Ike Turner Biography

Ike Turner’s story resonates with raw talent, boundless ambition, and the indomitable spirit of redemption. Join Cole13 as we delve into the captivating biography of a man who played a key role in shaping the very foundations of modern music.

Who Is Ike Turner?

Ike Turner, the R&B icon, grew up playing the blues. In 1956, he met Anna Mae Bullock, a young vocalist. He married her and was important in the development of her stage character, Tina Turner. The couple formed the Ike and Tina Turner Revue and had numerous singles, including “A Fool In Love,” “Baby Get It On,” and “Nutbush City Limits.” The duo’s version of “Proud Mary” garnered them their lone Grammy Award together in 1971, and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 20 years later. Their marriage was far less successful, and it ended in divorce in 1978, after Ike had physically mistreated Tina for years. Ike achieved solo success in the blues genre again, collecting a second Grammy in 2006. Turner, 76, died of a cocaine overdose in 2007.

How Did Ike Turner Music Start His Music Career?

Ike Wister Turner was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on November 5, 1931. Despite the fact that his entire legal name was Ike Wister Turner, he spent much of his childhood believing it was Izear Lustre Turner Jr., after his father. Izear was a preacher who was the focus of a white mob that nearly killed him. He died thereafter, leaving Ike to be raised by his mother, Beatrice Cushenberry. 


Ike began playing boogie-woogie blues on the piano as a kid, which he learned from Pinetop Perkins. He eventually learned to play the guitar. Turner formed the Kings of Rhythm band in the late 1940s. He and his band traveled to Memphis in 1951 to record at the famed Sun Studios, which was overseen by recording icon Sam Phillips. Many believe their song, “Rocket 88,” to be the first rock ‘n’ roll recording. It was released as Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats and reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart.

Brenston was Turner’s primary vocalist who eventually quit to go solo. Turner and his band remained in Memphis, frequently participating in recording sessions with blues superstars such as Elmore James and Buddy Guy. In addition to being a musician, he worked as a talent scout for Modern Records, where he discovered B.B. King and Howlin’ Wolf. In the mid-1950s, Turner moved to St. Louis.

How Did Ike and Tina Turner Start?

Tina and Ike Turner, seen here in a circa 1974 photo.
Tina and Ike Turner, seen here in a circa 1974 photo.

Turner’s life began to alter dramatically in 1956 when he met a youngster called Anna Mae Bullock. When the teenage vocalist joined the band, Ike assisted her in becoming Tina Turner by altering her name. They quickly became known as the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, and Ike composed their first great song, “A Fool In Love,” which was published in 1960. Others followed, including “I Idolise You,” “Poor Fool,” and “It’s Going to Work Out Fine,” for which they received their first Grammy nomination.

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They had a love connection offstage and had a son, Ronnie. Ike and Tina married in Tijuana, Mexico in 1962. Although Ronnie was their only child, they adopted three others: Ike Jr. and Michael from Ike’s prior relationship, as well as Craig from Tina’s previous relationship.

In the late 1960s, Ike and Tina were invited to open for the Rolling Stones, which brought their daring brand of soul-infused rock music to a new audience. They achieved crossover success with a version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary,” which reached the mainstream and R&B charts on Billboard. This song also earned them their first and only Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1971.

Tina’s last success with them was “Nutbush City Limits,” which was released in 1973. The Gospel According to Ike and Tina, one of their final albums together, garnered them their final Grammy nomination for Best Soul Gospel Performance.

Ike Turner Abuse Allegations

Ike and Tina had been a popular stage combination for years, but their lives behind the scenes were drastically different. Ike had acquired a cocaine addiction, and Tina ultimately left him in 1976 after years of physical violence and adultery from Ike. Their divorce was finalized in 1978, after 16 years of marriage, with Ike keeping the majority of their assets.

Tina eventually detailed the facts of the abuse in her autobiography, I, Tina, published in 1986. Her book inspired the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do With It, starring Angela Bassett as Tina and Laurence Fishburne as Ike. The film depicted Ike as a wife-beating musical genius who was frequently high on drugs. Both Bassett and Fishburne were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances.

Ike fiercely refuted the claims stated in I, Tina and objected to his portrayal onscreen. In his 1999 book, Takin’ Back My Name, he did admit to punching her.

Ike Turner Drug Addiction and Prison Sentence

Ike struggled professionally and personally as Tina’s solo career soared in the 1980s and 1990s. His studio burnt down in 1982, and his cocaine addiction spiraled out of control, resulting in many arrests. He used to estimate that he spent more than $35,000 every month on drugs.

His drug habit eventually led to an 18-month prison sentence for cocaine possession beginning in 1989. When the Ike & Tina Turner Revue was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, he was still serving time in a San Luis Obispo, California, prison, and he had to skip the event.

