Izear Luster "Ike" Turner Jr. (November 5, 1931 – December 12, 2007) was an American musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, talent scout, and record producer. An early pioneer of fifties rock and roll, he is most popularly known for his work in the 1960s and 1970s with his then-wife Tina Turner in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.
Turner performing at the
Long Beach Blues Festival in 1997
Izear Luster Turner Jr.
November 5, 1931
|Died||December 12, 2007 (aged 76)|
|Cause of death||Cocaine overdose|
|Also known as|
Turner began playing piano and guitar when he was eight years of age. He formed a music group, the Kings of Rhythm, as a teenager. Turner employed the group as his backing band for the rest of his life. His first recording, "Rocket 88" (1951) (credited to "Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats"), is considered a contender for the distinction of "first rock and roll song." Relocating to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1954, he built the Kings into one of the most renowned acts on the local club circuit. There, he met singer Anna Mae Bullock, whom he renamed Tina Turner; the two formed the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, which over the course of the 1960s became a soul/rock crossover success. The two were married from 1962 until their 1978 divorce. Turner recorded for many of the key R&B record labels of the 1950s and 1960s, including Chess, Modern, Trumpet, Flair and Sue. With the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, he graduated to larger labels Blue Thumb and United Artists.
Turner's cocaine addiction and legal troubles, together with accounts by Tina Turner of domestic violence inflicted by him (published in her autobiography I, Tina and included in its film adaptation What's Love Got to Do with It), impacted his career in the 1980s and 1990s. Addicted to cocaine and crack for at least 15 years, Turner was convicted of drug offenses, serving seventeen months in prison between July 1989 and 1991. He spent the rest of the 1990s free of his addiction, but relapsed in 2004. Near the end of his life, he returned to live performance as a front man and, returning to his blues roots, produced two albums that were critically well received and award-winning.
Turner has frequently been referred to as a "great innovator" of rock and roll by contemporaries such as Little Richard and Johnny Otis. Phil Alexander, then editor-in-chief of Mojo magazine, described Turner as "the cornerstone of modern day rock 'n' roll". Throughout his career, Turner won four Grammy Awards, which include two competitive awards and two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Tina Turner in 1991. In 2001, he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. In 2018, "Rocket 88" was one of the first songs inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Singles.
Early life (1931–1945)Edit
Turner was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on November 5, 1931, to Beatrice Cushenberry, a seamstress, and Izear Luster Turner Sr., a Baptist minister. The younger of their two children, Turner had an elder sister named Ethel May. Turner believed that he had been named after his father, but discovered his name had been mistakenly registered as Ike Wister Turner when applying for his first passport.
Turner said that when he was very young he witnessed his father beaten and left for dead by a white mob. His father lived for three years as an invalid in a tent in the family's yard before succumbing to his injuries. Writer and blues historian Ted Drozdowski told a different version of the story, stating that Turner's father died in an industrial accident. His mother then married a man called Philip Reeves. Turner said his stepfather was a violent alcoholic and that they often argued and fought. After one fight Turner knocked out his stepfather with a piece of wood. He then ran away to Memphis, where he lived rough for a few days before returning to his mother. He reconciled with his stepfather years later, buying a house for him in the 1950s around the time Turner's mother died.
Turner recounted how he was introduced to sex at the age of six by a middle-aged lady called Miss Boozie. Walking past her house to school, she would invite him to help feed her chickens and then take him to bed. This continued for some years. Turner claimed not to be traumatized by this, commenting that "in those days they didn't call it abuse, they called it fun". He was also raped by two other women before he was twelve.
|Oral History, Ike Turner shares moments of his life story and career. interview date December 1, 2005, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library|
Around his eighth year Turner began frequenting the local Clarksdale radio station, WROX, located in the Alcazar Hotel in downtown Clarksdale. WROX was notable as one of the first radio stations to employ a black DJ, Early Wright, to play blues records. DJ John Frisella put Turner to work. Turner described this as "the beginning of my thing with music." Soon he was left to play records while the DJ went across the street for coffee. This led to Turner being offered a job by the station manager as the DJ on the late-afternoon shift. The job meant he had access to all the new releases. On his show he played a diverse range of music, playing Louis Jordan alongside early rockabilly records.
Turner was inspired to learn the piano on a visit to his friend Ernest Lane's house, where he heard Pinetop Perkins playing Lane's father's piano. Turner persuaded his mother to pay for piano lessons; however, he did not take to the formal style of playing, instead spending the money in a pool hall, then learning boogie-woogie from Perkins. He taught himself to play guitar by playing along to old blues records. At some point in the 1940s, Turner moved into Clarksdale's Riverside Hotel, run by Mrs. Z.L. Ratliff. The Riverside played host to touring musicians, including Sonny Boy Williamson II and Duke Ellington. Turner associated with many of these guests and played music with them.
Formation of the Kings of Rhythm (1946–1951)Edit
In high school, Turner joined a local rhythm ensemble called the Tophatters who played dances around Clarksdale, Mississippi. Members of the band were Clarksdale musicians and included Turner's school friends Raymond Hill, Eugene Fox and Clayton Love. The Tophatters played big-band arrangements from sheet music. Turner, who was trained by ear and could not sight read, would learn the pieces by listening to a version on record at home, pretending to be reading the music during rehearsals. At one point, the Tophatters had over 30 members and eventually split into two, with one act who wanted to carry on playing dance band jazz calling themselves the Dukes of Swing and the other, led by Turner, becoming the Kings of Rhythm. Said Turner, "We wanted to play blues, boogie-woogie and Roy Brown, Jimmy Liggins, Roy Milton." Turner kept the name throughout his career, although it went through lineup changes over time. Their early stage performances consisted largely of covers of popular jukebox hits. B.B. King helped them to get a steady weekend gig and recommended them to Sam Phillips at Sun Studio. In the 1950s, Turner's group got regular airplay from live sessions on WROX-Am, and KFFA radio in Helena, Arkansas.
