Image of Ike Turner

Ike Turner

Ike Turner is best known for his career as half of the duo Ike & Tina Turner with his former wife Tina Turner, but before he discovered her, Turner was already a pioneer in rhythm & blues and rock & roll.Izear Luster Turner Jr. was born on November 5, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His father Izear Luster Turner Sr. was a Baptist minister and his mother Beatrice Cushenberry was a seamstress. His father was beaten by a white mob and succumbed to his injuries when Turner was 5 years old. Turner was sexually abused by multiple older women beginning at the age of 6. He quit school in the eighth grade and became an elevator operator at the Alcazar Hotel in downtown Clarksdale, eventually becoming a DJ at the radio station WROX located inside the hotel.Turner was taught how to play piano by Delta blues pianist Pinetop Perkins. He performed locally as a roadie for Robert Nighthawk and Sonny Boy Williams. As a teenager, he formed his own band called the Kings of Rhythm. In 1951, Turner and his band recorded "Rocket 88" at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Studio, later known as Sun Studio. The single was very successful, reaching No. 1 on the various Billboard R&B charts, but the record was credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats. This caused friction between band members, so the band was disbanded for a few years. In the meantime, Turner became a session musician and talent scout for Phillips as well as the Bihari Brothers at Modern Records. Blues musicians Turner recorded with include Junior Parker, Willy Nix, Bobby Bland, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Rosco Gordon, Albert King, and Johnny Ace.Turner made the transition from playing piano to playing guitar in the mid-1950s and moved to East St. Louis, Illinois where he became a sensation by introducing Rhythm & Blues to the predominantly Jazz town and neighboring cities. One of his fans, a teen-aged Anna Mae Bullock, joined his band as his lead vocalist in 1957. He renamed her Tina Turner, and they released their first record as the duo Ike & Tina Turner in 1960 with the "A Fool In Love" which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard R&B chart. A string of R&B hits soon followed. Throughout the 1960s they toured relentlessly and put on high energy performances with their revue which included the Ikettes, a backing group known for the Turner penned single "I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)." Their dynamic act is showcased in the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show (1966), which led to Tina Turner recording "River Deep - Mountain High" with producer Phil Spector. Following their tour with the Rolling Stones in 1969, the duo crossed over to mainstream success. They appeared in the concert films Gimme Shelter (1970), It's Your Thing (1970), Soul to Soul (1971), and they made a cameo performance in Taking Off (1971). The duo had their biggest success with their rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" which won them a Grammy Award in 1972. However, Turner's drug use and volatile behavior was taking a toll on their personal relationship and they separated in 1976.After the Duo broke up, Turner went on a downward spiral with run-ins with the law, which resulted in a 18-month prison term for a drug conviction in the early 1990s. Following the release of his ex-wife's book which she recounted incidents of domestic violence, and the subsequent movie, What's Love Got to Do with It (1993), dramatizing their tumultuous relationship, Turner received media scrutiny which further hindered his career. He eventually revived his band the Kings of Rhythm in the late 1990s and resurrected his career by returning to his blues roots. In 2003, Turner was featured in the PBS documentary series The Blues (2003). He released two critically acclaimed albums, Here and Now (2001) and Risin' with the Blues (2006). The latter album won him a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues album the year he died in 2007. Turner had been drug free for over a decade, but he relapsed and died from a cocaine overdose on December 12, 2007. His hypertensive cardiovascular disease and pulmonary emphysema were also contributing factors.

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Nov 5, 1931 In Clarksdale, Mississippi, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the series Rock & Roll 1995-09-24
Latest Project:
Series True Detective 2014-01-12

1 win.

Known For
Poster of True Detective
Poster of Orange Is the New Black
Poster of True Blood
Poster of The Sopranos
True Detective Unknown 2014-01-12
Orange Is the New Black Unknown 2013-07-11
Magic City Unknown 2012
The Playboy Club Unknown 2011-09-19
True Blood Unknown 2008-09-07
So You Think You Can Dance Canada Unknown 2008-09-11
So You Think You Can Dance Unknown 2005
Dancing with the Stars Unknown 2005-06-01
Strictly Come Dancing Unknown 2004-05-15
Top of the Pops Unknown 2002-01-12
American Idol Unknown 2002-06-11
Six Feet Under Unknown 2001-06-03
The Sopranos Unknown 1999-01-10
Behind the Music Unknown 1997-08-17
Rock & Roll Self 2 episodes, 1995 1995-09-24