Wading into the gray area

“Evan, want to get another bunch of records?”

“OK, Dad.”

In the batch he brings, a stack chosen at random by a 12-year-old, are a couple of albums by Ike and Tina Turner.

And I get to thinking: I’ve regularly visited a number of vintage soul and R&B music blogs over the last year and a half, but haven’t seen or heard much about Ike and Tina.

Then I wonder: Has it become politically incorrect to like Ike and Tina Turner?

Ike and Tina split more than 30 years ago, in 1976. So there’s one, almost two generations of music fans who don’t know much — if anything — about their work as Ike and Tina, or as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, or as Ike and Tina Turner and the Ikettes.

To some of these folks, Ike and Tina always have been solo artists.

To some of these folks, Tina and Ike always have been, quite simply, good and evil, the victim and the oppressor.

The truth, of course, is never that neatly cast.

Yet for some folks, the gospel truth is the 1993 film “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” in which Ike fares pretty badly. It’s her story, based on her 1986 autobiography, “I, Tina.”

Ike had his say in his 1999 autobiography, “Takin’ Back My Name.”

In Ike’s bio on his web site, he twice insists the movie’s fictionalized portrayal of him by the actor Lawrence Fishburne has been accepted as fact. Well, Ike, you may have a point, but you have admitted abusing women, drugs and alcohol.

But that bio was written at least three years ago. Here’s what a seemingly slightly mellower Ike told Michael Hurtt in this month’s issue of Mojo:

“You have to have a villain and you have to have a hero, so I was the villain (in the film). It assassinated my career for seven or eight years, but it got kids saying, ‘Why are they always talking about Ike Turner?’ Kids today, 15, 20 years old, all they’re interested in is the music.”

Ike, who’s 75, also blew a little smoke Hurtt’s way:

“It’s nice for once to talk to somebody that knows my real life rather than somebody that knows part of it and that part is ass backwards.”

Which brings us back to being politically correct.

Is the music of Ike and Tina Turner, great soul and R&B performers for two decades, being shunned by those who will forever cast Ike Turner as the bad guy?

Or is the music of Ike and Tina Turner underappreciated because so much of it has never properly made it to CD?

As you ponder that, enjoy a couple of cuts from one of those old Ike and Tina Turner albums.


The first tune is an antiwar song. It’s dated, but still interesting.

The second tune is about making love, not war. Donna Summer had nothing on Tina Turner.

“Why Can’t We Be Happy?” and “Doin’ It,” Ike and Tina Turner and the Ikettes, from “Come Together,” 1970.


1 Comment

Filed under July 2007, Sounds

One response to “Wading into the gray area

  1. Pingback: The travelers are home « AM, Then FM

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