Ike & Tina Turner:
The Duo that did Things “Nice and Rough”
Despite the two words listed above being associated with a famed celebrity whom much of the world adores and admires, they speak of a fabricated creation.
The surname of “Turner” represents a branding of Scorpionic control since it refers to the last name of its domineering creator. The significance of the first name is important only for its phonetic similarity to a female superhero from the world of comic books, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.
Before the musical duo that was “Ike and Tina” is examined any further, some realistic truths must first be relayed. Much like how society’s perception of his natal sign has become more and more myopic in the present day, with only the most cartoon-like aspects of the unevolved Scorpio personality being noticed, Ike Turner is viewed by many in the 21st century strictly through a distorted lens of the most evil, villainous kind. Case in point, the character of Ike Turner from the film, “What’s Love Got To Do With It” ranked #4 in Vibe Magazine’s “Best Movie Bad Guys”.
Unbeknownst but factually true none the less, there is a lot more behind the man whose name will most likely go down in Rock History primarily as “that drugged up crazy dude who beat up Tina”.
Most music fans today aren’t aware that Ike Turner was an innovative trail blazer of both Rhythm & Blues and Rock n’ Roll at their earliest inceptions, whom many iconic greats give credit as a major force of creative influence in their lives.
And without Ike, Tina Turner simply would not exist.
For all you Rock trivia fans, did you know that the very first Rock n’ Roll song is attributed to Ike Turner? Swear to Scorpio! There are actually two contenders for this auspicious title, the other being Fats Domino’s 1949 song “The Fat Man”, but the still popular early Rock hit, “Rocket 88” recorded by The Kings of Rhythm in 1951 was predominantly written by a then 19 year old Ike Turner.
Born in the deep South in Clarksdale, Mississippi on November 5th, 1931, Ike Turner was in early grade school when his father, Isaiah, died from injuries inflicted by a white mob, which Ike said to have witnessed. When his home life went from bad to worse after his mother re-married a violent alcoholic, the Scorpio proceeded to make the most of his local resources and in the process, discovered music.
Clarksdale, Mississippi may not have been a sprawling metropolis but the small Southern town possessed a most unobvious golden opportunity for a little kid with a vast amount of untapped musical potential – WROX.
Clarksdale’s WROX, was one of the first radio stations in the country to play Blues music and the first to hire a black DJ. Not only was little Ike drawn to the station, he hung around there so much the DJs put him to work. It was at WROX where Turner was exposed to all of the latest Blues and Boogie Woogie record releases in the years before the advent of World War 2. Among his unofficial duties, the station DJs would often entrust eight year old Ike to play records on the air while they partook in extended coffee breaks.
To be expected, it wasn’t long before the Scorpio had his own radio show while still in junior high. Turner played an eclectic selection from his ever-growing range of music knowledge on his radio show, exposing his audiences to new music styles such as early Rockabilly. Scorpios enjoy having an aura of mystery lingering around them and prefer being in control of things while analyzing their environments and those around them from a background perspective. When applying that theory to live performance, many born beneath this “strong and silent” sign would rather commit Scorpionic suicide than stand beneath the spotlight of live performance and be exposed before the eyes of the public.
Ike Turner experienced this first hand at the age of 12.
Although a self-taught musician who played everything by ear, while an early adolescent Turner was asked to perform in a piano recital at a local high school. The experience was so unnerving to the teen Scorpio, according to Wikipedia.com, Turner “then on preferred to be in the background of his bands, controlling every aspect of the music and choreography, but not being the focus of attention.”
And control he did.
Scorpio is the sign that your Author feels has the most challenging key phrase of all the Zodiac, “I Desire.” A Scorpio’s deepest desires, if left unmonitored, have the potential to utterly dominate those born beneath this most intense of signs. For Scorpio Ike Turner, the deep desire to control everything and everyone around him was also his worst enemy which drove him to act deeply within the negative spectrum of unevolved behavior that was knowingly self-destructive.
However, it must be emphasized that Turner’s need to control was initially one of his best assets which the Scorpio wielded at a young age to propel himself into prominence. While still a teenager in high school, Ike became the band leader of The Kings of Rhythm, an extensive assembly of musicians that hit the night club circuit up and down the Mississippi Delta area, playing live gigs by performing the latest R&B jukebox hits.
Performing throughout the “Chitlin’ Circuit” of African American night clubs in the mid-1950’s was beyond grueling and demanded exceptional focus and stamina from every musician on stage. A typical circuit gig would require The Kings to start performing at 8PM and play non-stop until 8AM without a single break.
But it was precisely that kind of stressful environment where Turner’s Scorpionic sense of control thrived and was utilized to the best of his leadership capabilities. As band leader, Ike Turner insisted on renting a large house where the band would reside together as a single working unit. The Scorpio exerted total control by requiring everyone to partake in such unpopular activities as attending morning rehearsals and ironically, Ike forbade alcohol and drugs be allowed on the premises with automatic termination being the price for those who went against his strictly imposed rules.
By his early 20’s, Ike Turner not only led his highly sought after band, the ambitious Scorpio was also a session player for local record labels in key recording studios in Chicago and St. Louis and his discerning eyes and ears were put to good use as a talent scout for choice R&B recording companies. It was while the Scorpio was at the height of his controlling powers that Fate had him cross paths with a young and highly energized Sagittarius that would prove to unexpectedly change his world.
Enter Anna Mae Bullock, Sagittarian.
