Ike & Tina Turner

TrackSingle / Album
A Fool In LoveSue 730
It's Gonna Work Out FineSue 749
Tina's DilemmaSue 768
Good Bye, So LongModern 45x1007
All I Could Do Was CryThe Kent Years
River Deep - Mountain HighPhilles 131
A Love Like Yours
(Don't Come Knocking Everyday)
Philles 136
Rock Me BabyOutta Season
Come TogetherMinit 32087
Nutbush City LimitsUnited Artists UA-XW298-W



Ike & Tina playlist


Contributor: Dave Stephens

There’s something on my mind
Won’t somebody please,
Tell me what’s wrong

One of the greatest intros in all of R&B, pop, soul or rock, and stretched out words on virtual paper can’t remotely do justice to the power and pain of Tina’s a cappella declamatory statement. The fact that it was followed by a neat turnaround of Ray Charles style call and response, with the back-up ladies – later christened the Ikettes – singing the words of the chorus while Tina extemporised gloriously, up, down and around them before ordering the gals to ”tell me about it” as they hit the final line. Anchoring the whole concoction was Ike on piano hitting those keys like one of those professors or doctors from the Crescent City.

For those who only know the Olly Murs version of this number, shame! take a listen to the real thing. And if that sentence doesn’t mean anything, Olly Murs, the winner of ITV’s X-Factor Series 6 (2009) sang this song on his route to fame. Who chose the song, I have no idea but his assigned judge was Simon Cowell (is Simon a lover of early soul/R&B one wonders).

A Fool In Love, credited to Ike and Tina Turner, was released in 1960 on the (American) Sue label. It hit #2 in the US R&B Chart and #27 in the Billboard Hot 100. It was the first record with the “Ike and Tina Turner” name on though in 1958, a number entitled Boxtop was recorded and released. It was credited to Ike Turner, Carlson Oliver & Little Ann (vocal).

Which brings me with some degree of neatness to the beginning of my story, or one of the beginnings anyway. “Little Ann” was actually Anna Mae Bullock who was born on 26th November 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee. After several house moves, in part to enable Anna’s mother Zelma to escape an abusive relationship with Anna’s father, she wound up in St Louis in her teens. One night in 1957, while attending a club performance by a local band, Ike Turner’s Kings Of Rhythm, 17-year-old Anna was offered the mike by drummer Eugene Washington. According to one version of events (Wiki on A Fool In Love) she sang several B.B. King songs that night (see also Footnotes). Whether that’s true or not, band leader Ike was impressed enough to offer Anna a guest vocal spot (as Little Ann) with the band though he stuck with a male singer for the main vocal role.

Beginning number two: Izear Luster Turner Jr. was born on 5th November 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi and he led a band called Ike Turner’s Kings Of Rhythm in Clarksdale too. He also had a varied and fascinating musical history prior to meeting up with Miss Bullock. Which is another story altogether and it’s told with aplomb by Cal Taylor in the Ike Turner Toppermost. Suffice to say that, in the late fifties, the Kings Of Rhythm was largely a blues outfit, playing music in the style of jump blues artists like Joe Liggins and Roy Brown. However, Ike was a man who kept an eye on what was selling to the black audience and it was hardly possible for him to miss the rise in popularity of artists like Ray Charles and James Brown, gents who delivered a slightly more exotic form of music than the blues men. Boxtop was an early attempt to ape such sounds. The Turner composition, A Fool In Love, was another. It was intended for a male artist, Art Lassiter, but he didn’t turn up for the recording session. Instead, Ike had Little Ann record the track as a demonstration record with the intent of removing the Bullock vocal and replacing with one by Lassiter at a later date. He also used a group of female singers then known as the Artettes who were normally Lassiter’s backup singers to support Ms Bullock in an attempt to emulate Ray Charles’ Raelettes. He sent the demo to Juggy Murray, founder and hands-on manager of New York based Sue Records. Murray loved the track so much that he insisted it stay as it was, offering Turner a $25,000 advance for the song. Ike gave Anna the name of Tina Turner and the record was released under their joint names, a practice which was to continue giving people the erroneous impression that Ike shared vocal duties with Tina/Anna which he did on stage but only rarely on record.