Around the time he was starting out with the Kings of Rhythm, Turner and Lane became unofficial roadies for blues singer Robert Nighthawk, who often played live on WROX. The pair played drums and piano on radio sessions and supported Nighthawk at blues dates around Clarksdale. Playing with Nighthawk allowed Turner to gig regularly and build up playing experience.
He provided backup for Sonny Boy Williamson II, playing gigs alongside other local blues artists such as Howlin' Wolf, Charley Booker, Elmore James, Muddy Waters and Little Walter. Performances typically lasted for about twelve hours, from early evening to dawn the next day. Turner described the scenario to an interviewer:
We played juke joints; we'd start playing at 8.00 pm and wouldn't get off till 8.00 am. No intermissions, no breaks. If you had to go to the restroom, well that's how I learned to play drums and guitar! When one had to go, someone had to take his place.
Around this time Turner and his band recorded the song "Rocket 88". Jackie Brenston, a saxophonist in the Kings of Rhythm, sang lead vocals. Turner played piano on the recording, and his intro was later used nearly note-for-note by Little Richard in "Good Golly Miss Molly". Phillips sold the recording to Chess in Chicago, who released it under the name "Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats". The record sold approximately half a million copies. In Turner's account book, he recorded that he was paid $20 (US$193 in 2018 dollars).
The success of Rocket 88 caused tensions and ego clashes in the band, causing Brenston to leave to pursue a solo career, taking some of the original members with him. Turner, without a band and disappointed his hit record had not created more opportunities for him, disbanded the Kings of Rhythm for a few years.
Session musician and talent scout (1951–1956)Edit
After recording Rocket 88, Turner became a session musician and production assistant for Philips and the Bihari brothers, commuting to Memphis from Clarksdale. He began by contributing piano to a B.B. King track, "You Know I Love You", which brought him to the attention of Modern Records' Joe Bihari, who requested Turner's services on another King track, 3 O'Clock Blues. It became King's first hit. However, according to Bihari, Turner brought King to his attention years prior. He said, "Ike wasn't more than sixteen then. He would send dubs of things he cut to us, and if we'd like them we'd make a seal or sign the artist. That's how we acquired B.B. King."  King also maintained that Turner introduced him to the Biharis.
During this time unbeknownst to Turner he met Elvis Presley who was a truck driver in Memphis. He recalled, "[Presley] was just a white boy that would come over to black clubs. He would come in and stand behind the piano and watch me play. I never knew he was no musician." Turner discovered his identity many years later when Presley approached him at the International Hotel and said, "Hey! Do you remember me?"
Turner, who was also a freelance talent scout, had Howlin' Wolf record for Sam Phillips at Sun Records (which licensed its recordings to Chess Records) in 1951. Wishing to exploit Turner's Delta music connections, Bihari contracted him as a talent scout, paying him to find southern musicians who might be worth recording. Turner also wrote new material, which, unknown to him, the Bihari brothers copyrighted under their own name. Turner estimated he "wrote 78 hit records for the Biharis." Artists Turner discovered for Modern included Bobby Bland, Howlin' Wolf, and Rosco Gordon. He played piano on sessions with them and lesser-known artists such as the Prisonaires, Ben Burton Orchestra, Little Milton, Matt Cockrell and Dennis Binder.
Turner was contracted to the Bihari brothers, but he continued to work for Phillips, where he was effectively the in-house producer. This sometimes created conflicts of interest. Turner cut two Howlin' Wolf tracks, "How Many More Years" (Turner played piano) and "Moanin' at Midnight," which Phillips sent to Chess. Turner then took Wolf across the state border, rerecorded the tracks without Phillips's or Chess's knowledge, and sent the results to Modern/RPM. Turner also attempted to poach Elmore James from Trumpet Records and record him for Modern. Trumpet found out and Modern had to cancel the record. However, James did eventually sign for Modern, with Turner playing piano on a James recording at Club Desire in Canton.
St. Louis (1956–1959)Edit
In 1956, Turner took a reformed version of the Kings of Rhythm north to St. Louis, including Kizart, Sims, O'Neal, Jessie Knight, Jr. and Turner's third wife, Annie Mae Wilson Turner, on piano and vocals. Turner moved over to playing guitar to accommodate Annie Mae, taking lessons from Willie Kizart to improve.
Turner maintained strict discipline, insisting they live in a large house with him so he could conduct early-morning rehearsals. A teetotaler at the time, he avoided drugs and insisted all band members also adopt this policy, firing anyone he even suspected of breaking the rules. He also fined or physically assaulted band members if they played a wrong note and controlled everything from the arrangements down to the suits the band wore onstage. Starting off playing at a club called Kingsbury's in Madison, Illinois, within a year Turner had built up a full gig schedule, establishing his group as one of the most highly rated on the St. Louis club circuit, vying for popularity with their main competition, Sir John's Trio featuring Chuck Berry. The bands would play all-nighters in St. Louis, then cross the river to the clubs of East St. Louis, Illinois, and continue playing until dawn. In St. Louis for the first time, Turner was exposed to a developing white teenage audience who were excited by R&B. Turner played in St. Louis clubs including Club Imperial, which was popular with white teenagers, the Dynaflow, the Moonlight Lounge, Club Riviera and West End Walter's. In East St. Louis, his group played Kingsbury's, Club Manhattan and the Sportsman.
He befriended St. Louis R&B fan Bill Stevens, who in 1959 set up the short-lived record label Stevens financed by his father Fred. Turner released two singles on the Stevens label (#104 and #107) under the anagram, "Icky Renrut", as he was still under contract with Sun for several more months and did not want to cause friction with Phillips. He also contributed vocals and/or guitar on 5 additional Stevens singles: Johnny Wright (#101), Bobby Foster (#102 and #106), Chuck Wheeler (#103), and Little Cooper and the Drifters (#105). Additionally, Turner contributed vocals and/or guitar on numerous "lost" sessions that remained unreleased for decades. None of the Stevens singles had wide distribution when released and have since become collectible among vinyl record enthusiasts and deejays.
