Ike Turner, whose role as one of rock's critical architects was overshadowed by his ogrelike image as the man who brutally abused former wife Tina Turner, died Wednesday at his home in suburban San Diego. He was 76. Turner died at his San Marcos home, Scott M. Hanover of Thrill Entertainment Group, which managed Turner's career, told The Associated Press.
There was no immediate word on the cause of death, which was first reported by celebrity Web site TMZ.com. Turner managed to rehabilitate his image somewhat in later years, touring around the globe with his band the Kings of Rhythm and drawing critical acclaim for his work. He won a Grammy in 2007 in the traditional blues album category for Risin' With the Blues. But his image is forever identified as the drug-addicted, wife-abusing husband of Tina Turner. He was hauntingly portrayed by Laurence Fishburne in the movie What's Love Got To Do With It, based on Tina Turner's autobiography.
As is often the case, bad behavior can overshadow creative achievement. Many people have forgotten this about Ike:
Turner, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is credited by many rock historians with making the first rock 'n' roll record, Rocket 88, in 1951. Produced by the legendary Sam Phillips, it was groundbreaking for its use of distorted electric guitar.
I never worked with Ike, but I had an engineer friend tell me a harrowing story about an all-night cocaine-fueled recording session with Ike and a really big pistol. Scary. Here is Ike and Tina performing The Beatles' "Get Back":