Contrary to some reports, A Fool In Love wasn’t the first soul dance record ever, but there hadn’t as yet been too many great ones – indeed there’d been very few if you discounted Ray Charles. This record wasn’t only great, it was the first of any note by a woman which made it stand out even more. There was also relatively little in Ike’s own record history to suggest that this nugget was to emerge; maybe 1959’s (I Know) You Don’t Love Me with Tommy Hodge on vocal came closest but although Tommy and the horn section do a great job, the record still sounds dated compared with A Fool In Love.

Ike and Tina delivered another soul/R&B classic during their time at Sue. The song was It’s Gonna Work Out Fine and it was the first under the Ike & Tina name which hadn’t been written by Ike. The song had already been recorded by Mickey (Baker) and Sylvia (Vanderpool/Robinson) in 1960 but their version hadn’t been released for reasons unknown. Both Mickey and Sylvia were in the studio while the Ike & Tina record was being created and, although there’s controversy about Ike’s musical contribution – he claims he was the male vocalist “conversing” with Tina, and that he played the vibrato-heavy guitar part – it seems highly likely that Mickey Baker took on the vocal sparring and that either Baker or Robinson supplied that guitar work (source: various but it’s worth reading the Comments from Mickey Rat on the record in 45cat).

Who did what isn’t that important. What is important is that this was one heck of a record. Tina played her role in the domestic minidrama with operatic intensity; when she sang “your lips set my soul on fire”, she really really meant those words. Compared with the lightweight but pleasing Mickey & Sylvia version this was heavy before anyone had thought of connecting that word to music.

Darling (Yes Tina) It’s time to get next to me
(Honey that was my plan from the very beginning)
Darling (Uh huh?) I never thought that this could be
(What you mean?) Oh yeah
Your lips set my soul on fire
You could be my one desire
Oh darling I think it’s gonna work out fine

While those two records were the stand outs of Ike & Tina’s spell at Sue, there were other releases that weren’t too far behind and several made the R&B Chart. There were inevitably attempts to replicate the hits – The Argument being very much an It’s Gonna Work Out Fine Part 2 – but who wouldn’t try and bottle a hit formula. Often these attempts had a charm of their own: Poor Fool had a clear antecedent but Tina’s opening rant invested the record with a charm of its own. In a like manner, I Idolize You utilised the broad lyrical theme of A Fool In Love but wrapped around those words was a minor key vaguely oriental sounding sonic mix. Elsewhere there was variation. You Can’t Love Two was that rare thing in the Turners’ oeuvre, a slow soul ballad which was tucked away on their first LP, The Soul Of Ike And Tina Turner. It featured Tina in relatively restrained mode, but I did say relatively. You Should’a Treated Me Right was a Ray Charles style jumper with Tina almost out-emoting Mr Soul up front over a mighty cool groove from Ike’s boys. That one saw release in Summer ’62 and its flipside featured a slow blues entitled Sleepless. I see certain similarities in vocal approach to James Brown on Why Does Everything Happen To Me which had been released in March that year, though I should add that the background riffing was entirely different on the two records.

Space limited me to only one further selection from the Turners’ Sue sojourn (1960 to ’63) and I went for a record which, while combining aspects of both the hit singles, also managed to inject a considerable amount of humour. That record had the curious title of Tina’s Dilemma and the duet this time was between Tina and the Ikettes, something which would reoccur on records for future labels if not quite so explicitly. The fact that the record had an even heavier backbeat than A Fool In Love didn’t do it any harm either:

The hits dried up and Ike fell out with Juggy Murray so they moved elsewhere, and elsewhere, and elsewhere. That was to be the pattern for the sixties. From September ’63 to the end of ’65, records carrying the Ike & Tina name appeared on Sonja, Innis, Warner Bros, Kent, Loma and Modern. And that list doesn’t mention Sue who still had a few tracks ‘in the can’. It’s at least in part due to this flitting about that we’re not blessed with a comprehensive career overview of Ike and Tina.