The Ike and Tina Turner Revue (1960–1976)Edit
In 1957, 17-year-old Anna Mae Bullock accompanied her sister Ailline to watch Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm at the Club Manhattan. Aillene was a barmaid at the club and was dating Turner's drummer, Eugene Washington. After seeing the band, Anna Mae asked to sing with the Kings of Rhythm, finally being given the chance to do so during an intermission. Impressed by her voice, Ike Turner invited her to join the band, giving her the stage name "Little Ann". In 1958, she sang background on Turner's song, "Box Top", for Tune Town Records, and also gave birth to band member Raymond Hill's son.
In March 1960, Turner used Anna Mae's voice on a recording of his self-penned song "A Fool in Love" to lay down a guide track for a male singer who did not attend the recording. He sent the recording to Sue Records in New York, where label owner Juggy Murray insisted on putting out the track with Bullock's vocal. Murray offered a $25,000 advance (US$211,727 in 2018 dollars) for the song, convinced it was a hit. Around the time of the recording, Anna Mae had been pursued by Raymond Hill to join his band and leave Turner's. When Turner asked her to use his last name as an attempt to discourage Hill, she took the offer. He then named her "Tina" because it rhymed with Sheena. He was inspired by Sheena, Queen of the Jungle and Nyoka the Jungle Girl to create the stage persona "Tina Turner." Turner had the name trademarked so that in case she left, another singer could perform under the same name. In July 1960, "A Fool in Love" was released under the billing Ike & Tina Turner and later became a national hit, selling a million copies and making the duo national stars. Turner added a backing girl group he renamed the Ikettes, and this also led to the first name change of the Kings of Rhythm as they began performing as the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Robert Palmer writes, "There was never any doubt that Tina Turner was the star... 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 musical direction were geared toward showcasing Tina."
The duo produced five more substantial hit singles, including "Poor Fool", "I Idolize You" and a cover of the Joe Seneca track "It's Gonna Work Out Fine", which gave them their second million-seller and their first Grammy nomination. After the duo's deal with Sue ended in 1964, Turner moved the band around to different labels, looking for the best deal and between that year and 1969 they recorded on Sonja, Warner Bros./Loma, Modern/Kent, Cenco, Philles, Tangerine, Innis, Pompeii, Blue Thumb, Minit and A&M. After being impressed by their performance on The Big T.N.T. Show in November 1965, Phil Spector sought out the duo to work with on River Deep – Mountain High. Spector offered to pay Turner $20,000 to have no creative input into the sessions. The title song was not a success in the States, causing Spector's retreat from the music industry, but it was a big hit in Europe, reaching No. 3 in the UK singles chart. This brought the duo to the attention of Mick Jagger, who in 1966 and in 1969, invited them to tour with and open for the Rolling Stones, bringing them to a wider audience outside of soul.
Other notable records the duo released were covers of "I Want To Take You Higher" by Sly & the Family Stone, "I've Been Loving You Too Long" by Otis Redding, "Come Together" by The Beatles, "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Tina Turner-penned "Nutbush City Limits."
The success of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue gave Turner the finances to create his own recording studio, the Los Angeles-based Bolic Sounds next door to his mansion in Inglewood. The studio name was a reference to Tina's maiden name, Bullock. Turner had two sixteen track studios built, a large one to rent out and a smaller one for his personal recordings. He fitted them out with state-of-the-art equipment, two 24-input 16-output mixing desks custom built by John Stephens and Daniel Flickinger, IBM mix memorizers, an early Eventide digital delay. The studios were opened for public hire in March 1972. Artists who recorded there included Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Duane Allman, Little Richard and Gayle McCormick. Frank Zappa recorded the Ruben and the Jets album For Real! as well as most of his own Overnite Sensation and Apostrophe (') LPs in 1973 and 1974. Ike and Tina's last hit, the Tina written Nutbush City Limits, was also recorded there.
During this time, Turner released a few solo albums for United Artists Records, including Blues Roots (1972) and Bad Dreams (1973). Reviewing the latter LP in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote: "After twenty years of raking it in from the shadows, he's finally figured out a way of applying his basically comic bass/baritone to rock and roll. Studio-psychedelic New Orleans, echoes of the Band and Dr. John, some brilliant minor r&b mixed in with the dumb stuff. My God—at the moment he's more interesting than Tina."
Ike's musical partnership with Tina Turner ended abruptly in 1976 when Tina fled from Ike after the last in a series of violent altercations with him. According to his book, Ike had plans to leave United Artists Records for a five-year, $150,000 deal with Cream Records. The deal was to be signed on July 6, 1976. On July 1, Ike and Tina were en route from Los Angeles to Dallas where the Revue had a gig at the Dallas Statler Hilton. They got into a fight during their ride to the hotel. Shortly after arriving at the hotel, Tina departed and later hid at a friend's house. Ike claims that Tina initiated the conflict by purposely irritating him so that she would have a reason to break up with him before they signed the new contract. The couple later divorced.
Personal problems and comeback (1976–2007)Edit
After the breakup with Tina, Turner struggled to find success as a solo artist. Holly Maxwell replaced Tina Turner on Turner's band from 1977 to 1985 and again for eight months in 1992. Maxwell reported a positive working relationship with Turner.
In 1991, while Turner was in prison following a drug conviction, Ike & Tina Turner were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Phil Spector appeared at the ceremony on their behalf. After his release from prison, Turner said he was nervous about returning to performing, but had plans to return to the studio. He sold 20 unreleased Ike & Tina Turner recordings to independent label Esquire Records. In 1993 Salt-n-Pepa sampled his hit composition "I'm Blue (The Gong Gong Song)" for their 1993 single Shoop. The track went to No. 4 in the Billboard Hot 100, earning him around half a million dollars in royalties. He rerecorded the song in a duet style with singer Billy Rogers. Produced by Rogers, the remake received favourable reviews. He also appeared on the song "Love Gravy" with Rick James on the album Chef Aid: The South Park Album, the soundtrack to the TV series South Park. Ike Turner also made an appearance on MADtv in 1997.
Turner credited Joe Louis Walker with encouraging him to return to his roots in blues music. Turner played guitar and assisted in production on Walker's 1997 album Great Guitars and toured internationally with him. Walker paid him $5,000 a night for six songs. The positive response to the tour encouraged Turner to reform the Kings of Rhythm, taking them on a U.S. tour in 2001. The group headlined a showcase at South by Southwest and were hailed as one of the highlights of the conference. His new wife Jeanette was Ike's lead singer. Turner's work on the tour led to his recording and releasing the 2001 Grammy-nominated Here & Now album.
