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Ike & Tina Turner were an American musical duo active during the 1960s and 1970s, consisting of the husband-and-wife team Ike Turner and Tina Turner. Rolling Stone ranked them #2 on their list of the "20 Greatest Duos of All Time" in 2015.[2]

Ike & Tina Turner
Ike & Tina Turner 231172 Dia14.jpg
Ike and Tina Turner, 1972
Background information
OriginSt. Louis, Missouri, United States
GenresR&B, soul, rock[1]
Years active1960–1976
LabelsSue, Kent, Loma, Blue Thumb, Minit, Liberty, United Artists
Associated acts
Past membersIke Turner
Tina Turner

They performed live as the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, supported by Ike Turner's band the Kings of Rhythm and backing singers, the Ikettes. The Ike & Tina Turner Revue was regarded as "one of the most potent live acts on the R&B circuit".[1] Their live performances were a musical spectacle in the style of James Brown and the Famous Flames.[3]

The duo's early works, "A Fool In Love," "It's Gonna Work Out Fine," and "I Idolize You," became high points in the development of soul music. Their later works were noted for interpretive re-arrangements of rock songs such as "Come Together," "Honky Tonk Woman," and "Proud Mary," the latter of which won them a Grammy Award in 1972. Ike Turner and Tina Turner's professional and personal relationship ended in 1976, and their divorce was finalized in 1978.

Ike & Tina Turner were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.[4] They have two singles inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, "River Deep – Mountain High" and "Proud Mary."



1954–1959: OriginsEdit

In 1954, musician Ike Turner moved to St. Louis from Memphis to find work for himself and his band, the Kings of Rhythm. By 1956, Ike and his band had become one of the most popular live attractions in the St. Louis and neighboring East St. Louis club scene. Prior to his move to St. Louis, Ike worked as a talent scout and session musician for Sun Records, Modern Records, and RPM Records.[5] Around this time, Anna Mae Bullock had moved to St. Louis from Brownsville, Tennessee. She began attending the predominantly African American nightclub, Club Manhattan, where she saw the Kings of Rhythm for the first time. She later recalled that she "almost went into a trance" watching Ike play.[6]

Bullock eventually got to know Ike and began dating his saxophonist Raymond Hill, with whom she had her first child, Craig born in 1958.[7] In 1957, Bullock, who had tried to convince Ike to let her perform onstage with him, was given a microphone from the band's drummer Eugene Washington. Eugene was the boyfriend of Bullock's sister Alline, who was a bartender at the club.[8][9][10] Ike was playing the B.B. King's "You Know I Love You" on the organ when Bullock chimed in. Ike was taken aback by her strong voice which was in contrast to her skinny frame. He asked her if she knew more songs, and by the end of the night she had joined the Kings of Rhythm.[6][11] Still in high school, Bullock performed with Ike and his band on weekends at all of the local clubs. She was one of many other vocalists, mostly male, who would front the band at times.[6]

In 1958, Bullock sang on her first record, the Ike Turner tune "Boxtop," under the name "Little Ann." The single was released on the St. Louis label, Tune Town Records. Bullock later moved into Ike's home in East St. Louis where she was trained by Ike on vocal control and performance.[12] They developed a close friendship, and acted more like "brother and sister." However, their friendship eventually turned into a romantic relationship and she became pregnant with his child in January 1960.[6]