I can’t claim intimacy with all these records but in ’66 I did pick up a couple of mixed soul compilations which originated with Kent/Modern, the first because I and T featured strongly in terms of number of tracks. There were less on the second but present also were Bobby Bland, Little Richard, Lowell Fulsom and Jimmy Witherspoon (and Mike Raven wrote the sleeve notes). The Turner tracks varied in terms of attractiveness with the average, perhaps, not being quite as high as their Sue days. At least one was well above their Sue average. Good Bye, So Long took the basic Tina + Ikettes boogie style and pumped in even more adrenalin, with words tumbling from Tina’s mouth and the interplay with the girls positively crackling. And just at the right time, Ike enters on piano seemingly paying homage to one of his early heroes, Pinetop Perkins.

I said at least one, another number/performance, I Can’t Believe What You Say matched Good Bye So Long in both energy and sheer ebullience. It was only that piano solo which caused me to favour “Good Bye”. Just so you know what you’re missing, here’s a clip from American Bandstand:

Something else of note happened while the Turners were at Kent/Modern: at long last one of the 300+ a year gigs of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue got captured on wax. The album, Ike And Tina Turner Revue With The Kings Of Rhythm Orchestra LIVE!!! released in 1964 gave the rest of the world and particularly whitey, a chance to hear what the chitlin’ circuit had been enjoying for years. Kicking off with a Please Please Please on which the sweat flying everywhere was almost tangible with Tina putting up a serious challenge to the acknowledged (male) master of the live soul revue, the album motored through a number of soul standards plus the Turner Sue hits at a rate of knots. Warm-up singers including Stacy Johnson (Drown In My Own Tears) and Vernon Guy (For Your Precious Love) did their own thing but Tina was the star; she was the one the audience had come to see and hear. She didn’t disappoint. The long – eight and a half minutes – medley of Etta James’ All I Could Do Was Cry and a reprise of Please Please Please was a highlight. Much of “Cry” was given over to an intense recitation in the manner of certain male soul stars like Brown and Burke but which wasn’t present in the James original. To their credit, Kent have in relatively recent years bundled together a representative collection of Ike & Tina material in a comp entitled The Kent Years. That set includes a live version of All I Could Do Was Cry which, to these ears, surpasses the one referred to above and I’m delighted to be able to include it as my solitary example of Tina in slow burn mode:

I heard
I heard church bells ring
And I heard
I heard a choir singing
And I saw my love
Walk down, walk down the aisle

1965 was the year when Bob Krasnow, boss man of the Loma label and recently appointed manager of Ike and Tina, took a call from a guy called Phil Spector. He wanted to record Tina on his Philles label but didn’t want Ike anywhere near the studio. A deal was agreed whereby Ike was paid $20,000 to stay away though his name was used on the resulting recordings. The most prominent by far of the handful of tracks which resulted from the deal was the Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry & Spector composition, River Deep – Mountain High, a track which the reader must have heard unless he or she has been living in a monastery/convent for decades. Assuming that isn’t the case you’ll either love it or not; it isn’t a track you can ignore. It was recorded in ’65 but not released till May ’66 and the public reaction was strange to put it mildly. Brits went wild for the record and pushed it up to #3 in the UK Chart, which was quite something considering that 99% of them had never of Ike & Tina before (though they had heard of Spector of course). In contrast, in the Turners’ home country the record stuck at #88 in the Pop Chart and that was it. US critics weren’t necessarily complimentary about the record either. Years later – in 1989 to be precise – Dave Marsh in his “The Heart Of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made”, recorded the statement below in his critique of A Fool In Love (yes that one):

“One of the more glaring absences from The Heart Of Rock & Soul is River Deep – Mountain High, which Phil Spector produced for Ike and Tina in 1967. It isn’t here because it sounds to me like a muddle, an album’s worth of sounds jammed onto one side of a 45, with a little girl lyric that completely contradicts Tina Turner’s true persona as the Queen of R&B Sleaze.”

Marsh then spends the next two paragraphs criticising both Spector and (Ike) Turner before finally making some positive noises about A Fool In Love (and even more about a Tina solo record with which the review is bracketed). He only ranks A Fool In Love at 863 so he wasn’t that positive about it. And whether a later version of his book corrects that release date I don’t know.

Not all US critics felt this way. Rolling Stone ranked River Deep – Mountain High as #33 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

You must know the record but here it is anyway and I think it’s magnificent.

That was the original promotion video in which Ike Turner made a guest appearance noodling away on an acoustic guitar.