In September 2003, the PBS documentary series Martin Scorsese's The Blues included interviews and performances by Turner. He was featured in the episodes "The Road to Memphis" and "Godfathers and Sons".
In 2006, Turner released the album Risin' With the Blues. The album was mixed at Future Sound Studios by Rene Van Verseveld. The album was nominated in the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards for Blues Album of the year. Jerry D'Souza wrote of the album: "Turner has it all in the palm of his hand, his phrasing breathing life into the words. He still has the power to turn the blues into an unforgettable experience." He won his first solo Grammy Award in 2007 when the album received the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album.
Artistry and legacyEdit
Turner grew up playing boogie woogie piano, which he learned from Pinetop Perkins. In his professional career, he originally worked in the style of 1950s R&B, or post-jump blues. Though primarily known as a guitarist, Turner began his career playing piano and personally considered it his main instrument. He decided he was not meant to be a frontman when at 12 years old he was coerced into giving a piano recital at high school. He found the experience terrifying and from then on preferred to be in the background, controlling every aspect of the music and choreography, but not being the focus of attention. At most times in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue he played with his back to the audience.Donald Fagen has written: "[T]alented as he was, there wasn't anything really supernatural about Ike's skills as a musician... What Ike excelled at was leadership: conceptualization, organization, and execution."
Turner's guitar style is distinguished by heavy use of the whammy bar to achieve a strong reverb-soaked vibrato, string bending, hammer-ons and triplets in his blues phrasing. Turner was an early adopter of the Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, buying one from O.K. Houk's Piano Co. store in Memphis the year of its release in 1954. Unaware that the guitar's tremolo arm could be used to subtle effect, Turner used it to play screaming, swooping and diving solos that predated artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck by a decade. In The Stratocaster Chronicles, Tom Wheeler writes that Turner's "inventive style is a classic example of an artist discovering the Stratocaster, adapting to its features and fashioning something remarkable." Turner himself said of his tremolo technique: "I thought it was to make the guitar scream—people got so excited when I used that thing." Dave Rubin wrote in Premier Guitar magazine:
All those years of playing piano and arranging taught him a considerable amount about harmony, as he could certainly navigate I-IV-V chord changes. Ike modestly terms what he does on the guitar as "tricks", but make no mistake, he attacked his axe with the conviction of a man who knew precisely what he wanted to hear come out of it.
In 1951, Turner's Kings of Rhythm recorded one of the first instances of use of amplifier distortion. Rocket 88 is notable amongst other things for Willie Kizart's distorted guitar sound. In February 2005, Fender manufactured a limited edition Ike Turner Tribute Stratocaster. The model has an alder body in Sonic Blue with an Ike Turner signature in gold ink on the body under the clear-coat, with a maple neck in a 1960s "C" shape with a rosewood fingerboard, with 21 vintage frets. It had three custom single coil 1960s Strat pickups. Only 100 specimens were made, retailing at $3,399.99.
Robert Palmer wrote, "perhaps he [Turner] played the behind-the-scenes Svengali too seamlessly for his own good. To the fans who bought the records and concert tickets, his contribution was practically invisible. With his creative work of the '50s largely forgotten and his more recent efforts overshadowed by Tina's larger-than-life presence, he was easily dismissed as a purely exploitative figure riding on his wife's coattails." However, to contemporaries and blues fans Turner's contribution to music was substantial. Johnny Otis said, "Ike Turner is a very important man in American music. The texture and flavor of R & B owe a lot to him. He defined how to put the Fender bass into that music. He was a great innovator." B.B. King was a great admirer of Turner, describing him as "The best bandleader I've ever seen". Turner was also a big influence on contemporary Little Richard, who said in the introduction to Turner's autobiography, "Before all these people Ike Turner was doing his thing. He is the innovator." Richard was inspired to learn to play the piano by Rocket 88 and borrowed the introduction for his hit Good Golly Miss Molly.
Phil Alexander, editor-in-chief of Mojo magazine, has credited Turner arrangements of blues standards as being an influence on 1960s British Invasion groups: "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."
Speaking of Turner's claim to have written one of the first rock 'n' roll records, broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said:
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 "Rocket 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 is in the Grammy Hall of Fame and it was an indisputable claim to fame for Ike Turner... To critics he will be known as a great founder, unfortunately to the general public he will always be known as a brutal man... He was always on the road and he drove himself as well as punishing others.
Nigel Cawthorne—coauthor of Turner's autobiography—said:
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.
Turner's songs began to be sampled by hip hop artists, most notably Salt-n-Pepa sampling "I'm Blue" for use in their 1994 hit "Shoop" and Jurassic 5 used "Getting Nasty" from A Black Man's Soul on the 1997 track "Concrete Schoolyard". Main Source also sampled "Getting Nasty" on the track "Snake Eyes" as well as Ike & Tina's "Bold Soul Sister" on "Just Hanging Out"; both featured on their 1991 album Breaking Atoms. The track "Funky Mule", also from A Black Man's Soul, has been sampled extensively by jungle DJs, with the drum introduction being a very popular break. It was sampled by producer Goldie for his 1994 hit "Inner City Life", in the same year by Krome & Time on "The License", and by Paradox in 2002 on track "Funky Mule".
Portrayal in popular cultureEdit
In Tina Turner's autobiography, I, Tina, she described Ike's abusive behavior. He received intense, negative publicity that was exacerbated in 1993 by the release of the film adaptation What's Love Got to Do with It. The film rights to the book were acquired by Disney's Touchstone Pictures. Turner stated he had mistakenly signed papers waiving the right to sue Touchstone Pictures for his depiction after accepting a $50,000 payment in exchange for the right for them to depict him in any way they saw fit. Ike was played in the movie by Laurence Fishburne, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance (losing to Tom Hanks). Tina Turner, commenting on the historical accuracy of the film, said, "I would have liked then to have more truth, but according to Disney, they said it's impossible, the people would not have believed the truth." Phil Spector, speaking at Ike Turner's eulogy, called the film a "piece of trash". However, Robert Palmer noted that "Long before Tina Turner cast him as the devil incarnate ... that was Ike Turner's show business persona." In 2006, Vibe named the character of Ike Turner from What's Love Got To Do With It at number 4 in their list of the 20 best movie "bad guys".