1960-1965: The Ike & Tina Turner RevueEdit

In March 1960, Ike scheduled his band to record a song he wrote titled, "A Fool in Love," for singer Art Lassiter. Lassiter failed to show up for the recording session at Technisonic Studios in St. Louis. Having already booked the studio time, Ike allowed Bullock to record the song as a demo for Lassiter. During a gig at Club Manhattan in St. Louis, Ike played the record which caught the attention of local disc jockey Dave Dixon from the radio station KATZ.[13] Dixon asked him to send the record to Juggy Murray, the president of Sue Records in New York. Murray was impressed by Bullock's vocal delivery and bought the rights to the song. He offered Ike a $20,000 advance, convincing him to keep Bullock's vocals on the record and suggested he "make her the star" of his show.[14] This prompted Ike to change her stage name from "Little Ann" to "Tina Turner." He then had the name trademarked for protection, so that if she left he could hire another female artist, and have her perform under the moniker "Tina Turner."[15][13] Ike named her Tina because it rhymed with Sheena, the name of his favorite character, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.[16] At first they were going to use "Ike Turner and Tina" on the record, but Murray suggested that "Ike and Tina Turner" sounded better.[13] Tina had reservations about the name change and continuing her relationship with Ike. According to Tina, after she expressed her concern, Ike responded by hitting her in the head with a wooden shoe stretcher.[6][17] Ike completed the transformation by adding one of the Artettes, Robbie Montgomery, and hiring two other backing singers; renaming them The Ikettes.

"A Fool In Love" became an immediate hit after its release in July 1960, reaching number 2 on the Hot R&B Sides on August 15.[18] Ike booked his entire band under the name, "The Ike & Tina Turner Revue," venturing into a grueling series of one-nighters. As the single climbed the pop chart they went from playing in clubs to theaters such as the Apollo Theater in Harlem. On October 3, Ike and Tina made their first national television debut on American Bandstand.[6] "A Fool In Love" peaked at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 17, eventually selling a million copies.[19] Kurt Loder described the song as "the blackest record to creep into the white pop charts since Ray Charles's gospel-styled 'What'd I Say' the previous summer."[6] On October 27, Tina gave birth to their son Ronald Renelle Turner.[6]

The success of the single was followed with another hit, "I Idolize You" and the release of their debut album The Soul of Ike & Tina Turner in February 1961. That same month, before a gig at Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., Tina decided to have her hair bleached, but a miscue resulted in her hair falling out. To cover up the incident, Ike bought Tina a wig which became incorporated into her stage appearance.[6] Later that year, the duo released their next hit, "It's Gonna Work Out Fine." This single was produced by Juggy Murray while the duo Mickey & Sylvia also contributed to the song. The single became their second million-seller, and later earned the duo their first Grammy nomination for Best Rock and Roll Recording at the 4th Annual Grammy Awards.[20]

Now an established R&B band, Ike and Tina toured throughout the United States on the Chitlin' Circuit; later breaking racial barriers after successful performances in front of integrated audiences in Southern clubs and venues. Follow-up hits in 1962 include "Poor Fool," "Tra La La La La" and "You Should'a Treated Me Right." During this period, Tina and the Ikettes, who at this point composed of Robbie Montgomery, Venetta Fields, and Jessie Smith, began incorporating dance routines into to the act, helping the Revue to build a reputation as one of the most explosive R&B ensembles.

"There was never any doubt that Tina Turner was the star of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, the electrifying performer audiences came to see. Ike kept his own stage presence deliberately low-key, avoiding flamboyant moves and directing the band with underplayed, economical gestures. His songwriting, production, and music direction were geared towards showcasing Tina."

Robert Palmer (1993)[21]

In 1962, Ike and Tina married in Tijuana, Mexico.[6] That year they moved their entire band to Los Angeles. Ike purchased a home in the View Park-Windsor Hills section of Los Angeles in 1964, and the duo signed with Kent Records after four years with Sue. When that deal failed to produce any hits, they signed with Loma Records and hired Bob Krasnow; severing ties with Juggy Murray who had been their manager and promoter during their Sue tenure.[22]

To make sure he always had a record out while on tour, Ike formed various labels such as Teena, Prann, Innis, Sony and Sonja Records.[13][23] He released singles from vocalists within the Revue and other groups as well.[24] While Ike constantly recorded the Revue, they performed 300 days out of the a year to make up for lack of hit records. In 1964, Ike and Tina had modest R&B hits with "You Can't Miss Nothing That You Never Had" (peaking at number 29) and "A Fool For A Fool" (peaking at number 47). Their first charting album, Live! The Ike & Tina Turner Show, was released in January 1965 on Loma's parent label, Warner Bros. It reached number 126 on Billboard Top LP's and number 8 on Hot R&B LP's in February 1965.[25]

