Sonja, Innis, Kent, Loma, Warner Bros, Modern, Tangerine, Cenco, Philles, Pompeii, Blue Thumb, Minit, Liberty, United Artists - some of the labels on which IKE and TINA TURNER records appeared during a two decade career which only ended when they separated and subsequently divorced.
While their classic "River Deep, Mountain High", for Phil Spector's Philles label, is the record for which IKE and TINA are best known by mass audiences, R & B addicts generally regard their output for Juggy Murray's New York based SUE label as being the IKE and TINA sound at its best.
SUE was actually their first label but while the then 22-year old TINA was a relative newcomer, husband IKE was already a show-business veteran. Born in blues' rich Clarksdale, Mississippi (also birthplace of John Lee Hooker) on November 5, 1931, IKE TURNER worked locally as a radio deejay before forming his Kings of Rhythm band which was fronted by singer / saxophonist Jackie Brenston and charted in 1951 with "Rocket 88", cited by many as the first true rock 'n' roll record. They worked first out of Nashville then from Memphis.
As a regional talent scout for Memphis based Sun Records, and Los Angeles based Modern Records, IKE brought such greats as Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King and Bobby Bland into the studios for the first time.
Developing his own stage act into a full-blown R & B revue, IKE discovered a young lady called ANNIE MAE BULLUCK while working in a club in St. Louis.
Born in Brownsville, Tennessee on November 26, 1939 and schooled in gospel music, ANNIE MAE had a remarkable vocal talent. IKE became first her mentor, then her husband, at which time she became TINA TURNER.
Ever active as a producer, IKE booked a session to record his composition of "A Fool In Love". The booked singer failed to turn up so TINA stepped in as deputy. The result was sensational and the astute IKE took the record to New York and sold the master to Juggy Murray. It became the first million seller for both SUE RECORDS and IKE and TINA TURNER.
"I ldolize You" maintained the momentum of success and the novelty song "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" (on which, despite the implication of the lyrics, and the record label) the male voice is that of veteran session guitarist Mickey Baker, became their most memorable SUE release.
With the similarly-styled Inez and Charlie Foxx joining SUE, IKE and TINA split for pastures new and even greater success, eventually winning major recognition with rock audiences, thanks to their work with the Rolling Stones and others, but their SUE work stands proudly on par with their subsequent prolific output elsewhere.
ROGER ST. PIERRE