After the release of the film and Turner's drug conviction, the fictionalized version of Turner from the movie was seized on by comedians, who reused it in sketches. On the 1990s sketch comedy show In Living Color, Turner was parodied by David Alan Grier. In one skit, he sang a parody of Tina's song "What's Love Got to Do with It", in which he sings proudly of his abusive personality. The video also parodies Tina's video: whereas in her video Tina walks around stopping couples who are fighting, Ike walks around to couples and gives the men weapons. He was portrayed on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update by Tim Meadows in a pageboy wig. This incarnation of Turner is played as desperate, making verbally derisive remarks to Kevin Nealon, later trying to win back Kevin's "love" with gifts and a cake, and finally shoving Kevin's face into the cake. On the John Boy and Billy radio show, cast member Jeff Pillars regularly performed an impersonation of Turner in a segment called "Ax/Ask Ike". He offered advice on interpersonal relationships, which always resulted in him giving inappropriate and humorous advice. These sketches were collected in a 2008 comedy album Ike at the Mike.
In 1999, Turner's autobiography was published, entitled Taking Back My Name. It was written with Nigel Cawthorne with a foreword by Little Richard. In part, the memoir was a rebuttal of the public image presented of him in Tina Turner's memoir and the film.
Awards and achievementsEdit
Turner won two competitive Grammy Awards and was honored with two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. In 1972, "Proud Mary" won for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance – Duo or Group (Vocal or Instrumental). He was nominated for a Grammy in 2002 for the album Here and Now. In 2007, he won his first solo Grammy in the Best Traditional Blues Album category for Risin' With the Blues. He received two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards for "River Deep – Mountain High" and "Proud Mary."
Ike & Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Turner is also inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was honored with a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
Turner won Comeback Album of The Year for Here and Now at the W.C. Handy Blues Awards in 2002.
On August 5, 2010, Turner was posthumously recognized by his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Clarksdale officials and music fans gathered to unveil two markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail in downtown Clarksdale honoring Turner and his musical legacy.
Turner was married at least ten times. He sometimes claimed to have been married thirteen times. Turner's first marriage was to an Edna Dean Stewart from Ruleville, Mississippi, while in his teens. Edna did not want to stay in Clarksdale, so she left him and returned to Ruleville. He then married Rosa Lee Sane in West Memphis. She had mental issues, so her family put her in an insane asylum. Turner tried to get her out, but he never saw her again. In 1953, Turner married pianist and singer Bonnie Mae Wilson, who was part of the Kings of Rhythm, but after two years she ran off to New York with another man. After Bonnie, he married a woman named Alice in Helena, Arkansas. After Alice, he became involved with Annie Mae Wilson from Greenville, Mississippi, another pianist in the band, whom he married in the mid-1950s. Annie Mae left him for a policeman after they moved to East St. Louis. There he met Lorraine Taylor who became his live-in girlfriend, and then his common-law wife. Her parents owned the Taylor Sausage Company in St. Louis. Lorraine already had two children prior to their relationship, and with Turner she had two sons.
The facts surrounding Turner's marriage to Anna Mae Bullock (Tina Turner) have been very publicly debated.[dubious ] Initially, they were close friends. However, when Tina moved in with him their friendship turned into a relationship, and Turner impregnated Tina while Lorraine was also pregnant. When Lorraine discovered Tina was pregnant she threatened her with a gun and then she shot herself; her injuries were nonfatal. Following the birth of Turner and Tina's son in 1960, they were married in Tijuana in 1962. According to Tina, Turner proposed to her because another wife was pursuing him for property he owned in St. Louis. Turner claimed on more than one occasion that he had never been officially married to Tina. In a 1996 radio interview on Fresh Air, Turner stated that he gave her his name in order to discourage her ex-boyfriend, Raymond Hill, from returning to her. He also claimed that Tina's birth name is Martha Nell (not Anna Mae) Bullock. He reiterated this on The Howard Stern Show in 1993 and 2007.
Tina left the relationship after a violent altercation on the way to a concert in July 1976. She filed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences; the divorce was finalized in 1978. Years later, Tina accused Turner of spousal abuse in her autobiography. In an interview with Spin in 1985 Turner admitted: "Yeah I hit her, but I didn't hit her more than the average guy beats his wife... It's been exaggerated. People buy bad news, dirty news. If she says I abused her, maybe I did." In his 1999 autobiography, he worded this slightly differently; "Sure, I've slapped Tina. We had fights and there have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I never beat her." In a 1996 interview, Turner described their marriage saying: "As far as abusing my family or abusing her, sure – I have slapped her, she have slapped me, we just lived normal people's lives, but I guess by me having the notoriety that I have, it's been totally exaggerated." In 2018, Tina told The Sunday Times that "as an old person, I have forgiven him, but I would not work with him. He asked for one more tour with me, and I said, 'No, absolutely not.' Ike wasn't someone you could forgive and allow him back in."
Turner married Margaret Ann Thomas in Las Vegas on April 11, 1981. They met in the mid-1960's when she was 17 at a concert in Bakersfield. According to Turner, Tina suggested Ann fill in as an Ikette because although she could not sing, she was attractive. Eventually she moved in with them. Turner stated, "I loved Tina, but I was in love with Ann Thomas." Their daughter Mia was born in 1969. Years after their divorce they rekindled their friendship. Ann found Turner unconscious at his home the day he died in 2007.
In 1995, Turner married St. Louis native singer Jeanette Bazzell. They met in 1987; she started as an Ikette before becoming his lead singer. They divorced in 2000, but remained friends.
