What Happened To Ike Turner? The Musician’s Legacy

1950s rock and roll pioneer Izear Lustre “Ike” was a musician, songwriter, talent scout, and whatnot! He is best remembered for his work as the frontman of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in the 1960s and 1970s with his then-wife Tina Turner.

Ike Turner’s debut single, “Rocket 88,” became a smash in 1951. Ike and his band performed it, though saxophonist Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats wrote it. After Brenston left, Ike worked as a talent scout for Modern Records in Memphis and performed on records by Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, and others.

Ike met Anna Mae Bullock, a gifted vocalist who subsequently changed her name to Tina Turner. They founded the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, which included female backup singers known as the Ikettes.

Although the Revue was a popular live act, they struggled to achieve commercial success with their recordings until the Sue label in New York released a series of singles in the early 1960s, including “A Fool in Love,” “I Idolise You,” and “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine,” which helped them gain a national following.

What were Turner’s issues with his wife, Tina?

Ike Turner’s marriage to Tina Turner was filled with domestic abuse and tragedy. Tina said in her book, “I, Tina,” that Ike subjected her to years of physical and mental abuse. She reported Ike beating her with fists, boots, and coat hangers, as well as emotionally and mentally manipulating and controlling her.

Tina Turner and Ike Turner
Tina Turner and Ike Turner in 1975. (Photo Credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Despite the abuse, Tina continued to perform as part of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, a popular stage performance in the 1960s and 1970s. Their connection, however, deteriorated, and Tina eventually left Ike in 1976, taking just her name and a little cash with her.

Tina’s assault at the hands of Ike was extensively publicized, and it became a symbol of the widespread problem of domestic violence. Tina’s bravery in speaking up about her experiences raised awareness about domestic violence and prompted many other survivors to come forward and seek treatment.

Ike Turner’s drug abuse and Prison:

Ike Turner suffered from drug abuse and legal issues in his latter years, which resulted in a jail sentence. He had a lengthy history of substance misuse, which led to his unpredictable behavior and collapse in the music industry.

Ike’s career began deteriorating in the early 1980s, and he turned to narcotics to cope with the stress and despair. His addiction worsened, and he had run-ins with the authorities. He was arrested in California in 1989 for narcotics possession and driving under the influence the following year.

Ike Turner
Ike Turner (Credit: Getty Images)

Ike was sentenced to four years in jail in 1991 for narcotics offenses such as possession and trafficking. He allegedly acknowledged having cocaine in his possession. During his stay in jail, he supposedly went through drug rehabilitation and changed his life. Following his release in 1993, he talked openly about his drug difficulties and needing assistance.

Ike’s reputation was irrevocably tainted by his history of abuse against his wife, Tina Turner, despite his efforts to repent. Many others refused to collaborate with him or promote his music, and his career never recovered entirely. In addition to his personal challenges, Ike was dealing with persistent legal issues, such as a lawsuit brought by Tina for unpaid royalties and a disagreement with his old record company over ownership of his songs.

How did Ike Turner die? 

Turner, 76, was discovered dead at his home in San Marcos, near San Diego, on December 12. According to the medical examiner, an autopsy revealed that Turner died due to a lengthy history of cardiovascular illness and emphysema.

He allegedly died of a drug overdose. Some critics have reevaluated Ike’s work and acknowledged his effect on rock & roll, sparking newfound interest in his music. His difficult personal life, though, continues to eclipse his musical legacy. 

Also Read: Why Was Whitney Houston Nicknamed ‘Nippy’? The Reason Behind Her Nickname

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