The Philles follow-up to River Deep – Mountain High was Two To Tango c/w A Man Is A Man Is A Man. While neither side was without merit, both were mundane in comparison to “River Deep”. London didn’t release the single in the UK, perhaps wisely. There were two more Philles Ike & Tina singles but I’m skipping one – the comments above apply. The final disc, A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Every Day) was originally the flip side to a Martha and the Vandellas single written by Holland, Dozier and Holland and in the hands of the girls it was a superb soft soul production of a type at which Motown often excelled. The Philles production was anything but soft; Spector would probably argue that he (and Tina) were glorifying that punch line with those mammoth cymbal flourishes. Logically I can’t defend the record but words could sometimes be subservient to SOUND on Spector records and I still love it anyway.

A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Every Day) was the last release on Philles. Phil Spector didn’t make another record for two years.

If the Philles singles and belated album – on which five of the tracks were retreads produced by Ike because Spector had effectively given up – did little for the Turners in the US, it did raise their profile dramatically on this side of the pond and the Stones invited them to be an opening act on a UK tour by the band. The reaction was so good that they booked further tours in Europe and Australia. Word spread and returning to the US they found themselves on demand on the concert circuit.

They signed to Bob Krasnow’s Blue Thumb Records and albums followed in ’68 and ’69. The titles were Outta Season (which had very non-PC whited up cover pics) and The Hunter. Neither LP was consistently brilliant but in keeping with the sixties trend they were genuine albums rather than collections of singles, flips and filler. What was of interest about both was that they majored on blues (plus a little soul) rather than out and out R&B i.e. they had Ike going back to his roots and it showed. Another point of interest is that according to the Mike Leadbitter & Neil Slaven written “Blues Records 1943-1970”, Albert Collins featured in the sessions which produced both of these sets.

A personal note: I purchased Outta Season cheaply from a Boots branch back in the days when Boots sold records so the LP is part of my listening background, and I can state from having lived with it that Tina handles the blues standards that occupy roughly half of the album, extremely well. You would think that she’d been delivering songs like Five Long Years, Reconsider Baby and Crazy ‘Bout You Baby on stage, night after night for years. And the more I listen the more I start to think that really could be Albert Collins on axe; the guitarist is very in-your-face just like the Ice Man even if he’s lacking somewhat in the extreme stinging sound found on so many of his records. One of these tracks had to be in my selection and I eventually plumped for a splendidly relaxed version of B.B.’s Rock Me Baby.

The pair had a minor hit – #23 in the R&B Chart and #68 Pop – with their take on Otis’ I’ve Been Loving You Too Long from Outta Season. Tina did a great job and this one was vying for selection with only the slightly show-offy guitar work eventually stopping its inclusion.

I should add that in between the Blue Thumb LPs coming out loads of other albums on other labels also appeared as Ike appeared to go for a quantity-and-don’t-worry-about-the quality rule.

1970 saw the release of an album entitled Come Together (with no-expense-spared gatefold sleeve) and a single, consisting of the title track plus the album’s other cover, their take on the Stones’ Honky Tonk Women, which preceded the LP in order of release. I’d never been overly attracted to the Beatles’ original of Come Together. It smacked a little of Lennon with some assistance from McCartney playing with sounds almost for the hell of it. But those sounds coalesced into something real when Tina sang. Lyrically, it might have been Edward Lear via John Lennon nonsense but that didn’t matter one jot. And arranger Ike was just so-o-o-o comfortable with those heavy seventh chords that they seemed to come more naturally from the Kings Of Rhythm than the Beatles. It wasn’t a big hit – #21 in the R&B Chart and #57 Pop – but it was a step in the right direction and it identified the Turners with current material in that the original single had only been released just a month or two earlier.

A second single culled from the album, Sly Stone’s I Want To Take You Higher, also achieved a chart placing in 1970 and in ’71, the Turners made an even bigger splash with their version of CCR/John Fogerty’s Proud Mary which benefited in terms of arrangement from some assistance from a gent called Soko Richardson (source: Wiki). The reader is fully entitled to ask why this one isn’t in the ten. It very nearly made it and, yes, I enjoy what they did to the song but I prefer my Proud Mary rolling on the river at John Fogerty or Solomon Burke pace; a little more gentle, a little more stately with an image forming of the old lady in all her faded glory rather than visualising Tina and the Ikettes shakin’ their booty. Sentimentality, of course, and no objection to shakin’.