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Turner, on the other hand, was not resentful of his incarceration. “I think prison may have been one of the best things that ever happened to me,” he told The Los Angeles Times after being released. “You see, I got involved with drugs, and jail has a way of bringing things back into perspective.” It teaches you to value life.”

Ike Turner Professional Success

Turner’s career flourished once he became drug-free. In 2001, he released Here and Now, his first commercial album in 23 years. It received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album.

Ike Turner won his second Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album for Risin’ with the Blues.
Ike Turner won his second Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album for Risin’ with the Blues.

Turner won the W.C. Handy Blues Awards’ 2002 Comeback Album of the Year the following year. In 2006, he won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album for his next original song, Risin’ with the Blues.

Ike Turner’s Wives and Children

ike tina turner pose for a portrait with their son and step news photo 1685029250

Ike Turner, a well-known ladies’ man, claimed to have been married 14 times. Details about four of his marriages are known. Turner has six children from his various relationships: Ike Jr., Michael, Twanna, Craig, Ronnie, and Mia.

Turner and his then-girlfriend Lorraine Taylor had two sons, Ike Jr. and Michael, in the late 1950s. He and Pat Richard had a daughter, Twanna, at this period, though they didn’t marry until later in life.

For 16 years, Ike was married to Tina Turner. They married in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1962, after having a son, Ronnie, in October 1960. Tina’s son Craig, whom she had soon before beginning her relationship with Ike, was adopted by Ike after their wedding. Tina also adopted Ike Jr. and Michael, Ike’s elder kids. Tina left their rocky marriage in 1976, and two years later, their divorce was finalized.

Ike married Margaret Ann Thomas, a backup singer who performed as one of the Ikettes, in 1981. Their love relationship began with Ike’s marriage to Tina. Ike and Thomas had a daughter called Mia in 1969.

From 1995 until 2000, Ike was married to Jeanette Bazzell Turner. Following their divorce, they continued a non-romantic connection.

Ike married Audrey Madison Turner, his long-term lover, for a brief while in 2006. They married in October, but Ike filed for divorce in December of that year. After the processes were completed, the couple was able to save their relationship.

When Did Ike Turner Die?

Ike Turner was dragged back into his drug addiction at the end of his life. Turner died of a cocaine overdose in his San Marcos, California, home on December 12, 2007. High blood pressure and emphysema were also factors in his death. He was 76.

Ike Turner Quotes

  • What I love is to play guitar and piano and create music from my heart.
  • Jail has a way of putting things back into their proper perspective. It teaches you to appreciate life.
  • Everybody who goes through cocaine wants to quit, but stopping is harder than you think.
  • It didn’t feel like I hurt her. It ain’t like I walk around trying to hurt people. I don’t feel that I’m to be condemned.
  • I’m a very dominant type. When you’ve got 26 people, you’ve got a lot of opinions. You go talk to anybody that’s a leader. They say what they, and they’re not asking. People don’t respect that, but they respect what it accomplishes.
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What was Ike Turner’s cause of death?

Ike Turner, who had been addicted to cocaine for at least 15 years, was convicted of narcotics offenses and sentenced to 18 months in jail. He relapsed in 2004, and died of a drug overdose in 2007, after being released in 1991.

Did Tina Turner go to Ike’s funeral?

So it’s hardly surprising that when her ex-husband died in 2007, she didn’t attend his burial. Tina did not attend Ike’s burial, but she continued to describe their marriage in interviews and in her 2018 book, My Love Story. Tina, her 2021 HBO documentary, also featured her opinions on her ex’s death.

How old was Ike when he met Tina?

Tina, then 17, and used by her original name Anna Mae Bullock, became a fan of Ike’s band, Kings of Rhythm, after seeing them perform at the Manhattan Club in East St. Louis, Illinois, according to her 1986 autobiography. She instantly became friends with Ike, 25, and the other members of the band.

How many biological kids did Ike Turner have?

Tina Turner and Ike Turner were married for 16 years until divorcing in 1978. Tina adopted two of Ike’s other children, Ike Turner Jr. and Michael Turner, and raised them as her own. The marriage had two biological sons, Ronald Renelle Turner, and Craig Raymond Turner.

How much money did Ike Turner have when he died?

According to the reports from other news outlets, his fortune was believed to be $500 thousand at the time of his death. According to the San Diego medical examiner, Ike Turner died of an accidental cocaine overdose.

Who did Tina Turner marry after Ike?

Tina Turner met and married her real love, Erwin Bach. The “Queen of Rock and Roll” met the former music mogul a decade after fleeing her violent first husband and musical collaborator, Ike Turner, with whom she has four children.

Did Tina ever forgive Ike?

Tina Turner, the iconic musician, has stated in a new interview with The Times of London that she has forgiven her ex-husband Ike for years of physical and mental abuse. When asked about Ike, Tina told the newspaper, “I have forgiven him as an old person, but it would not work with him.”