I just got word that Ike Turner has died today at his home in California. He was 76 years old. Ike Turner was one of the true architects of American music as we know it. In my mind he was as important to music as anybody. Along with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Bo Diddley, he almost invented Rock & Roll back in the 50s. His song "Rocket 88" was the first Rock & Roll song in 1951, although it was credited to Jackie Brenston, the singer on the track.
Throughout his career Ike was overshadowed by his wife Tina. He discovered her and made her the singer in his band in the mid 50s, and he married her in 1958. He was important as a band leader throughout the 60's, influencing a score of musicians and launching the careers of several. His struggles with domestic violence and drug abuse are well-known. He finally was arrested for drugs and spent 17 months in prison in 1989-1990. After his release he was off drugs and sober. He continued his musical career, winning a Grammy earlier this year for the blues cd "Rising With The Blues."
Ike Turner will be missed. There was nobody like him.