Artist Biography For Ike Turner & His Kings Of Rhythm
Ike Wister Turner (November 5, 1931 – December 12, 2007) was an American musician, bandleader, talent scout, and record producer. His first recording, "Rocket 88" by "Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats," in 1951, is considered by some to be the "first rock and roll song" ever. However, he is best known for his work with his then wife Tina Turner as one half of the Ike & Tina Turner duo. Spanning a career that lasted half a century, Ike's repertoire included blues, soul, rock, and funk. Alongside his former wife, he was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and in 2001 was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Turner won two Grammy Awards.
Ike Turner's actual music career began in earnest in the late-1940s where he formed a group whom he christened The Kings of Rhythm. In 1951, the band recorded what some historians have debated as "the first rock and roll record" with "Rocket 88", credited to Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats (this band did not actually exist). Brenston was both the band's saxophonist and the lead vocalist of the song, and on the original Chess release was listed as the song's writer. "Rocket 88" was produced at Sun Studio in Memphis by Sam Phillips. The record was one of the first examples of guitar distortion, which happened by accident when one of the amplifiers was dropped before the recording.
Ike and the Kings of Rhythm settled into local fame in St. Louis where the band locally recorded for a St. Louis label and even appeared on local television shows. Throughout this early period, Turner became a recording scout and A&R man for independent record companies including Sun Records - where "Rocket 88" was recorded, helping the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Elmore James and Otis Rush get signed. He also became a sideman playing guitar for these blues acts and more. Musically, Turner was known for his hard-hitting guitar style. He was known to put the whammy bar of his Fender Stratocaster to frequent use.