1973’s Nutbush City Limits almost brought the Ike and Tina story to a close so it’s a fitting final track. Tina contributed the near-autographical lyrics as well as her usual upfront chutzpah while Ike provided eminently suitable seventies fuzz and funk. It remained in Tina’s solo act for years and she recorded more than one updated version. This is the original. With lyrics.

A church house gin house
A school house outhouse
On Highway Number Nineteen
The people keep the city clean
They call it Nutbush
Oh Nutbush
Call it Nutbush city limits

There were more singles but “Nutbush” was the last sizeable hit.

The relationship between Ike and Tina turned into more than a musical one relatively early on and, according to Tina, they were married in Tijuana in 1962 though Ike disputed this (see Footnotes).

While he was a non-drinker and non-drug taker in the early years, in the seventies Ike developed a heavy cocaine habit to the extent that shows sometimes got cancelled or postponed. On 1st July 1976, a fight started when the couple were on route by plane to Dallas to perform at the Dallas Statler Hilton. The fight continued in the hotel suite but eventually Ike fell asleep on a sofa. Tina grabbed what she could and fled from the premises, crossing a freeway by foot in the process. She stayed the night at a local Ramada hotel and subsequently stopped at various friend’s houses. She filed for divorce on 27th July. It was finalised in March 1978. She retained the Tina Turner name (which had been legally protected by Ike) but chose to give Ike “her share of their studio, publishing companies, four cars, and real estate – a gift worth close to $500,000, stating that her freedom “was more important”” (source: Wiki).

The couple never performed together in public (or privately) again. They both embarked on solo careers with varying degrees of success. In 1986, Tina published an autobiography “I, Tina” co-written with music critic Kurt Loder within which she documented how badly she’d been treated by Ike. Its appearance inevitably impacted Ike’s career though there was a degree of revival as the years progressed. He published his own autobiography “Takin’ Back My Name” in 1999. During the last three years of his life, “he headlined a powerful show at London’s Barbican Centre, played as part of Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz pop collective and received a Mojo icon award” (source: The Guardian obituary). Until his death, the British magazine Juke Blues gave him the title of Honorary President.

Ike died on 12th December 2007. The Telegraph obituary stated:

“Ike Turner, who died on Wednesday aged 76, was an outstanding figure in the early history of popular music; yet his tempestuous life was eventually dominated by the revelations of his cruelty towards his wife, the singer Tina Turner, whose musical success was to surpass his own.”

After taking a few years to re-establish herself Tina became a global superstar and that’s a story which warrants a Toppermost all of its own. I’m not sure where I read that “global superstar” bit and those aren’t the sort of words I’d normally use, but I have to concede that there’s a sort of ring to the phrase when used in relation to Tina; she certainly made some mighty good records as a solo performer. I tried a little experiment. I entered the words Tina Turner into YouTube and it gave a near even spread of Ike & Tina and Tina solo songs, which, while totally non-scientific, did suggest that phase 1 of her career is felt to have yielded some very popular performances. Or to put it another way, if Ike & Tina Turner had not existed the music world would have been a slightly less happy place.




1. I picked up several Sue Ike & Tina singles circa 1963 and these were in part duplicated by a Hallmark (cheapo) LP I bought a few years later. Before starting this exercise I rather assumed that there would be a comprehensive and hopefully chronological CD which covered the Sue period. It didn’t take long to ascertain that I had been guilty of wild optimism; there are plenty of CDs around covering the time frame but nothing really all embracing, let alone chronological. The best I found was a recent release from Jasmine Records entitled It’s Gonna Work Out Fine – From The Beginning 1959-1962. It holds 27 tracks, short of the total recorded but including the more significant ones.

2. Cal Taylor’s Ike Turner Toppermost has a fascinating minor variation on the Anna Mae–meets–Ike story and the significance of a B.B. King song. Rather than retell it here I’ll point the reader to that document which I believe is the only way he or she will get to understand the full importance of Ike Turner in the post war blues and R&B scene.

3. After the success of A Fool In Love, Ike Turner took on board a new trio of female backup singers, gave them the name The Ikettes and renamed the whole ensemble, The Ike & Tina Turner Revue.

4. No feature on Ike and Tina Turner would be complete without mention of the Ikettes hit single, I’m Blue (The Gong Gong Song).

