Ike Turner Dies In San Diego At Age 76

The Man upstairs just added another piece to the band

It’s a shame that Ike was most known (to younger generations) for abusing ex-wife Tina Turner. I hope as his life progressed he truly found peace with himself and lived his life accordingly.

The Father of Rock & Roll was multi-talented on the stage as well as behind the scenes and is widely known as one of the best band leaders of all time.


Ike Turner, whose role as one of rock’s critical architects was overshadowed by his ogrelike image as the man who brutally abused former wife Tina Turner, died Wednesday at his home in suburban San Diego. He was 76.

“He did pass away this morning” at his home in San Marcos, 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 TMZ.com.

Turner managed to rehabilitate his image somewhat in later years, touring around the globe with his band 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.”

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.

In a 2001 interview with The Associated Press, Turner denied his ex-wife’s claims of abuse and expressed frustration that he had been demonized in the media while his historic role in rock’s beginnings had been ignored.

“You can go ask Snoop Dogg or Eminem, you can ask the Rolling Stones or (Eric) Clapton, or you can ask anybody — anybody, they all know my contribution to music, but it hasn’t been in print about what I’ve done or what I’ve contributed until now,” he said.

Turner, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is credited by many rock historians with making the first rock ‘n’ roll record, “Rocket 88,” in 1951. Produced by the legendary Sam Phillips, it was groundbreaking for its use of distorted electric guitar.

But as would be the case for most of his career, Turner, a prolific session guitarist and piano player, was not the star on the record — it was recorded with Turner’s band but credited to singer Jackie Brenston.

And it would be another singer — a young woman named Anna Mae Bullock — who would bring Turner his greatest fame, and infamy.

Turner met the 18-year-old Bullock, whom he would later marry, in 1959 and quickly made the husky-voiced woman the lead singer of his group, refashioning her into the sexy Tina Turner. Her stage persona was highlighted by short skirts and stiletto heels that made her legs her most visible asset. But despite the glamorous image, she still sang with the grit and fervor of a rock singer with a twist of soul.

The pair would have two sons. They also produced a string of hits. The first, “A Fool In Love,” was a top R&B song in 1959, and others followed, including “I Idolize You” and “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine.”

But over the years they’re genre-defying sound would make them favorites on the rock ‘n’ roll scene, as they opened for acts like the Rolling Stones.

The densely layered hit “River Deep, Mountain High” was one of producer Phil Spector’s proudest creations. A rousing version of “Proud Mary,” a cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit, became their signature song and won them a Grammy for best R&B vocal performance by a group.

Still, their hits were often sporadic, and while their public life depicted a powerful, dynamic duo, Tina Turner would later charge that her husband was an overbearing wife abuser and cocaine addict.

In her 1987 autobiography, “I, Tina,” she narrated a harrowing tale of abuse, including suffering a broken nose. She said that cycle ended after a vicious fight between the pair in the back seat of a car in Las Vegas, where they were scheduled to perform.

It was the only time she ever fought back against her husband, Turner said.

After the two broke up, both fell into obscurity and endured money woes for years before Tina Turner made a dramatic comeback in 1982 with the release of the album “Private Dancer,” a multiplatinum success with hits such as “Let’s Stay Together” and “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”

The movie based on her life, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” was also a hit, earning Angela Bassett an Oscar nomination.

But Fishburne’s glowering depiction of Ike Turner also furthered Turner’s reputation as a rock villain.

Meanwhile, Turner never again had the success he enjoyed with his former wife.

After years of drug abuse, he was jailed in 1989 and served 17 months.

Turner told the AP he originally began using drugs to stay awake and handle the rigors of nonstop touring during his glory years.

“My experience, man, with drugs — I can’t say that I’m proud that I did drugs, but I’m glad I’m still alive to convey how I came through,” he said. “I’m a good example that you can go to the bottom. … I used to pray, `God, if you let me get three days clean, I will never look back.’ But I never did get to three days. You know why? Because I would lie to myself. And then only when I went to jail, man, did I get those three days. And man, I haven’t looked back since then.”

But while he would readily admit to drug abuse, Turner always denied abusing his ex-wife.

After years out of the spotlight his career finally began to revive in 2001 when he released the album “Here and Now.” The recording won rave reviews and a Grammy nomination and finally helped shift some of the public’s attention away from his troubled past and onto his musical legacy.

“His last chapter in life shouldn’t be drug abuse and the problems he had with Tina,” said Rob Johnson, the producer of “Here and Now.”

Turner spent his later years making more music and touring, even while he battled emphysema.

Accolades for his both his early and later work continued to come in as he grew older, and the once-broke Turner managed to garner a comfortable income as his songs were sampled by a variety of rap acts.

In interviews toward the end of his life, Turner would acknowledge having made many mistakes, but maintained he was still able to carry himself with pride.

“I know what I am in my heart. And I know regardless of what I’ve done, good and bad, it took it all to make me what I am today,” he once told the AP.


21 Responses to “Ike Turner Dies In San Diego At Age 76”

  1. RIP Ike

  2. I met Ike a couple of years ago at the Clearwater Jazz Festival and that man was 100% legit. Fuck that movie and know that the guitar was an extension of his soul.

  3. I guess he was an easy target.

  4. GrandNubian Says:

    RIP brother Ike….

  5. I’m glad this site is paying honor to a troubled, put legendary muscian, in Ike Turner. His influence in music will always live on.