Throughout 1965, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue performed on several teen rock and roll television shows including Shindig!, Hollywood A Go-Go, and American Bandstand. Phil Spector had seen them perform at a club on the Sunset Strip and invited them to appear in the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show which was filmed on November 29, 1965.[26] By the end of the year, the official incarnation of the Ikettes abruptly left and eventually formed the Mirettes. Ike hired another set of Ikettes: Pat Arnold (a.k.a. P. P. Arnold), Gloria Scott, and Maxine Smith[6]

1966-69: Career developmentEdit

In early 1966, Phil Spector contacted Bob Krasnow asking him if he could produce for the duo, to which Krasnow agreed.[27] Spector offered Ike $20,000 for creative control over the sessions. At the time they were signed to Loma Records; having just switched from Kent Records. After Mike Maitland [then president at Warners] gave them their release, they signed with Spector's Philles Records label.[28] On March 7, 1966, Tina began recording the Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry composition "River Deep – Mountain High" at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood.[29] The single failed to chart successfully in the United States, only reaching number 88 on the Pop chart. The disappointing chart performance caused the album, River Deep – Mountain High, to be shelved in the US. It didn't debut in America until 1969.[16] However, in Britain, the song became a hit, reaching number 3 on the UK charts. Due to popular demand, Spector released the album in the UK on London Records in September 1966 with liner notes written by Decca's promotion man Tony Hall. Hall included a quote from Spector stating, "We can only assume that England is more appreciative of talent and exciting music than the U.S."[30]

Following their success in the UK, the Rolling Stones offered Ike and Tina a chance to be one of their opening acts on their 1966 UK Tour, which they accepted.[31] The 12-date gig opening for the Stones became a success. By 1967, the Revue started to book bigger venues in the United States. They performed a series of "exclusive deals" during this period, to help Ike increase their finances. As their careers were rising, their personal relationship was deteriorating and Tina attempted suicide before a show in 1968.[26]

In 1968, Ike and Tina signed with Blue Thumb Records, releasing the album Outta Season in March 1969. The album peaked at number 43 on the Billboard R&B chart. Outta Season produced the duo's cover of Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long," which peaked at number 23 on the R&B chart. In May 1969, Ike and the Kings of Rhythm released the album A Black Man's Soul on Pompeii Records. The album earned Ike his first solo Grammy nomination for Best R&B Instrumental Performance at the 12th Annual Grammy Awards.[32]

In September 1969, A&M Records reissued the album River Deep – Mountain High, and for the first time it was issued in the US.[16] It was successful, reaching number 28 on the R&B albums chart. The next month Ike and Tina released The Hunter, one of their most blues-oriented albums which features guitarist Albert Collins[33]. The title track, "The Hunter," an Albert King cover, reached number 37 in the R&B singles chart. The album peaked at number 47 on the R&B albums chart, and earned Tina her first solo Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female at the 12th Annual Grammy Awards.[34]

Around 1969, the duo also began headlining casinos and resorts in Las Vegas. It was in Vegas that Ike, who up to that point had lived a drug and alcohol free life, began using cocaine. He claimed he was introduced to the drug by "two famous Las Vegas headliners."[35]

The Rolling Stones again asked Ike and Tina to open for them, this time on their 1969 US Tour. Ike and Tina's erotic performance of "I've Been Loving You Too Long," filmed during a concert at Madison Square Garden in November 1969 is featured in the Rolling Stones 1970 documentary Gimme Shelter.[36]