Ike wrote the song, Ike & Tina co-produced it and Tina helped with the arrangement and sang with the backing girls. The lady singing lead was Delores Johnson. The record hit #19 in the Hot 100 in early ’62. Follow-ups failed to chart but Ike kept on pumping those singles out. After the switch to Modern Records, several of these records achieved minor chart placements. Best of the bunch was probably Peaches ‘N’ Cream in 1965.

5. There were several discs released during the period 1961 to 1965 which weren’t strictly Ike & Tina ones. Several of these were attempts from earlier labels Ike had recorded for to cash in on some of the financial recognition Ike & Tina were getting. But there were others too, including an instrumental version of It’s Gonna Work Out Fine. For those who’ve never heard it before I can assure you that this is nothing like the Ry Cooder version of the song. In addition there was a 1964 single credited to Ike and Dee Dee Johnson, with the latter being Delores Johnson of the Ikettes. The A-side, You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too, suggested that Ike might have been thinking of carving out an alternative career with Delores as a kind of substitute Mickey & Sylvia. It would appear that the record never saw full release. Finally, there was a two-sided instrumental affair with Ike’s guitar to the fore, entitled The New Breed released at the tail end of ’65. It was credited to Ike Turner and his Kings Of Rhythm. I’m unsure as to whether the Northern Soul crowd ever came across this one. If not, they should have.

6. The “couple of mixed soul compilations” I referred to were Soul Sixteen and Soul Supply issued by EMI/Stateside in 1966. Significantly, both have “A Kent/Modern Recording” in the top right corner. The first has a generous six tracks from Ike & Tina and the second has two. You might have thought that would have exhausted the couple’s Kent/Modern output but the compiler still managed to omit the Turner take on Please Please Please.

7. Modern Records was one of the key L.A. based indies. It was set up in 1947 by the brothers Bihari (Lester, Jules, Saul and Joe). They followed this with a sister label, RPM Records. The Modern/RPM list of artists contained at one time or another: John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Elmore James, Etta James, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jimmy Witherspoon, Bobby Bland, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Howlin’ Wolf, almost a who’s who of blues, R&B and soul. In the late fifties Modern went bankrupt and Kent Records, another label launched by the Bihari Brothers, was used to reissue Modern stock. Kent was later purchased by Ace Records UK.

8. Mike Raven, real name Austin Churton Fairman, was, among many other things, a British radio disc jockey who worked initially on the BBC and then on various pirate radio stations. He ran an hour-long specialist Blues and R&B show from 1964 onwards until 1967 when he rejoined the BBC and launched the Mike Raven Blues Show. I was lucky enough to be living in Chatham in ’64/’65 and was able to receive the pirate labels well. I can report that the service Mike performed for R&B was immeasurable.

9. The pairing or mash-up of All I Could Do Was Cry and Please Please Please appears on Spotify as “Wedding Medley”.

10. Bob Krasnow was an all-round music entrepreneur who eventually became chairman of Elektra before he (semi) retired. One of his early roles was promo man for James Brown. History will also log him as the man who discovered, signed and produced, the debut album for Captain Beefheart.

11. River Deep – Mountain High was produced by Phil Spector and arranged by Jack Nitzsche. Musicians used were largely members of the L.A. Wrecking Crew including Leon Russell (keyboards), Michel Rubini (piano), Jim Horn (saxophone), Barney Kessel (guitar), Glen Campbell (guitar), Hal Blaine (drums), Earl Palmer (drums), Carol Kaye (bass guitar) and Frank Capp (percussion) (source: Wiki). The production approach used was Spector’s Wall of Sound.

12.A snippet I will reveal from the Ike Turner Toppermost is that he appeared on B.B. King’s original Three O’Clock Blues. So the version on Outta Season with Tina on vocal was effectively a revisit for Mr. Turner.

13. According to Wiki, “The Nutbush is a popular dance in Australia. It is danced in tune to Nutbush City Limits.” Also … “A segment of State Route 19 between Brownsville and Nutbush was named Tina Turner Highway in 2002 after the singer who spent her childhood in Nutbush.”

14. In 1973, Tina Turner travelled to London for the filming of the rock musical Tommy in which she played The Acid Queen.

