Wednesday, December 12, 2007

R.I.P. Ike Turner, you bastard

Rock Pioneer Ike Turner Dies At 76

Ike Turner, whose role as one of rock's critical architects was overshadowed by his ogre-like image as the man who brutally abused former wife and icon Tina Turner, died today (Dec. 12) at his home in suburban San Diego. He was 76.

"He did pass away this morning" at his home in San Marcos, in northern San Diego County, said Scott M. Hanover of Thrill Entertainment Group, which managed Turner's musical career.

There was no immediate word on the cause of death, which was first reported by celebrity Web site

Turner's 1951 hit with his band the Kings of Rhythm, "Rocket 88," is widely credited as one of the first rock'n'roll songs. But his image is forever identified as the drug-addicted, wife-abusing husband of Tina Turner. He was hauntingly portrayed by Laurence Fishburne in the movie "What's Love Got To Do With It," based on Tina Turner's autobiography.

Turner discovered his future wife, then named Anna Mae Bullock, in the mid-1950s. She began singing with his revue and married him in 1958, assuming the stage name Tina Turner.

In 1960, the couple launched their Ike and Tina Turner Review, which featured the constantly changing lineup of female backing singers known as the Ikettes (Bonnie Bramlett and Merry Clayton number among Ikette alumni).

The group subsequently recorded for the Loma and Modern labels; their most significant outing was the 1966 album "River Deep, Mountain High," produced by Phil Spector. But Tina's voice was the only element in the Review that interested Spector, who barred Ike from the recording sessions.

Tina left Ike in 1976, and went on to become one of the biggest music stars of the early 1980s. Concurrently, Turner's career had hit rock bottom.

But after spending time in jail in the early '90s on drug charges, he managed to rehabilitate his image somewhat in his later years, touring around the globe with the Kings of Rhythm and drawing critical acclaim for his work.

He won a Grammy in 2007 in the traditional blues album category for "Risin' With the Blues." This summer, he collaborated remotely on some tracks with Ohio rock duo the Black Keys, but it is understood that there is no plan to release them in the near future.

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