1970-75: Mainstream successEdit

Ike & Tina Turner 1972

In January 1970, Ike and Tina performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. Their performance of "Bold Soul Sister" propelled the single to number 22 on the R&B chart. That month they released their cover of the Beatles song "Come Together" on Minit Records; peaking at number 21 on the R&B chart. Due to the success of the single, they were reassigned to the more mainstream Liberty Records. They released the single "I Want to Take You Higher" by Sly and the Family Stone in May 1970. The rendition by the Turners charted higher at number on the Billboard Hot 100 than the original. Their album Come Together was released by Liberty that same month. It became their highest-charting R&B album up to that point, reaching number 13. Later in 1970, the duo accepted the opportunity to perform in the Milos Forman film, Taking Off, released to theaters in 1971. The Revue's performance fee increased from $1,000 a night to $5,000 a night following their successful run.[37]

Ike and Tina began performing "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival during their shows in 1969. Ike wasn't fond of the original, but he liked the cover version by Checkmates, Ltd.[6] Ike and Tina released their version on the album Workin' Together in December 1970. Set at first to a slow acoustic rendition sung softly by both Ike and Tina, the song then transformed into a frenetic rock and soul dervish led by Tina and the Ikettes. The single was released in January 1971, it reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 5 on the Billboard R&B chart. It sold more than a million copies, becoming the duo's best-selling single to date and won them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group at the 14th Annual Grammy Awards.[20] Workin' Together became their most successful studio album. It includes notable covers such as "Get Back" and "Let It Be" by the Beatles, and "Funkier than a Mosquito's Tweeter" penned by Alline Bullock.

In January 1971, Ike and Tina embarked on a European tour which included dates at Midem in Cannes, the Palais d'Hiver in Lyon, and the Olympia in Paris.[38] Their performances received rave reviews.[39] The conservative Le Monde described Ike and Tina as "the voice of desire."[40] Their concert at the Olympia was recorded and released as the album Live In Paris. While in Paris the Turners received the French Jazz Academy Soul award.[41]

Ike and Tina participated in the concert celebrating Ghana's 14th Independence Day on March 6, 1971. The concert was filmed and released as Soul To Soul in theaters in August 1971.[42] The following month the soundtrack Soul To Soul was released which featured the Turners. The album peaked at number 10 on the Billboard R&B chart.[43]

In May 1971, Ike and Tina were the opening act for Johnny Mathis at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas; performing for the first time in a main showroom at the hotel. [44] Earlier in the year Liberty Records was absorbed into United Artists Records, where Ike and Tina would remain as a duo. Their first release for the label was the live album, What You Hear Is What You Get, recorded during their concert at Carnegie Hall in April 1971. It peaked at number 25 on the Billboard 200 and number 7 on the R&B chart.[45] The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in 1972.[46]

"Tina is more convincing when she's growling out Ike's songs about her sexual appetites (I sure couldn't handle her) than when she's belting out Ike's songs about the social fabric."

Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981)[47]

In March 1972, the Turners opened their own recording studio, Bolic Sound. The facilities had already been in use for Turner productions since 1970.[48] A few months later they released the album Feel Good; nine out of the ten tracks on the album were written by Tina.[49] Later that year they performed "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, which was included on the album Here's Johnny: Magic Moments From the Tonight Show.[50]

In 1973, they released their hit record "Nutbush City Limits" which as penned by Tina. It peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 11 on the R&B chart.[51] The single was even more successful in Europe, reaching number 4 in the UK, number 1 in Austria and also a Top 5 hit in several other countries. In 1974, the Turners received the Golden European Award, the first ever given, for more than one million records of "Nutbush City Limits" sold in Europe.[52] The follow-up single "Sweet Rhode Island Red" was moderately successful, reaching number 43 on the Billboard R&B chart. Their next single, "Sexy Ida," peaked higher at number 29 on the R&B chart.[51]

In April 1974, Ike and Tina released the album, The Gospel According to Ike & Tina Turner. A few months later in August, Tina released her first solo album titled Tina Turns the Country On!. Both albums received Grammy nominations at the 17th Annual Grammy Awards. Their gospel album was nominated for Best Soul Gospel Performance.[20] Ike also earned a solo nomination for his single "Father Alone."[32] Tina was nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for her solo album.[34]

