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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007, 13:09 GMT
The musical legacy of Ike Turner
Ike Turner
Turner influenced British rock acts
US Soul legend Ike Turner has died at the age of 76.

Throughout his career, the reputation of Tina Turner's former husband was peppered with accusations that he abused her during their 18-year marriage.

But to many music lovers, he was best known as the man who made the first rock 'n' roll record, Rocket 88, in 1951.


I think he was the cornerstone of modern day rock 'n' roll really. His loss is huge.

The reason for that is he was the guy who many considered made the first rock 'n' roll record with Rocket 88 - even though it wasn't actually credited to him.

The way in which he continued to develop the talent of others as well as his own was hugely significant.

He proceeded to influence British rockers from the mid-1960s onwards. Without Ike you wouldn't have had The Stones and Zeppelin. People like that wouldn't have had the source material on which they drew.

Ike Turner
Ike Turner attended the Mojo Awards in June

There are various people who want to write the story of Ike Turner, "the rock monster". I find that quite distasteful to be honest because, at the end of the day, the thing that I'm into with Ike Turner is his music.

People are very quick to judge. He came to the Mojo awards this year and we gave him an award for what he achieved musically.

Then I had a bunch of people from the broadsheets who tried to harangue me for giving the guy who had created so much an award for his music.

He was a very gracious man who was full of the joys of spring. I was shocked to find he had gone to be honest. He was in great form and he was enjoying himself.


In musical terms [he was] very important. Rocket 88 is one of the two records that can claim to be the first rock 'n' roll record, the other being The Fat Man by Fats Domino from 1949.

But Rock 88 does have a couple of elements which the Fat Man did not. The wailing saxophone and that distorted electric guitar.

It was number one in the rhythm and blues chart for five weeks, it's in the Grammy Hall of Fame and it was an indisputable claim to fame for Ike Turner, even though his lead singer and saxophonist, Jackie Brenston, got the label credit.

Tina and Ike Turner
Ike and Tina Turner won a Grammy in 1972 for Proud Mary

He was a link in the chain. Let's not say he invented rock 'n' roll, because no single person invented an ever-ongoing revolution of music, but nonetheless he is definitely there.

To critics he will be known as a great founder, unfortunately to the general public he will always be known as a brutal man.

When he was eight years old his minister father was killed by a mob of white people in Mississippi. You can understand he would be angry. Unfortunately, unlike many angry people who manage to keep their fury inside them, his directed it outward, as well as towards himself.

He did abuse Tina quite terribly and he abused himself, and it found him in prison later in his life. I do believe that stress and anguish does, in some cases, lead to creativity, there's no doubt about it.

His continued, putting himself on a treadmill, because you have to remember that his type of music and his type of presentation, which was the review, required constant touring.

He was always on the road and he drove himself as well as punishing others.


Although there had been black rock 'n' rollers who had made it big already, they really only played to a white audience.

Ike and Tina played to a mixed audience and he deliberately desegregated audiences in the southern states and he wouldn't play to any segregated audiences at all.

Because he had such a big band and entourage he desegregated a lot of the hotels because the hotel chains wouldn't want to miss out on the money they would make from him touring the southern states.

US soul musician Ike Turner dies
13 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
Obituary: Ike Turner
13 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
In pictures: Ike Turner
13 Dec 07 |  In Pictures

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