  6. I agree the movie sucked, but I also believe Tina’s accusations that Turner was a wife beater. That doesn’t change the fact that he was a rock/r&b pioneer.

    I do find it interesting that Turner has been demonized by the press & music critics, when someone like Jerry Lee Lewis is looked upon like a grand old man of rock & roll. Lewis has a history of gun violence, bigamy, drug addiction and tax delinquency. His sixth wife was also found dead at their home, under mysterious circumstances.

    From the NPR obit:
    “Turner, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is credited by many rock historians with making the first rock ‘n’ roll record, “Rocket 88,””

    In case anyone here is unfamiliar with ‘Rocket 88’, here it is, great song:
    [audio src="http://podcast.xs4all.nl/upload/werksman-ike-turner-rocket-88.mp3" /]

  7. Jacemrva,

    Thanks for the info.

  8. As much as he was a great musician, that still doesn’t excuse him for domestic violence. There is no excuse for domestic violence. Period. NO matter how famous you are, how good of a professional athlete you are, or how good of a musician you are. Real men don’t use violence.

  9. Ctrenta,

    I didn’t know the man and just choose to respect him in death. None of us think that domestic violence is ok. I do know that people make all kinds of mistakes in life and I hope he made peace with his creator.

    Before we close our eyes for the last time we would have all made a lot of mistakes.

  10. Beating a grown woman is better than molesting a little girl. Do you like R.Kelly ctrenta?

  11. DaveMac,

    I think you should leave that agrument alone. Both are horrible crimes. So is cheating with a married man. (Tina) Wrong is wrong. We need to stop being so judgemental.

  12. No I think Ike is a piece of crap for what he did, beating women, but at the same time R. Kelly is even lower than him. I just wonder if ctrenta also hates R.Kelly.

  13. The man was a musical genius. He turned Anna Mae Bullock into Tina Turner. R.I.P. Ike.

  14. DavidMac,

    I’m in agreement with you on R.Kelly.

  15. Fender Bass Says:

    One day a white S.U.V. came fast down mt street just as I was getting in my car. I don’t like people going fast down my street there are alot of kids. So I followed this S.U.V. and it pulled into the same parking lot I was going to. I got out of my car and yelled at the driver , hey man you need to slow down. The driver turned to my and opologized for speeding down my street very nicely. The driver was Ike. My actions where that of someone with rage. Ike had the perfect time to show his. That is not what I saw. I am a musicin also. After I noticed who he was I really wanted to talk with the man for a bit, but I let my being pissed get in the way. My loss Ike is a legand. I disagree with the hole domestic violence thing also, that’s not cool. I just saying that when he turned to me after me giving him the business he was cool. R.I.P. Ike

  16. Thanks for your comment Fender Bass.

  17. DavidMac, Ike Turner is not here to defend himself against the accusations whether or not they happened. If it did happen, then no there’s no excuse, but to suggest that Ike Turner is the worst criminal of all time is just rubbish.

    No, there’s no excuse to hit or kill any1 other than to protect yourself. But this case aside, women also commit domestic violence. DavidMac, women have also slapped their husbands & hit them with objects. If you’re suggesting that men should tolerate violence when a women commits it against a man, then it’s a bad idea, as what Tammy Bruce believes.

    There have been instances where women have slapped their husbands & later escalated to more violent acts such as stabbing their husbands to even killing them. Tammy Bruce the lesbian talk show hostess is also an apologist for statutory rape & child molestation when women commit it. DavidMac, women can also be violent.

  18. On another note, Ike & Tina Turner split up in 1978. The statute of limitations on the wifebeating have run out & it just makes no sense to condemn Ike Turner for whether he hit Tina Turner many years earlier. Yes, men who hit their wives or wives who hit their husbands should be arrested & do jail time, but after so many years, let it go.

    It’s also noteworthy that many of the same people who condemn Ike Turner & others when they hit their wives, make the same excuses when women hit their husbands under the same circumstances such as the P.O.S. Tammy Bruce who thinks child molestation is Okay when the perpetrator is a woman.

  19. Womenalsopoo Says:

    David Mac, if a woman hits a man, the woman should be arrested for battery. No, it still doesn’t excuse beating a woman up & there’s no excuse to hit or kill any1 other than in self defense.

    To suggest that if a woman slaps a man, the man should just walk away & do nothing is a bad idea. If a woman thinks that she can get away with slapping her husband, she may then believe that she can get away with more violent acts such as stabbing her husband, hitting him with a bat or even killing him. Yet lesbian talk show hostess Tammy Bruce who molests little girls doesn’t think that a man should have a right to defend himself if a woman is hitting her husband with a bat.

    In 1999, there was an incident where a woman shot & killed 3 of her 4 kids. This woman had hit her husband for years with her hands & objects. The man tolerated it & just walked away as some posters here suggest. Well in 1999, she shot & killed 3 of the 4 kids & couldn’t kill the 4th 1 only because the bullets ran out. The idea some of you here suggest which is ‘the man should do nothing if a woman hits him’ did no justice to the 3 kids. Women who slap their husbands must be treated as criminals, even if the lesbian molester Tammy Bruce says otherwise.

  20. hoc tieng anh…

    […]Ike Turner Dies In San Diego At Age 76 « The Starting Five[…]…

  21. R.I.P. Ike Tina finally got her peace..

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