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Ike Turner biography

Born: November 5, 1931, Clarksdale, Mississippi

Also known as: Izear Luster Turner, Jr.

Ike Turner has been an integral part of the history of blues, rock and R&B. As a pianist and guitarist he backed visiting bluesmen and performed with his own band, the Kings of Rhythm, while still in high school. He worked as a talent scout in Memphis and throughout the south, and as such he accelerated the careers of Howlin’ Wolf, Little Milton and others; as a session musician he often backed up the talent he discovered. Turner’s band recorded the song “Rocket 88” in 1951 (recorded under the name Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats), which hit number 1 on the R&B charts and is often called the “first rock and roll song.” The band became very popular in St. Louis, and in the late fifties Turner added vocalist Annie Mae Bullock to the mix (who later changed her name to Tina Turner and married Ike). The band became the Ike & Tina Turner Review, and made R&B and rock history, charting singles, packing black nightclubs and touring with the Rolling Stones. Tina left the band and the marriage in 1974; subsequently Ike experienced some hard times, and his career faded. He later made a comeback, and continues to record and perform.

Essential listening: “Rocket 88,” “Shake a Tail Feather,” “Proud Mary,” “Steel Guitar Rag,” “I’m Lonesome Baby,” “Tore Up,” “Ike’s Theme,” “Catfish Blues”