Ike Turner | True King Of Rock and Roll
As a pianist in the early '50s, Turner helped lay the groundwork for rock & roll music; he was also a distinctive guitarist with a biting, nasty tone, and was one of the first to make the whammy bar an integral part of his sound. Turner was inspired by Blues pianist Pinetop Perkins. As a teenager Turner talked himself into a DJ slot on the local radio station, where he played everything from the Jump Blues of Louis Jordan to Country & Western. He formed his first band while still in high school, and by the late '40s had assembled an outfit dubbed the Kings of Rhythm. In 1951, the Kings of Rhythm traveled to Memphis to record at Sam Phillips' Sun studio. Their original tune "Rocket 88" was recorded with a lead vocal by sax player Jackie Brenston. In 1969, Ike & Tina were invited to open for the Rolling Stones, and Turner realized that changing times had made the Revue's rough, nasty brand of soul music more palatable to white rock audiences. In 1991 he and Tina were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His autobiography, Takin' Back My Name, was published by a U.K. company in 1999, and in 2001 he released a new album, Here and Now, which was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional Blues Album category; it was also nominated for several W.C. Handy Awards (the blues equivalent of the Grammys) and took honors for Comeback Album of the Year. Risin' with the Blues, released five years later, was nominated for a Grammy in the same category.