On October 8, 2006, Turner married Audrey Madison in Las Vegas after six years of dating. They met in 1993; she started as an Ikette before becoming his lead singer. Turner filed for divorce on December 22, 2006, but after it was granted they reconciled before his death. In 2011, Madison-Turner appeared as a contestant on The X Factor. In 2016, she released a memoir, Love Had Everything to Do with It, which details her volatile relationship with Turner due to his bipolar disorder. She told The Afro, "I decided to write it because it was like a cleansing and it released all of the trauma. Also, I wanted the general public to have a better outlook and perspective on where Ike was mentally and emotionally, because so often, as a nation, we turn on people who have mental health issues and define them by their behaviors rather than their condition."
Turner had seven children: sons Ike Jr. born in 1958 and Michael born in 1960 (with Lorraine Taylor), Ronnie born in 1960 (with Tina Turner) and daughters Mia born in 1969 (with Margaret Ann Thomas), Linda Trippeter and Twanna Melby. Tina's son Craig born in 1958 (fathered by saxophonist Raymond Hill) was adopted by Turner and therefore carried his surname. Craig died in an apparent suicide in 2018. Ronnie played bass guitar in his mother's band after his parents split up, and he later played in a band with his father. He is married to Afida Turner.
Legal difficulties and drug addictionEdit
In 1959, Turner was charged with what he described as "interstate transportation of forged checks and conspiracy" and was forced to stand trial in St. Louis. At the first trial, the jury failed to reach a verdict, and at the retrial a year later, Turner was found not guilty.
In 1974, Turner was arrested for using illegal blue boxes at Bolic Sounds to make long-distance phone calls. At the time of the arrest, police officers spent several hours breaking through the studio's heavy security measures, as Ike worked feverishly inside trying to finish various recordings before being taken to jail. He was eventually cleared of the charges. After this the police began surveillance on the studio, believing that other illegal activities were taking place inside.
Before the age of 30, Turner did not use drugs or drink alcohol. He was noted for firing anyone in his band who used substances. That changed when Turner claimed that he was first introduced to cocaine by "two very famous people I'd been working with in Las Vegas at the same hotel." He took the cocaine home and tried it one night while writing songs at the piano. Turner said he liked the reduced need for sleep the drug gave him which allowed him to write more music. According to Bob Krasnow, who was manager for Ike & Tina Turner from 1964 until 1970, claimed that Turner was told that cocaine would increase his sexual stamina. By the early seventies, Turner was heavily addicted to the drug, buying it in large quantities. He claimed to have spent $56,000 a month (US$361,289 in 2018 dollars) buying cocaine (although not all for his personal use). In a 2001 interview with Caroline Graham of The Mail on Sunday, Turner estimated that he had spent $11 million on cocaine. In 1986, he acknowledged that he had been addicted to cocaine for 15 years. By 1974, his heavy usage meant he had worn a large hole through his nasal septum. This hole caused him pain, which he relieved with further use of cocaine. He then began freebasing crack cocaine.
During the 1980s, Turner was arrested 10 times for drug and firearm offenses and was convicted on two occasions. In 1980, a SWAT team raided Bolic Sound, finding a live hand grenade and seven grams of cocaine. Turner was convicted for cocaine possession and sentenced to thirty days in the L.A. county jail with three years probation. This was Turner's first conviction. In April 1981, he was arrested for shooting a 49-year-old newspaper delivery man whom he accused of being physically and verbally abusive to his then wife, Ann Thomas and of kicking his dog. Turner said he only fired a shot to scare him off and that the man had injured himself when he climbed over the fence to get away. A jury in 1982 found him not guilty of assault. By 1985, Turner's finances were in disarray and he owed the state of California $12,802 in back taxes (US$29,822 in 2018 dollars). He later settled his account. He had tried to sell Bolic Sound in 1980 to raise funds to avoid foreclosure, but the studio burned down in a fire in January 1981 on the day Turner was due to show it to a potential buyer. Turner was arrested again on Friday, June 21, 1985, and charged with conspiracy to sell $16,000 (US$37,272 in 2018 dollars) worth of cocaine, possession and maintaining a residence for selling or using a controlled substance. The police took $1,000 of rock cocaine from his North Hollywood apartment. Also arrested and charged with him were Eddie Coleman Jr., 32, of Altadena, a record producer, and Richard Lee Griffin, 35, of Los Angeles, a music company writer. Turner paid a $5,000 bond (US$11,648 in 2018 dollars) and was released. A further arrest came in 1986 for cocaine possession, concealed carry of a handgun and traffic violations. Turner was released on $2,671 bail (US$6,105 in 2018 dollars). In January 1987, he was arrested for trying to sell 10 ounces of cocaine to an undercover police officer. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell the drug and not guilty to other counts.
Turner was arrested on drug charges in West Hollywood in May 1989. He was convicted of cocaine intoxication and driving under the influence of cocaine on January 16, 1990; the jury deadlocked on other charges. On February 16, 1990, he was sentenced to four years in a California prison. He was incarcerated at the minimum security California Men's Colony, San Luis Obispo. Turner completed 18 months of his sentence before being released on parole in September 1991. Larry Kamien, associate warden of the California Men's Colony, said Turner was a model inmate. In prison he became a trustee working in the library and saved up $13,000 by selling cigarettes, candy bars and coffee to other inmates. He played music with other inmates and wrote 15 new songs that he was planning to record when he was released.
While in prison in 1991, Turner managed to break his dependency on cocaine. He remained clean for more than ten years, with the help of family members. However, in 2004, while trying to help rescue a crack addict acquaintance from his addiction, Turner entered a crack house, smelled cocaine fumes, and had a relapse.
In 2005, Turner revealed he had been diagnosed with emphysema and in his last years was extremely weak, having to use an oxygen tank. His daughter Mia Turner said, "He was too weak from the emphysema to do anything. He'd go in the studio for a couple of minutes and play a couple of bars and say he had to go lay down." Despite his ill health, he appeared on the Gorillaz' album Demon Days, playing piano on the track "Every Planet We Reach Is Dead". Turner also performed the track at the Gorillaz series of live shows at the Manchester Opera House from November 1–5, 2005; his performance was featured in the live concert movie Demon Days: Live at the Manchester Opera House. Before his death, a collaboration between Turner and the rock band the Black Keys was planned by Gorillaz's producer Danger Mouse in 2007. The Black Keys recorded tracks for Turner to work with. Although Turner does not appear on the album, Attack & Release, music magazine Pitchfork noted his influence in the production.