15. In this interview with Ike (which Cal found for me and which took place somewhere around 1993), he (Ike) states quite categorically that the ‘wedding’ we are told took place in Tijuana was nothing more than a spot of fun.

16. On the elephant in the room, or that subject about which I’ve not spoken, other than make brief allusion to “I, Tina” and the divorce. I have read the book although it was many years ago and while I don’t challenge the contents, I would make two comments:

(a) Both participants in the relationship came from seriously troubled childhoods and both grew up in communities where the events as described in the book were not that uncommon (though I would not see that as an excuse for Ike’s behaviour).

(b) Pop music idols are not gods. Throughout the history of pop and rock there have been nasty people making nice music, sometimes even great music. Phil Spector appears in this feature as well as Ike, and the man who is revered as one of greatest pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll, Chuck Berry, wasn’t the most pleasing character around. While we make our own choices about whether to continue to listen to such people, we can’t deny the contribution they have made to music.

17. To end on something less controversial here’s the Ike and Tina Turner Revue on The Big T.N.T Show (1966) with a medley of A Fool In Love and It’s Gonna Work Out Fine. Watch out for the guitarists doing the Turner version of the Shadows dance:

“Yes, honey, those were the good old days”



Ike & Tina Turner Revue (1965)


Ike & Tina Turner Revue poster


Ike Turner (1931–2007)

Tina Turner (1939-2023)


The World of Tina Turner

Ike & Tina Turner: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Ike & Tina Turner at Discogs

Tales of Ike and Tina Turner (Rolling Stone, 1971)

“I, Tina” by Tina Turner with Kurt Loder (Penguin, New Ed. 1987)

Ike & Tina Turner biography (Apple Music)

Dave Stephens is the author of two books on popular music. His first, “RocknRoll”, is described by one reviewer as “probably the most useful single source of information on 50s & 60s music I’ve come across”. Dave followed this up with “London Rocks” in 2016, an analysis of the early years of the London (American) record label in the UK. You can follow him on Twitter @DangerousDaveXX

Read the Toppermosts of some of the other artists mentioned in this post:
Bobby Bland, Solomon Burke, Creedence Clearwater Revival, B.B. King, Little Richard, Martha & the Vandellas, Mickey & Sylvia, Otis Redding, Sly & the Family Stone

TopperPost #751


  1. Sam
    Nov 10, 2018

    It’s nice to read about their musical legacy rather than their personal life which Tina has been profiting off for decades. I prefer her music during in the 1960s and 1970s because she had more soul and grit. After she reinvented herself down to a new accent and nationality she sold out to the pop masses. Tina is a talented and hardworking lady but she knows she is a product of Ike Turner. Tina was the show but Ike put it all together from arranging their music down to creating her stage persona. While their personal relationship ended on a bad note they created a wonderful musical legacy together which is why they’re inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame together as a duo.

  2. Andrew Shields
    Nov 11, 2018

    Dave, thanks for this great piece. What excellent records these were. Hadn’t heard “A Fool In Love’ in a long time and had almost forgotten what a good song it is. Thanks again.

  3. Peter Viney
    Nov 12, 2018

    Another great one, although your video link to “I Can’t Believe What You Say” shows why it should be in the ten, probably my second choice after It’s Gonna Work Ot Fine. I like It Sho Ain’t Me – B-side of We Need A Understanding.
    I agree with Sam that a Toppermost should explore the music rather than the biography, but Ikettes have also testified to Ike’s predatory unpleasantness. On the other hand, I know someone who was acquainted with him in LA in the 70s and found him polite and charming. However, don’t under-estimate solo Tina. She had her own thing too.

  4. Steve Paine
    Nov 19, 2018

    One of your best, and that’s saying something. A masterful blend of scholarship and accessible, in-the-know popular writing. I’d say the same for Cal’s on Ike. As usual, I have a new appreciation for these great artists.

  5. Dave Stephens
    Nov 23, 2018

    Gentlemen, ta very much for your kind comments. As Sam stated, I do try and concentrate on the music side because I feel that that’s what Toppermost is about. With Ike though, it’s impossible to totally ignore the Tina biog. and confirmatory comments such as those Peter mentioned. On the other side of the coin I can’t believe that Cilla Huggins and the other folk at Juke Blues could have got Ike completely wrong.

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