R&B star Ike Turner was born on November 5, 1931, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and grew up playing the blues. In 1956, he met a teen and vocalist named Anna Mae Bullock. He wed her and helped create her stage character, Tina Turner. The duo’s cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” earned them their first and only Grammy Award jointly in 1971. Their last hit together was “Nutbush City Limits,” composed by Tina and released in 1973.
(While his complete, legal name was Ike Wister Turner, he spent much of his early life considering his complete name was Izear Luster Turner Jr., after his dad.) As a kid, Turner initially played a style of blues called boogie woogie on the piano, which he learned from Pinetop Perkins. He afterwards learned to play guitar.
In the late 1940s, Turner began a group called the Kings of Rhythm. In 1951, he and his group went to Memphis to record in the legendary Sun Studios run by recording star Sam Phillips. Their song, “Rocket 88,” is recognized as by many to be the very first rock and rock record.
Brenston was the lead vocalist of Turner’s group who eventually left to go solo. Turner and his group remained in Memphis, generally working in recording sessions with such blues legends as Elmore James and Guy Buddy. As well as employed as a musician, he was a talent scout for Modern Records to get a time and helped find B.B. King and Howlin’ Wolf.