Metal Blade Records On May 17, As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis appeared in…
- Posted on Dec 12th 2007 4:10PM by Gaylord Fields
Born in Mississippi, Turner, who was equally accomplished on guitar and piano, got his start as the bandleader of Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm. In 1951, he and his combo recorded, at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, what many consider the first rock 'n' roll song, 'Rocket 88,' released under the name Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats. The key feature of the record, which is a boogie-woogie paean to drinking and driving in the latest -model V8 Olds, is the song's distorted guitar sound, serendipitously brought about by a faulty amplifier.
Relocating his band to St. Louis, Turner, in the late '50s, met up with a gruff-voiced teenage vocalist from Nutbush, Tenn., known as Anna Mae Bullock, whom he renamed Tina Turner. The musical and domestic partners quickly won a reputation as one of the most dynamic acts in rock and soul throughout the '60s and early '70s, whose memorable song catalog includes 'A Fool in Love,' 'It's Gonna Work Out Fine,' 'River Deep, Mountain High,' 'Proud Mary' and 'Nutbush City Limits.'
Ike Turner's personal life, especially concerning his marriage to Tina, however, was steeped in trouble and controversy, namely widely reported tales of domestic abuse against his wife, as depicted in Tina Turner's biographical 1993 film 'What's Love Got to Do With It.' In addition, Ike was convicted of a drug charge in the late '80s, for which he served time.
Though Ike & Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock Hall in 1991, Ike's contribution to the development of rock 'n' roll and rhythm & blues, and especially soul music, has gone relatively unheralded in comparison to many of the other acknowledged forebears of rock. Yet despite the more ignominious aspects of his personal life, his towering influence on music cannot be easily swept aside. While there would have been rock without Ike Turner, it's fair to say it would be a diminished beast had he and his band not trudged into a recording studio with a broken amp one day in Memphis more than 55 years ago.