Their next single, "Sexy Ida", was released in August 1974, reaching number 29 on the R&B chart. Ike and Tina performed the song on Soul Train in January 1975. In 1975, Tina starred as the Acid Queen in the rock opera Tommy. To capitalize off her publicity surrounding the film, a solo album by Tina was released titled Acid Queen. The lead single "Baby, Get It On" became the duo's last charting single together, peaking at number 31 R&B chart.[51] It was a hit in Europe where the Turners long had a strong following, reaching number 20 in Belgium and number 9 in the Netherlands.[53]

1976–78: The end of the duoEdit

By 1976, Ike's cocaine addiction had caused a hole in his nasal septum, leading to nosebleeds from which he would relieve himself by using more of the drug.[35] Ike was planning to leave United Artists for a new record company, Cream Records, for a reported yearly amount of $150,000. The contract had a key person clause, meaning Ike would have to sign the contract in four days, keeping Tina connected to Ike for five more years.[54]

On July 1, 1976, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue traveled by airplane to Dallas, Texas where they were to perform at the Dallas Statler Hilton. While en route to the hotel, the Turners got into a physical altercation in a limousine. Once Ike had fallen asleep at their hotel, Tina fled, running across an active freeway before stopping at a Ramada Inn. She recalled that she later hid at several friends' homes for a time.[6] Ike later claimed that Tina initiated their final fight by purposely irritating him so that she would have a reason to break up with him before they were scheduled to sign their new contract.[55] On July 27, 1976, Tina filed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.[56] Years later in her autobiography I, Tina: My Life Story, Tina alleged that Ike had physically abused her throughout their marriage.[6]

Ike and Tina's divorce was finalized on March 29, 1978. In the settlement, Tina gave Ike her share of their Bolic Sound recording studio, publishing companies, real estate, and he kept his four cars. Tina retained her songwriter royalties from songs she had written, but Ike received the publishing royalties for his compositions and hers. She also kept her two Jaguars, furs and jewelry along with her stage name. Tina took responsibility for the debts incurred from their missed concert dates as well as an IRS lien[6]

United Artists responded to the couple's abrupt split and divorce by finishing albums from their last recording sessions, releasing Delilah's Power (1977) and Airwaves (1978). In 1980, Ike released the single "Party Vibes"/"Shame, Shame, Shame" taken from The Edge (1980). The single peaked at number 27 on the Billboard Disco Top 100 chart.[57]

Awards and achievementsEdit

Ike & Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a duo in 1991. They each received a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Tina received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986.[58] Ike is inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, and Hollywood's RockWalk.

Ike & Tina Turner won the following awards:

  • 1971: Top Duo of the Year for their single "Proud Mary" from Hit Parade[59]
  • 1971: Top Duo (Singles) from Record World DJ Poll[60]
  • 1971: Best Duo from NATRA (The National Association of Television and Radio Announcers)[60]
  • 1971: Top Duo of the Year from French Jazz Academy Soul Awards[41]
  • 1971: French Academie du Jazz Otis Redding R&B Award for record of the year (Workin' Together)[61]
  • 1974: Golden European Award the first ever given, for selling over one million records of "Nutbush City Limits"[52]

Grammy AwardsEdit

Ike & Tina Turner were nominated for numerous Grammy Awards and won an award for "Proud Mary." Two of their songs, "River Deep – Mountain High" and "Proud Mary" were inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and 2003, respectively.[62] Tina won an additional seven Grammys as a solo artist; Ike won one as a solo artist. Tina received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.[63]

Grammy Awards
Year Nominee/work Award Result
1961 Ike & Tina Turner – "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" Best Rock and Roll Performance Nominated
1969 Tina Turner – "The Hunter" Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female Nominated
1969 Ike Turner – "A Black Mans Soul" Best R&B Instrumental Performance Nominated
1971 Ike & Tina Turner – "Proud Mary" Best R&B Vocal by a Duo or Group Won
1974 Tina Turner – "Tina Turns The Country On!" Best R&B Vocal Female: Tina Turner Nominated
1974 Ike Turner – "Father Alone" Best Soul Gospel Performance Nominated
1974 Ike & Tina Turner – "The Gospel According to Ike & Tina" Best Soul Gospel Performance Nominated
1999 Ike & Tina Turner – "River Deep – Mountain High" Grammy Hall of Fame Inducted
2003 Ike & Tina Turner – "Proud Mary" Grammy Hall of Fame Inducted

Record WorldEdit

Record World magazine (1946-1982) was one of the three main music industry trade magazines in the United States, along with Billboard and Cash Box. The Record World Awards were an annual award given to most successful artists in the US.

