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Members include: Ike Turner (born Izear Luster Turner, Jr., November 5, 1931 in Clarksdale, MS), guitar; Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock, November 26, 1939 in Brownsville, TN), vocals.
Combining gospel inspired vocals with rough, raunchy, and seductively sexy rhythm and blues (R&B), Ike and Tina Turner burst on to the musical scene in the early 1960s. At first, their sex-soaked soulful music captivated a mainly African American dominated audience. Slowly, however, mainstream white America began to warm to them, most notably through their R&B hits that successfully crossed over to the pop charts. Covering songs like Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary,"--their only American top ten pop hit--didn't exactly hurt their careers, either. Despite the rather tepid reception they received in their American homeland, Ike and Tina Turner were revered in Europe, counting among their many admirers the Rolling Stones.
During the 1950s, Ike Turner was fronting an R&B band called the Kings of Rhythm. The band had become the house band of the East St. Louis, Missouri based club called the Manhattan. During their tenure as the house band of the club, they had achieved the reputation of one of the better rhythm and blues bands in the area. At the same time, 17-year- old Anna Mae Bullock began accompanying her sister to the Manhattan. She became entranced with Turner and his band, and would regularly attend the club to see the Rhythm Kings. Bullock repeatedly asked Turner if she could sing with the band, but to no avail. One day, the band's drummer offered the microphone to Bullock's sister who declined to opportunity to get up and sing with the band. Leaping at the chance she had been waiting for, Bullock leapt on stage and belted one out with the band. Turner was amazed with what he heard and told her that she could sing with the band as one of their vocalists. Not too long after this, Turner and Bullock began to date.
Bullock and Turner married in 1958. Soon after, Turner then re-christened his new bride calling her Tina after Sheena, the so-called queen of the jungle. When a session singer, who was to record Turner's song "A Fool in Love" was unable to show up, Tina took over the vocal duties, and the song became the first single by Ike and Tina Turner. The single, which was released on the Sue label in 1960, climbed to number two on the American R&B chart, and peaked at number 27 on the pop chart. The Rhythm Kings now became members of the newly formed Ike and Tina Turner Revue. The Revue also featured the Ikettes, who were Tina's backing singers and dancers. The Ikettes and Tina infused the Revue with a seductive sexuality as they strutted across the stage in short skirts and high heels.
Their next single "I Idolize You" made the R&B top five while languishing in the lower reaches of the pop chart, in December of 1960. Ike and Tina Turner's next single, "It's Gonna Work Out Fine," an R&B number two hit, crashed the pop top 20 and landed at number 14, in the autumn of 1961. A few months later their debut album, The Soul of Ike and Tina Turner, was released. In 1962, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue released two more albums on Sue, It's Gonna Work Out Fine and Don't Play Me Cheap. Although a consistently popular act on the R&B circuit, in America, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue did not manage to parlay its tremendous success on to the predominantly white pop market in America. They signed with Warner Brothers, in 1965, and released Live! The Ike and Tina Turner Show.
The dawn of 1966 marked a turning point in the fame and fortune of Ike and Tina Turner. Recalcitrant record producer Phil Spector, who offered to produce a single for Tina, provided that Ike had no input on the song, contacted them. Ike was reluctant at first but then changed his mind when Spector offered to put both his and Tina's names on the record. Spector paid him $20,000 for Tina's services. The resultant single "River Deep, Mountain High," was, in effect, Tina's first solo recording, despite the fact that Ike was also named on the record. Released in 1966, the single failed to ignite the American singles chart and languished at number 88. On the Fans of Tina website, Tina was quoted as saying that the reason "River Deep, Mountain High, had not done so well in America was that "it was too black for the pop radio stations and too pop for the black stations."
All of her hard work was not for naught, though, as "River Deep, Mountain High" rocketed up the British singles chart and landed at number three. All of a sudden, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue was the next big thing in Europe, where they were treated as major celebrities. In America, however, they were still relegated to playing solely the R&B circuit. In October of 1966, the album River Deep, Mountain High cracked the British top thirty. The Ike and Tina Turner Revue were then asked to open for the Rolling Stones on their 1966 tour of England. They continued to tour and released The Ike and Tina Turner Show Vol. II in the spring of 1967. Their next record, So Fine, was released on Pompeii, in 1968.
