Nov. 5, 1931-Dec. 12, 2007
December is bad news for R&B pioneers. Ike Turner, is best remembered as the spousal battering half of Ike and Tina Turner (and their famous Revue). Ike was not a great guitarist or singer but was a great spotter of talent. He was also an innovative producer and a kick-ass bandleader. (In both the figurative and literal sense.)
When Ike hooked up with the fiery and charismatic Anna Mae Bullock (Tina Turner) his place in rock history was assured by association if nothing else. After Tina got sick of the beatings and finally took her talent elsewhere Ike went into semi-obscurity and some hard times. And I do mean hard time, as in prison for drug related charges in the late 80's. He was still trying for parole when he and Tina were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. When the movie What's Love Got to do With It? (Ike and Tina's story) came out in 1993 Ike surfaced to deny ever beating Anna Mae. (I gotta admit that when Laurence Fishburne takes off his cowboy boot in that movie and starts walloping Angela Bassett with it I laughed my ass off at how over the top it was.) In his 2001 autobiography Ike admits, "Sure I've slapped Tina...There were times I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I never beat her." Thanks for the clarification, Ike, but I wouldn't let that slip in front of the judge.
One of my brushes with fame is when I realized I was Ike's neighbor in North Hollywood when I watched the LAPD lead him out in cuffs for one of his mid-80's coke busts. All I could think was, "Shit...that's Ike Turner. No wonder that goddam house was so fucking noisy."
Ike died from cocaine toxicity exacerbated by cardiovascular disease and pulmonary emphysema. Like I said about Bobby Hatfield. When you get to be an old guy, ya gotta give up the blow, my brotha'.