Record World Awards
Year Nominee Award Position Ref.
1969 Ike & Tina Turner Top Duo (Album) #1 [64]
1971 Top Duo Singles #2 [65]
Top Duo (Album) #2
1972 Top Duo R&B #2 [66]
1973 Top Duo R&B of the Year #1 [67]
1974 Top Duo (Album) #1 [68]
Top Vocal Duo (Singles) #1

Cash BoxEdit

Cash Box magazine was a weekly publication devoted to the music and coin-operated machine industries which was published from July 1942 to November 16, 1996. It was one of several magazines that published charts of song popularity in the United States. In 1961, they began a year-end survey complied from their weekly Top 100 Best Seller list.

Cash Box Annual Year-End Survey
Year Nominee/work Award Position Ref.
1961 Ike & Tina Turner Best New Vocal Groups (R&B) #1 [69]
Best Newcomers Vocal Group (Singles) #17
Ike & Tina Turner – "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" Top 50 R&B Singles #5
Ike & Tina Turner – "I Idolize You" Top 50 R&B Singles #48
1962 Ike & Tina Turner Best Vocal Groups (Singles) #10 [70]
Best Vocal Groups (R&B) #2
Ike & Tina Turner – "Poor Fool" Top 50 R&B Singles #17
1964 Ike & Tina Turner Best Vocal Groups (R&B) #22 [71]
1965 Best Vocal Groups (R&B) #25 [72]
1966 Best Vocal Groups (R&B) #24 [73]
1969 Best Duos (R&B) #5 [74]
1970 Top Duos #5 [75]
Top Duos (R&B) #2
1971 Ike & Tina Turner – "Proud Mary" Top 100 Chart Hits of 1971 #56 [76]
Top 100 R&B Hits of 1971 #32
Top 10 Songs of March 1971 #9
Top 10 Songs of April 1971 #9
Ike & Tina Turner Top Duos (albums) #3
Best Duos (Singles) #2
Best Duos (R&B) #1
1972 Best Duos (R&B) #3 [77]
1973 Best Duos (Singles) #3 [78]
Best Vocal Groups (R&B) #26
1974 Best Duos (Singles) #7 [79]
1975 Best Vocal Groups (R&B) #44 [80]


Billboard Year-End charts are a cumulative measure of a single or album's performance in the United States, based upon the Billboard magazine charts.

Billboard Year-End Charts
Year Chart Song Position
1960 Year-End R&B Chart "A Fool In Love" #3
1961 Year-End Hot 100 Singles "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" #65
Year-End R&B Chart #2
1970 Year-End Hot 100 Singles "I Want to Take You Higher" #79
1971 Year-End Hot 100 Singles "Proud Mary" #55



  • 1966: The Big T.N.T. Show
  • 1970: Gimme Shelter
  • 1970: It’s Your Thing
  • 1971: Soul To Soul
  • 1971: Taking Off
  • 1971: Good Vibrations from Central Park
  • 1975: Poiret est à vous
  • 1999: Ike & Tina Turner – The Best of MusikLaden
  • 2004: The Legends Ike & Tina Turner – Live in ‘71
  • 2006: Ed Sullivan's Rock 'N' Roll Classics: West Coast Rock – Sounds Of The City
  • 2006: Burt Sugarman's The Midnight Special – Live On Stage in 1974
  • 2007: Kenny Rogers Rollin’ Vol. 1[81]
  • 2008: Playboy After Dark
  • 2009: Ike & Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits
  • 2012: Ike & Tina Turner On The Road: 1971-1972


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