• Ike Turner Jr. was an American musician and bandleader born in 1931 in Mississippi
• He was 76 years old at the time of his death in 2007 due to a cocaine overdose
• He was a self-taught pianist, learning at age 12 and playing professionally by age 18
• In 1951 he and his band released "Rocket 88" which topped the Billboard R&B charts and sold over half a million copies
• In the '90s he released his solo album "Here and Now" and in 2006 released his final album "Risin' With the Blues"

Who was Ike Turner Jr?

American musician and bandleader Izear Luster ‘Ike’ Turner Jr. was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi USA, on 5 November 1931, meaning that his zodiac sign was Scorpio. He’s still remembered best for the rock ‘n’ roll songs which he released in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when he was still married to (now) Swiss actress and singer Tina Turner, and formed the duo Ike & Tina Turner.

Ike passed away on 12 December 2007, at his home in San Marcos, California; he was 76 years old and had predicted his own death, having told his assistant Falina Rasool only two days earlier that he was dying and would not live to see another Christmas. It was later revealed that he had died from a cocaine overdose.

Early life and education

Ike and his older sister Lee Ethel Knight were raised in Clarksdale by their father Izear Luster Turner who was a Baptist minister, and mother Beatrice Cushenberry who was a seamstress; Izear and Beatrice were Creole.

Ike was three years old when he watched a white mob beat his father; he was told that his father was having an affair, and that the beating was retaliation. Izear was made an invalid and lived in the family’s yard in a tent for two years, prior to passing away when Ike was five. Beatrice went on to marry artist Philip Reese, who was an alcoholic; Philip and Ike didn’t get along, and after Philip once gave him a whipping, Ike knocked him out with a lumber and ran away from home for a couple of days. He still had respect for Philip, and after Beatrice passed away in 1959, Ike let Philip live in one of his homes, and took care of him until he died two years later.

When he was 12, Ike was sexually abused by two elderly women. He studied at Booker T. Washington Elementary School, but quit when he was 14 and began working at the Alcazar Hotel as an elevator operator; in his spare time he enjoyed watching DJ John Friskillo working at the WROX radio station. After John saw Ike watching him, he taught him various things about the control room, and eventually allowed him to play records; Ike was then hired as the late-afternoon DJ by the station’s manager.

He was 12 when he began learning to play the piano, and was an avid pianist by the time he turned 18.

Ike’s career

Ike was still a teenager when he became a member of the local rhythm ensemble Tophatters; they numbered over 30 members, but after a year split into two groups, as some wanted to play jazz music, while Ike and the others wanted to play boogie-woogie and blues.

Ike and his band released their original song “Rocket 88” in April 1951, and it topped the Billboard R&B charts, holding the position for five weeks, selling over half a million copies. The band, which they named Kings of Rhythm, fell apart because of ego clashes not long after that.

Ike went on to work as a talent scout, and arranged for the Beale Streeters and B. B. King to record their first songs, while Ike also played the piano on some of B. B. King’s songs, including “3 O’Clock Blues” and “You Know I Love You”. The year 1951 saw him and the late American blues singer Little Junior Parker found a blues band together with Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy; they added Marion Louis Lee to the band in the following year, and were initially called Bonnie and Ike Turner. Ike learned to play the guitar in 1953 and 1954, and in the same year, he and his bandmates agreed to be called Kings of Rhythm.

They toured around the states in the following years, and it was in 1957 that Ike met Ann Bullock, while she was watching him and his Kings of Rhythm perform in East St. Louis; Ike persuaded Ann to rename herself Tina, although her family and friends continued calling her Ann, and she went on to launch her career in 1960. He trademarked the name ‘Tina Turner’ because he liked it so much, and they began playing together as the duo Ike & Tina Turner.

Their 1960 single “A Fool in Love” was a huge hit, selling over a million copies in the US alone, while some of their following hit songs were “I Idolize You”, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” and “Poor Fool”.

Ike and the Kings of Rhythm released their album “A Black Man’s Soul” in 1969, while he and Tina then released their albums “The Hunter” and “Outta Season”. The year 1972 saw Ike open his own recording studio, Bolic Sound, and some of the people who recorded there were Frank Zappa, George Harrison and Paul McCartney.

Ike also worked on his solo career, and his two albums “Blues Roots” and “Bad Dreams” were released in 1972 and 1973, respectively. Also in 1973, they released the worldwide popular track “Nutbush City Limits”, but in 1976, Ike & Tina Turner was no more after they had a violent altercation, which led Tina to file for divorce on 27 July. For the following eight years, American vocalist Hollee Thee Maxwell often sang with Ike; he had problems with his music career during the ‘80s, mostly because he became addicted to cocaine.

Ike had a tough time returning to music, but re-emerged in the ‘90s with his and his then-wife Jeanette Bazzell Turner’s band the Ikettes; he released his new solo album “Here and Now” in 2001, and it was a huge hit.

Ike’s final album “Risin’ With the Blues” was released in 2006.

December 12th, 2007: Ike Turner died of a cocaine overdose at his home in San Marcos, California, at the age of…

Posted by American Blues Scene on Thursday, December 12, 2013

Love life and wives

Ike claimed that he had 14 wives, and that he often married another women before he had officially divorced his then-wife.

He was 16 when he married his first wife, Edna Dean Stewart, on 10 April 1948, but Edna left him because she didn’t want to live in Clarksdale, returning to her hometown of Ruleville, Mississippi.

He was then married to Velma Davis (nee Dishman), Rosa Lee Sane (who was eventually put in an insane asylum), Marion Louis Lee, and Alice.

When he met Anna Bullock (Tina Turner) in 1957, she was dating Raymond Hill who was Ike’s saxophonist, but Raymond left her before their son Craig was born in 1958. Ike and Anna then began an affair, and she became pregnant in 1960; their son Ronnie was born in October of the same year. The two married in Tijuana in 1962; their divorce was finalized in 1978. From 1981 to 1990, Ike was married to Margaret Ann Thomas, and then to Jeanette Bazzell from 1995 to 2000; he married American singer Audrey Madison on 8 October 2006 – they divorced only two months later, but then reconciled.

Ike had two sons with Lorraine Taylor, one son with Tina Turner, a daughter with Ann Thomas, and another daughter with Pat Richard.

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Interesting facts and hobbies

Ike was behind bars on drug-related charges in 1991, when he and Tina Turner were both inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame; he was also inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame.

Ike was played by Laurence Fishburne in the 1993 movie adaptation of Tina Turner’s 1986 autobiography “I, Tina”; for his performance, Laurence was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor. Ike also published his autobiography “Takin’ Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner” in 1999.

He had many problems with authorities – a SWAT team raided his studio in 1980, and found seven grams of cocaine and a hand grenade. He was arrested for shooting a newspaper delivery man in the following year, and then in 1985 for trying to sell cocaine. Ike was arrested again for cocaine possession in 1986, and for selling cocaine in 1987.

Height, eyes and wealth

Ike was 76 at the time of his death. He had brown eyes and short black hair, he weighed around 150lbs (69kgs) and was 5ft 9ins (1.75m) tall.

Ike’s net worth was estimated at over $500,000, at the time of his death.

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