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Ike & Tina Turner were an American rock & roll and soul duo, made of the husband-and-wife team of Ike Turner and Tina Turner in the 1960s and 1970s. Spanning sixteen years together as a recording group, the duo played among its repertoire, rock & roll, soul, blues and funk. They are known for their wild and entertaining dance shows and especially for their scintillating cover of "Proud Mary", for which they won a Grammy Award. The duo were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
Ike Turner's first taste of musical stardom occurred in 1951 when his band, The Kings of Rhythm, recorded the blues single, "Rocket 88", later debated as the first rock and roll record ever issued. However, due to music industry regulations, the song was credited to Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats. Brenston later left for his own solo career, while Ike and his band concentrated on performing at local haunts in St. Louis.
In 1956, a sixteen-year-old named Anna Mae Bullock had moved from her hometown of Nutbush, Tennessee to live with her mother and sister in St. Louis. Within a year, Anna Mae frequented nightclubs with her sister. It was at one of these nightclubs that she first spotted Turner performing with the Kings of Rhythm. After seeing members of the audience getting chances to sing, she determinedly tried to secure her spot, finally succeeding by grabbing the microphone from a begrudging rival and launching into a version of B.B. King's "I Know You Love Me Baby". Her now-trademark raspy-throated vocals impressed Ike so much (he was known to have said to her, "Girl, I didn't know you can sing!" afterwards) that he allowed the girl known by friends as "Little Ann" in his band as a background singer. However, that changed after a male singer failed to show up for a recording session and Anna Mae, then eight months pregnant with her second child (her only child with Ike), recorded what became "A Fool in Love".
Originally Ike's intent was to erase her but after hearing her vocals he not only relented but also changed her stage name to Tina and appended his own surname to both, even though Ike was then still married to another woman. He also changed his group's name from The Kings of Rhythm to The Ike & Tina Turner Revue. The original group was extended to include three new background singers later known as "The Ikettes". Throughout their recording career, the ensemble was known simply as Ike and Tina Turner with Tina fronting the band through Ike's leadership.
Released in the winter of 1960, Ike & Tina's first single, "A Fool in Love", became an instant hit reaching number two on the Billboard Hot R&B Sides chart and number twenty-seven on the American pop singles chart, firmly launching the duo into the national spotlight with Tina being the major attraction to their live shows. That was followed a year later by "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" (written by Rose Marie McCoy), which included Mickey from one-hit wonders duo Mickey & Sylvia as "Ikey" in the background. That song gave them their first Grammy nomination and peaked at number fourteen on the pop singles chart. A third hit, 1962's "Poor Fool", was a sequel to "A Fool in Love", which peaked at number thirty-eight.
However, their chart success was limited compared to their live shows that included a series of grueling one-nighters and the occasional big shows. Ike & Tina's touring popularity helped them land national teen shows including Shindig!, Hollywood A Go-Go and American Bandstand. With Ike leading the band and Tina and the Ikettes dancing up a storm with Tina showcasing a shouting soulful voice, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue were a national attraction by the mid-1960s even with limited top forty pop success.
In 1966, Phil Spector signed Ike & Tina to his Phillies label and recorded the landmark single, "River Deep - Mountain High", with Ike accepting $25,000 from Spector not to participate in the recording and to be allowed to record Tina alone. While the record failed to grant success on the American pop charts peaking at a dismal eighty-eight (commonly blamed on the over-hyping of the single by radio djs before its release), the song later became an international hit reaching number three on the UK pop chart. the Revue opened for the Stones on their 1966 and 1969 US tours gaining international acclaim.
By 1969, that acclaim was finally getting them more chart action with the release of the blues-heavy "Outta Season" and The Hunter. From the album "The Hunter" Tina received another Grammy Nomination for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance for the song "Bold Soul Sister". That same year, the group opened for the Stones on their Altamont festival (one song from their performance appears in the 1970 documentary of the concert, Gimme Shelter). That year, they scored a hit with their version of Sly & the Family Stone's "I Want To Take You Higher." Also in 1970, they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed an early version of what would be their biggest hit to date - a cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, "Proud Mary" and "Bold Soul Sister".
