Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ike Turner Joins the Big Band in the Sky

Mention Ike Turner's name an most people will immediately think, wife beater and the probably the untalented one out of Ike and Tina Turner. Yesterday Ike died at his home in San Diego aged 76 and while I'm not for one second condoning what he did to Tina it's sad that is what he will chiefly be remembered for. The fact is he should be remembered for his music and none more so that Rocket 88 the song he recorded at Sun Studios with Jackie Brenston in 1951. While it is Jackie's name that appeared on the record it is Ike's song - he conceived t and played on it. For many people this is the first rock and roll record.

It was Sam Phillip’s first hit and Brenston was a member of Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm band and Ike told me when I interviewed him in Memphis , “It was my record, they just didn't put my name on it”. Howlin' Wolf also got his break through Ike Turner in 1951. Ike was Sun’s part time scout and he took the big man to Sun where he recorded ‘Moanin’ At Midnight’ and ‘How Many More Years’, which became his first single.

Ike's fantastic records with Tina - and none better than ‘Nutbush City Limits’ with his amazing guitar chops - have a special place in the history of pop. As is all too often the case the personal life of some of our musical heroes gets in the way of just loving the music.


Richard Evans said...

Wife-beater he may have been, Richard, but it didn't prevent me from shaking his hand and thanking him for some of the greatest rock'n'roll music when we met him backstage in Memphis in 2000.

r morris said...

RIP Ike.
The obit in the paper here today mentioned that many Rock and Roll historians consider Ike's 'Rocket 88' to be the first real rock and roll record. Would you agree with that, Richard?

Richard Havers said...

Rob, I wouldn't actually. I don't subscribe to the big bang theory of roc and roll. it was a slow burn development right through the late '40s on into the 50s. Listen to Louis Jordan and many of the other black jump bands and what they were playing was as much r & r as Rocket 88. It's still a hell of a record though!

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

I always felt he had quite a deal of talent.