In the year before his death, he was hospitalized several times after accidentally falling. After his death, Turner's autopsy and toxicology report showed he was taking Seroquel at the time of his death. The medicine is most commonly used as treatment for bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. Ex-wife Audrey Madison claims Turner was bipolar and that she was helping him with his illness, a claim supported by Turner's personal assistant and caretaker, Falina Rasool. Rasool says she talked about his bipolar disorder with Turner many times and witnessed its effects:
I would come in the room and see him change like a lightbulb, switch on and switch off. I did ask him about it. He said he made a song about it "Bi Polar", last track on Rising With the Blues and we started laughing... He said, 'I know I'm bipolar.' He says, 'And I've been bipolar, but a lot of people is bipolar.'
However, Turner's daughter Mia Turner rejected this diagnosis, saying that the medication was unnecessary: "Daddy is not bipolar... He was so heavily medicated. He could hardly speak. He was double stepping and walking sideways."
In the weeks leading up to his death, Turner became reclusive. On December 10, 2007, he told personal assistant Falina Rasool that he believed he was dying and would not live until Christmas. As he predicted, Turner died two days later, on December 12, at the age of 76, at his home in San Marcos, California, near San Diego. He was found dead by his former wife Ann Thomas. Rasool was also in the house and administered CPR. Turner was pronounced dead at 11:38 am.
The funeral was held on December 22, 2007, at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, California. Among those who spoke at the funeral were Little Richard, Solomon Burke and Phil Spector. The Kings of Rhythm played versions of "Rocket 88" and "Proud Mary". Turner was cremated after the funeral service.
On January 16, 2008, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office reported that Turner had died from a cocaine overdose. "The cause of death for Ike Turner is cocaine toxicity with other significant conditions, such as hypertensive cardiovascular disease and pulmonary emphysema", Supervising Medical Examiner Investigator Paul Parker told CNN. His daughter Mia was said to be surprised at the coroner's assessment, believing his advanced stage emphysema was a bigger factor.
- 1962: Dance With Ike & Tina Turner's Kings of Rhythm, Sue 2003
- 1963: Rocks The Blues, Crown CLP-5367/CST-367
- 1969: Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm: A Black Man's Soul, Pompeii SD-6003; reissue: Funky Delicacies DEL LP-0047 (2002)
- 1972: Ike Turner Presents The Family Vibes: Strange Fruit, United Artists UAS-5560
- 1972: Blues Roots, United Artists UAS-5576
- 1973: Ike Turner Presents The Family Vibes: Confined To Soul, United Artists UA-LA051-F
- 1973: Bad Dreams, United Artists UA-LA087-F
- 1975: Funky Mule, DJM DJSLM.2010; reissue of A Black Man's Soul
- 1980: The Edge (featuring Tina Turner and Home Grown Funk), Fantasy F-9597
- 1996: My Blues Country, Resurgent/Mystic MYSCD-115
- 1997: Without Love...I Have Nothing, C-Ya Records
- 2001: Here and Now, Ikon IKOCD-8850
- 2002: His Woman, Her Man (The Ike Turner Diaries – Unreleased Funk/Rock 1970–1973), Funky Delicacies DEL LP-0045
- 2002: His Woman, Her Man, Vol. 2 (The Ike Turner Diaries), Funky Delicacies DEL LP-0046
- 2002: The Resurrection: Live At Montreux Jazz Festival, Isabel Records
- 2003: Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm – Live In Concert, Charly CHF-F1014LF
- 2004: The Bad Man: Rare and Unreissued Ike Turner Produced Recordings 1962–1965, Night Train International NTICD-7139
- 2006: Risin' With The Blues, Zoho Roots ZM-200611
- 1981: Kings of Rhythm, Flyright FLY LP-578
- 1984: The Legendary Ike Turner and The Kings of Rhythm: Hey Hey, Red Lightin' RL-0047 [2LP]
- 1991: Trailblazer, Charly R&B CD-CHARLY-263
- 1994: I Like Ike! The Best of Ike Turner, Rhino R2-71819
- 1995: Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm: Rhythm Rockin' Blues, Ace CDCHD-553
- 2000: Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm: Ike's Instrumentals (1954–1965), Ace CDCHD-782
- 2003: Ike Turner (Blues Kingpins Series), Virgin 82714
- 2004: A Proper Introduction To Ike Turner/Jackie Brenston, Proper Intro CD-2048
- 2006: The Chronological Ike Turner 1951–1954, Classics (Blues & Rhythm Series) 5176
- 2006: Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm: Early Times, Rev-Ola CRREV-173
- 2008: Classic Early Sides 1952–1957, JSP 4203 [2CD]
- 2011: Rocket 88: The Original 1951–1960 R&B and Rock & Roll Sides, Soul Jam 600803
- 2011: That Kat Sure Could Play! (The Singles 1951 To 1957), Secret SECBX-025 [4CD]
- 2011: Jack Rabbit Blues – The Singles of 1958–1960, Secret SECSP-041
- 2012: Trouble Up The Road (The Recordings 1961), Secret SECCD-060
- 2012: Studio Productions: New Orleans and Los Angeles 1963–1965, Ace CDCHD-1329
Credited as Ike Turner:
- 1951 : "Heartbroken and Worried" / "I'm Lonesome Baby" – with His Kings of Rhythm, Chess 1459
- 1952 : "You're Drivin' Me Insane" / "Trouble and Heartaches" – as Ike Turner with Ben Burton & His Orchestra, RPM 356
- 1952 : "My Heart Belongs To You" / "Looking for My Baby" – as Bonnie and Ike Turner With Orchestra, RPM 362
- 1954 : "The Way You Used To Treat Me" / "Love Is Scarce" – as Lover Boy (alias for Ike Turner), RPM 409
- 1954 : "Cubano Jump" / "Loosely" – as Ike Turner & His Orchestra, Flair 1040
