studio burned to the ground in January 1981 on the day he was set to present it to a group of people who had been interested in purchasing the studio due to failure to pay taxes on the studio, putting it in foreclosure.[40] In 1982, he was alleged to have shot a 49-year-old newspaper delivery man who he accused of assaulting his wife, Margaret Thomas. He was later found not guilty of the charge of assault.[40] Ike Turner would mostly be convicted of drug offenses, culminating in a four-year sentence for cocaine possession in 1990.[41] Sent to California Men's ColonySan Luis Obispo,[42] he completed 18 months of his prison sentence before being released from parole in September 1991.[43][44]

Following his release, Ike worked to regain his position in the music business. In 1993, he received royaties from Salt-n-Pepa's sample of his "I'm Blue" song for their hit single "Shoop", and responded by recording a duet version with Billy Rogers. After contributing to Joe Louis WalkerGreat Guitars, he toured with the blues musician and was paid $5,000 a night for six songs.[45] Following this, he revived the Kings of Rhythm in 2001 and released the "comeback" album, Here & Now, which won Turner a Grammy nomination. Five years later, his album, Risin' with the Blues, won him his second Grammy Award, his first as a solo artist.

Ike's death and Tina's final tour[edit]Edit

On December 12, 2007, Ike Turner was found dead at 11:38 am at his home in San Marcos, California. He was 76.[22][37][46] His death was found by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office to be from a cocaine overdose, exacerbated by hypertensive cardiovascular disease and emphysema.[47] Turner had been clean for over a decade prior but relapsed in 2004 after coming to an aid of a drug-addicted friend and returned to cocaine after he "smelt the fumes".[22]

Following news of her former partner's death, Tina Turner's personal spokeswoman released a statement that because the couple hadn't spoken to each other "in over 30 years" Tina refused to release a comment.[48] Turner's funeral was held at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, California. In February 2008, little over a month after Ike was buried, Tina came out of retirement and returned to the performing stage at the Grammy Awards performing alongside Beyoncé.[49][50] Later that October, at the age of 68, she launched a 95-date concert tour celebrating her 50th anniversary in show business.[51] The tour lasted until May of the following year, ending in England. In October 2007, just two months before Ike's death, a three-disc compilationThe Ike & Tina Turner Story: 1960-1975, was released by Time-Life Music.

Awards and accolades[edit]Edit

Ike & Tina Turner were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991; Ike Turner was still incarcerated and Tina, still not wanting any ties to Ike whatsoever, did not attend, but stated she was working on an album. Phil Spector accepted their induction on the former duo's behalf.

The group was nominated three times for Grammy Awards. They were nominated and won Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1971 for "Proud Mary" at the 14th Annual Grammy Awards.[52] Tina herself received a nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for the 1969 song "Bold Soul Sister". The group also received a nomination for their 1961 recording "It's Gonna Work Out Fine".

The group received a NAACP Image Award. Both Ike and Tina each received stars and were inducted individually onto the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Two of their songs, "River Deep - Mountain High" and "Proud Mary", were inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and 2003, respectively.[53]

Tina received a solo star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986.[54]


Main article: Ike & Tina Turner discography==Filmography[edit]==

  • 1970: Gimme Shelter
  • 1971: Soul 2 Soul
  • 1971: Taking Off
  • 1999: Ike & Tina Turner – The Best of MusikLaden
  • 2004: The Legends Ike & Tina Turner – Live in ‘71
  • 2004: Kenny Rogers Rollin’ Vol. 1[55]
  • 2005: Ike & Tina Turner: Live
  • 2006: Through the Years
  • 2006: Ike and Tina Turner: Rollin with Ike and Tina Turner Live
  • 2006: Flashbacks: Soul Sensation[56]
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