Signing to a two-album contract with Blue Thumb Records, Ike and Tina Turner released Outta Season and The Hunter, in 1969. They also signed a long-term contract with Minit and released the live In Person in 1969. Three years after it was released in England, River Deep, Mountain High was released in America by A&M. It peaked at number 102. Another supporting slot with the Rolling Stones, this time in America, brought the busy year of 1969 to a close for Ike and Tina Turner.
Come Together featuring a cover of the Beatles' song of the same name, and a cover of the Sly and the Family Stone song "I Want to Take You Higher" was released in 1970. The following year, Ike and Tina Turner finally made it big, in terms of success, on the American pop chart as their R&B based cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Proud Mary" cracked the top five. The album it was culled from, Workin' Together, made it to number 25 on the American album chart, as did their live double album Live from Carnegie Hall/What You Hear is What You Get, both of which were released in 1971. In late 1971, 'Nuff Said was released, but failed to gain the success of its predecessors.
Throughout most of their career and marriage, Ike physically and emotionally abused Tina. After a bloody fight on July 2, 1976, Tina decided that she had had enough and walked out on her husband. She left with a gas card and less than 40 cents to her name. In October of 1976, their professional partnership was officially dissolved. Two years later, their divorce became final.
In 1991, Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
by Mary Alice Adams
Ike and Tina Turner's Career
Group formed in St. Louis, MO, 1956; signed to Sue Records and released "A Fool in Love," 1960; released "I Idolize You," 1960, released "It's Gonna Work Out Fine," 1961; released The Soul of Ike and Tina Turner, 1961; released Don't Play Me Cheap, 1962; released It's Gonna Work Out Fine, 1962; signed with Warner Brothers and released Live! The Ike and Tina Turner Show, 1965; signed with Phillies and released "River Deep, Mountain High," 1966; signed to Pompeii and released Ike and Tina Turner Show Vol. II, 1967; released So Fine, 1968; signed to A&M and released River Deep, Mountain High, 1969; signed to Blue Thumb and released Outta Season, 1969; released The Hunter, 1969; signed to Minit and released In Person, 1969; released Come Together, 1970; released Workin' Together, c. 1970; released Live from Carnegie Hall/What You Hear is What You Get, 1971; released 'Nuff Said, 1971, released Feel Good, 1972; released Nutbush City Limits, 1974.
Ike and Tina Turner's Awards
Gold certification for "Proud Mary," 1971; gold certification for Live from Carnegie Hall/What You Hear is What You Get, 1972; inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1991.
- Selected discography
- The Soul of Ike and Tina Turner , Sue, 1961.
- Don't Play Me Cheap , Sue, 1962.
- It's Gonna Work Out Fine , Sue, 1962
- Live! The Ike and Tina Turner Show , Warner Brothers, 1965.
- Ike and Tina Turner Show Vol. II , Pompeii, 1967.
- So Fine , Pompeii, 1968.
- River Deep, Mountain High , A&M, 1969.
- Outta Season , Blue Thumb, 1969.
- The Hunter , Blue Thumb, 1969.
- In Person , Minit, 1969.
- Come Together , Liberty, 1970.
- Workin' Together , Liberty, c. 1970.
- Live from Carnegie Hall/What You Hear is What You Get , United Artists, 1971.
- 'Nuff Said , United Artists, 1971.
- Feel Good , United Artists, 1972.
- Nutbush City Limits , United Artists, 1974.
December 4, 2005: Turner was named as a recipient of the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors in the Performing Arts. The award will be presented in a ceremony on December 4 that will be broadcast by CBS. Source: New York Times, www.nytimes.com, September 7, 2005
- Helander, Brock, ed. Rock Who's Who, second edition, Schirmer, 1996.
- Rees, Dayfdd, and Luke Crampton, Encyclopedia of Rock Stars, DK, 1989.
- members.aol.com/fansoftina/english/lifestory.html (October 13, 1998).
- http://www.rockhall.com/induct/turnike.html (September 9, 1998).
- http://www.tristatenet.org/cpb/MSWritersAndMusicians/musicians/Turner.html (October 4, 1998).
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