By 1975, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue's popularity was fading. Seventeen years after she was first allowed in Ike's band, Tina began to take more steps toward a solo career, appearing without Ike on shows such as The Cher Show and The Mike Douglas Show. That same year, she gave a rousing performance in the rock musical Tommy as the Acid Queen.
Fearful of Tina's growing independence after years of what she described as imprisoned torture at his hands, Ike—high on cocaine and prescription pills—abused Tina in order to keep her within his control. Years later, Tina recalled in her I, Tina autobiography that Ike had used abuse to control her throughout the group's tenure and the pair's 16-year marriage.
Tina finally escaped from Ike after another violent confrontation while en route to a hotel in Dallas before a show. Tina said she ran out of the hotel's back door and kept running until she saw a Ramada Inn Hotel where, with only 36 cents in her purse, she left Ike for good and the Ike & Tina Turner Revue abruptly came to an end. Tina then filed for divorce and the former duo fought over legal matters in divorce court until the matter was resolved in 1978 with Ike retaining all monetary assets. During this time, Tina was sued by concert promoters for concerts missed with Ike.
Tina was allowed to keep the stage name Ike had given her and within six years climbed her way back to the top, finding success while performing in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and most famously at New York City's Ritz Theater and later opening for rock acts David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, and Rod Stewart, the latter of which brought Tina with him to perform their rendition of "Hot Legs" on Saturday Night Live. Tina eventually found solo superstardom following the release of 1984's Private Dancer album which sold 11 million copies, and included the biggest hit of her recording career, "What's Love Got to Do With It", which peaked at number one on the US pop chart, a position Ike & Tina never reached while together.
Ike, in the meantime, failed to gain any solo success during the first years without Tina and was besmirched by legal troubles including a conviction on drug charges. After his release from prison in 1993, Ike found musical acclaim on his own as a blues musician, eventually winning his first solo Grammy in 2007 with the album Risin' With the Blues.
Tina, in the meantime, had become an international rock superstar with successful albums and selling out stadiums throughout the 1980s and 1990s winning eight Grammys in the process. Having established herself as a pop superstar, Tina semi-retired from performing after a successful stadium tour in 2000. In 2005, she released her highly successful album All The Best which debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200. The album went multi platinum in many countries including the U.S. and the UK. In 2008, Tina delivered a heart stopping performance at the Grammy Awards alongside Beyonce Knowles. In October 2008, Tina returned to performing with her "Tina Live" world tour.
Though regarded as one of the most explosive rock music duos in history, Ike & Tina's musical success has been overshadowed by stories of domestic abuse committed by Ike against Tina and Ike's legal battles, which have subsided since his 1993 release from prison. Ike's reputation was further damaged after the release of the 1993 Tina Turner biopic, What's Love Got to Do with It, which documented the Turners' turbulent marriage and depicted Ike — played by Laurence Fishburne in the film — as a jealous and violent wife batterer. After the film and Tina's I, Tina autobiography (the film's basis), Ike steadfastly denied the abuse allegations saying that he only hit Tina a few times and that Tina often hit back. In his own autobiography, 1999's Takin' Back My Name, he admitted that he "slapped Tina...there have been times I have punched her for no reason" but hadn't done anything he wouldn't mind anyone doing to his "own mother". He denied ever beating her as alleged in Tina's book.
During an appearance in St. Louis, controversy arose around Ike again when he was denied having a day in his honor due to his history of abuse against Tina. Ike publicly apologized to his former wife for "all the things that I've done that hurt her" but admitted he couldn't change the past.
Ike Turner died from an apparent cocaine overdose on December 12, 2007 at his home in San Diego. He was 76 years old.
Tina is living with her partner of twenty-three years, German-born Erwin Bach, in Switzerland and France.
01. Please, Please, Please - Ike & Tina Turner
02. Feelin' Good - Jimmy Thomas
03. The Love Of My Man - Venetta Fields
04. Think - Bobby John
05. Drown In My Own Tears - Stacy Johnson
06. I Love The Way You Love - Robbie Montgomery
07. For Your Precious Love - Vernon Guy
08. All In My Mind - Ike & Tina Turner
09. I Can't Believe What You Say - Ike & Tina Turner
1. Revue Live
2. Revue Live
3. Revue Live