- 1955 : "Cuban Getaway" / "Go To It" – as Ike Turner & His Orchestra, Flair 1059
- 1957 : "Do You Mean It" / "She Made My Blood Run Cold" – as Ike Turner & His Orchestra, Federal 12297
- 1957 : "The Big Question" / "Rock-A-Bucket" – as Ike Turner & His Orchestra, Federal 12304
- 1957 : "You've Changed My Love" / "Trail Blazer" – as Ike Turner & His Orchestra, Federal 12307
- 1958 : "(I Know) You Don't Love Me" / "I'm on Your Trail" – as Ike Turner & His Orchestra, Royal American 105
- 1958 : "Box Top" / "Chalypso Love Cry" – with Carlson Oliver, Little Ann / Ike Turner Orchestra (with Fred Sample), Tune Town 501
- 1959 : "Box Top" / "Walking Down The Aisle" – with His Kings of Rhythm, Cobra 5033
- 1959 : "(I Know) You Don't Love Me" / "Down & Out" – with His Kings of Rhythm, Artistic 1504
- 1959 : "Jack Rabbit" / "In Your Eyes Baby" – as Icky Renrut (alias for Ike Turner), Stevens 104
- 1959 : "Ho – Ho" / "Hey – Hey" – as Icky Renrut (alias for Ike Turner), Stevens 107
- 1959 : "My Love" / "That's All I Need" – with His Kings of Rhythm, Sue 722
- 1961 : "She Made My Blood Run Cold" / "(Do You Think That I Should Change) The Big Question", King 5553; reissues of Federal 12297/B-side and Federal 12304/A-side
- 1962 : "Prancing" / "It's Gonna Work Out Fine", Sue 760 [***note: label credits Ike & Tina, but these are actually instrumentals by Ike and The Kings of Rhythm]
- 1963 : "What'd I Say" / "Ya Ya" – as Little Bones (alias for Ike Turner), Prann 5001
- 1963 : "Going to the River" / "I Know" – as Little Bones (alias for Ike Turner), Prann 5006
- 1964 : "Getting Nasty" / "Nutting Up" – as Nasty Minds (alias for Ike Turner and The Kings of Rhythm), Sonja 5001
- 1964 : "You Can't Have Your Cake (And Eat It Too)" / "The Drag" – as Ike and Dee Dee Johnson, Innis 3002
- 1965 : "The New Breed (Pt. 1)" / "The New Breed (Pt. 2)" – with His Kings of Rhythm, Sue 138
- 1969 : "Everythings Everything (Pt. 1)" / "Everythings Everything (Pt. 2)" – as Ike Turner & The Soul Seven, Pompeii 7001
- 1969 : "Thinking Black" / "Black Angel", Sterling Award ST-100
- 1970 : "Takin' Back My Name" / "Love Is A Game", Liberty 56194
- 1971 : "River Deep – Mountain High" / "Na Na", United Artists 50865
- 1972 : "Right On" / "Tacks in My Shoes", United Artists 50900
- 1972 : "Bootie Lip" / "Soppin' Molasses" – with The Family Vibes, United Artists 50901
- 1972 : "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" / "Tacks in My Shoes", United Artists 50930
- 1973 : "Dust My Broom" / "You Won't Let Me Go", United Artists 51102
- 1973 : "El Burrito" / "Garbage Man", United Artists XW278
- 1974 : "Father Alone" / "Take My Hand, Precious Lord", United Artists XW460
- 198? : "New Breed (Pt. 1)" / "New Breed (Pt. 2)" – with His Kings of Rhythm, Fleetville FV-303; reissue of Sue 138
- 1994 : "I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)" – the NEW Ike Turner/Billy Rogers version
- 1951 : "Rocket 88" / "Come Back To Where You Belong", Chess 1458 – recorded at Sam Phillips' studio in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 3 or 5, 1951 by Ike Turner and his band, The Kings of Rhythm (with his saxophonist and occasional singer Jackie Brenston, being credited on the record's label [Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats] as the writer/performer).
- 1951 : "My Real Gone Rocket" / "Tuckered Out", Chess 1469 – as Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats (again, really Ike and The Kings of Rhythm).
With Howlin' Wolf
- 1951 : "How Many More Years", Chess 1479
- 1951 : "Riding in the Moonlight", RPM 333
Ike and Tina TurnerEdit
Awards and nominationsEdit
- 1962: Grammy nomination (Category Best Rock and Roll Recording, for "It's Gonna Work Out Fine", with Tina Turner)
- 1970: Grammy nomination (Category Best Rhythm & Blues Instrumental Performance, for A Black Man's Soul)
- 1972: Grammy winner (Category Best Rhythm & Blues Performance – Duo or Group (Vocal or Instrumental), for "Proud Mary" with Tina Turner)
- 1975: Grammy nominations (Category Best Soul Gospel Performance, for "Father Alone" [Ike solo], and The Gospel According To Ike & Tina [with Tina Turner])
- 1981: Blues Awards nomination (Reissue album for Ike Turner's Kings Of Rhythm)
- 1991: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee (with Tina Turner)
- 1991: Blues Hall of Fame Award for "Rocket 88" (as Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats)
- 1999: Grammy Hall of Fame Award for "River Deep – Mountain High" (with Tina Turner)
- 2001: Inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame
- 2002: W.C. Handy Blues Award winner (Comeback Album of The Year for Here and Now)
- 2002: W.C. Handy Blues Award nominations (Soul Blues Album for Here and Now, Soul Blues Male Artist, and Blues Entertainer of the Year)
- 2002: Grammy nomination (Best Traditional Blues Album for Here and Now)
- 2003: Grammy Hall of Fame Award for "Proud Mary" (with Tina Turner)
- 2004: NARAS Memphis Chapter Heroes Award
- 2005: Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame
- 2005: Inducted into Guitar Center's RockWalk
- 2007: Grammy winner (Best Traditional Blues Album for Risin' With The Blues)
- 2007: Mojo Legend Award honoree
- 2015: Inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame
- 2018: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Singles inductee for "Rocket 88" (as Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats)
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