#1212: River Deep-Mountain High by Ike & Tina Turner
Izear Luster “Ike” Turner, Jr. was born in Clarkesdale, Mississippi in 1931. He was an American musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, talent scout, and record producer. When he was eight he started learning how to play guitar and piano. In his teens he established an R&B group named the Kings of Rhythm, as cited in John Collis’ book Ike Turner, King of Rhythm. The Kings of Rhythm became his backing band for the rest of his career. In 1951 his first recording was “Rocket 88.” The lead vocals were sung by the Kings of Rhythm’s saxophonist, Jackie Brenston. Ike Turner played piano on the recording. But Phillips Records sold the recording to Chess in Chicago, who released it under the name Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats. Though the record sold over half a million copies, Turner was paid $20. Relocating to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1954, Ike Turner built the Kings of Rhythm into a successful act on the local club circuit. It was in this setting Ike Turner met Anna Mae Bullock, who was working at a club where he performed. He would later go on to rename her as Tina Turner. Together, they formed the Ike & Tina Turner Revue and became a stars in both the soul music and pop charts.