Ike & Tina Turner ad, 1969.
I have very little idea what Ike & Tina’s marriage was really like. I’ve never seen that movie. I’ve never read the book(s). Based on everything I’ve heard, though, I assume it was sadistic and often very dark and unpleasant. By his own account, Ike was a terrible drug abuser and a rotten human. All of those facts and myths cannot not cast a shadow over what is a significant body of work. Let me say that I am writing this under that giant shadow.
I recently revisited a bunch of Ike & Tina songs one afternoon during an Rdio wormhole. I started with “I Idolize You” and then went into “I’m Yours (Use Me Any Way You Wanna)” and then “Sexy Ida (Part 2).” I’d heard all of those songs many times before, but it had been a while. So, with a fresh set of ears, my reaction is — holy shit.
I forgot that there is truly nothing else that sounds like Ike, Tina and that band. The songs are poppy but with hints of drugged out funk. The lyrics themselves come right from the pages of an S&M relationship. And then there’s Tina’s voice. It’s hard to think of any similar instrument in rock music. Rod Stewart might be close. It’s not as massive as Aretha’s. But it has as much force and character as anything you’ll ever hear. It’s huge and raspy and somewhat nasal. It’s no wonder the Rolling Stones sought her out and resuscitated her career in the 1970s and she became a mega-star on her own in the 1980s. Her voice, especially during the late 60s with Ike, is like Led Zeppelin or The Stooges or AC/DC. It just murders everything else.
Ike & Tina Turner - Dear John (Version #2; re-recorded but I’m not sure what year, it was probably in the late ’60s or early ’70s from the sounds of Tina’s voice)
This version was featured on one of Ike & Tina’s final albums, Airwaves, in 1978.
Beware, halfway through this audio (thanks to the YouTube uploader who probably posted a choppy audio version), it starts to skip a little.
Ike & Tina Turner
“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”