Like Turner, Anna Mae was no stranger to childhood hardship with her mother abandoning the family when she was 11 to escape her abusive father. Put to work as a domestic servant in her pre-teen years, Anna Mae faced having nowhere to go when she suddenly lost her grandmother whom she lived with at the age of 16 until being reunited with her older sister at the family funeral.
Also like Ike, Anna Mae was born in the month of November. But very much unlike the intensely natured Scorpio who made his entrance into the world during the earlier part of the month, the girl who hailed from Nutbush, Tennessee was born in late November beneath the sign known for its innate sense of luck and optimism, Sagittarius. With their ruling planet being the largest in the Solar System, Jupiter, and known as “The Great Benefic”, Sagittarians have an inborn reserve of incredibly good Luck. Luck can be interpreted in countless ways but a uniform standard of Luckiness which every person born beneath the sign of the Centaur naturally possesses is the ability to be in the right place, at the right time.
And Anna Mae’s ability for being in the right place, at the right time was exceptional, even in Sagittarian terms.
She first went to hear The Kings of Rhythm with her sister when she was 16. Those born beneath the last of the Fire Signs are known for aggressively pursuing things they badly want and upon first hearing The Kings play, Anna Mae hounded their band leader relentlessly for a chance to sing with them.
At first, Ike merely gave lip service to the demanding girl, agreeing to hear her sing at some point in the never occurring future but that was before Jupiter pushed one of its own center stage by a mere stroke of Sagittarian luck.
Ike managed to always have a playing musician on stage for his non-stop gigs and one particular night his drummer found himself solitarily on stage hitting the skins while the rest of the band was taking an intermission break. Becoming ever more antsy and bored, the drummer attempted handing the movable microphone to a pretty girl who sat in the audience nearby, inviting her to spontaneously sing to which she quickly yet politely declined.
An invitation, which the pretty girl’s Sagittarian sister seated next to her, however, did not hesitate to seize and take immediate advantage of…
Upon hearing Anna Mae’s powerful voice, the dumbfounded band leader rushed in from outside, immediately inviting the girl to sing with his band.
Once again, Jupiter was on Anna Mae’s side not too long afterwards when the Sag was singing for Ike as a back-up vocalist as well as a recording studio session singer. In the fall of 1959, Ike had penned a Soul piece in the style of Sam Cooke/Ray Charles entitled “A Fool In Love” (your Author’s favorite song by either Turner). Ike had written the song with the intention of having a male sing the lead melody line and Anna Mae was hired as a back-up singer for the song’s studio recording.
As Sagittarian Luck would have it, the lead singer never showed up to the appointed recording session.
Still making the most of his resources, the Scorpio asked Anna Mae to sing the main vocal line in the studio as a “dummy track” which Ike planned on eventually deleting after finding a replacement male vocalist at a later time.
The Sagittarian proceeded to do the entire song in a single take.
When NYC record executive and fellow Sagittarian, Juggy Murphy listened to the dummy track sent to him, he knew he had a hit on his hands. Murphy paid Ike $25,000 for the song with one stipulation – the girl’s voice stayed singing the lead vocals. Turner agreed, informing the record executive the singer’s name was “Tina Turner” and that she was the showcase singer in the “Ike & Tina Turner Revue”.
When Anna Mae saw the actual record single, she at first thought another vocalist had been used for the song’s final cut. Little did she know that the hit song sung by some Tina Turner woman that eventually would cross over into the Billboard Top 100 of mainstream music was actually her Sagittarian self.
With the birth of Tina Turner, Ike’s Scorpionic sense of desire crossed the spectrum and went from an evolved sense of controlled discipline to an unevolved all-controlling obsession for power instilled by both vice and violence.
Even with that said, it is here that the Level 5 tornado of endless energy otherwise known as Tina Turner in live performance must be examined in the full light of all its astrological glory.
My good readers, as a former professional singer who regularly sang to large numbers of people in a live audience setting, allow me to say from direct experience – Singing is hard and singing in front of a live audience is even harder.
As a voice teacher, I tell many a young singer to refrain from moving too much or too quickly while singing, since it makes an already challenging task nearly impossible to execute successfully.
Unless your stage name is Tina Turner.
The Fire signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are action oriented and being the Fire Sign that is of Mutable astrological quality, the actions of the Sagittarius are best executed when they are done simultaneously and in as fast and furious a style as possible.
Another way of astrologically describing Tina Turner on a live stage.
For those who’ve never seen Ms. Turner perform during her years as the showcased star of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, you are all required by karmic law to immediately view the video below of the band performing their version of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, “Proud Mary” circa 1971. It is the penultimate example of Sagittarian action in motion.
Only a Sagittarian would dare to dance a fast shimmy step in triple time wearing high heels, holding a wired microphone in front of a live audience, all while singing in full voice. Only a Sagittarian named Tina Turner would dare attempting such aforementioned actions – backwards.
And just when you thought the song couldn’t get any more “nice and rough”, the Sagittarian singing star proceeds to join her Energizer Bunny Back Up singers better known as the Ikettes to do “the Swim” with a vengeance so fast and furiously, one begins to wonder if there’s an exposed cord hooked to the Centaur singer’s back – her high voltage energy seems to transcend the limits of human stamina in live performance.
Unfortunately, the higher Tina’s star rose, the tighter Ike’s Scorpionic power grip of control attempted to keep her under his thumb. Ike’s all controlling nature was more than duly noted when in 1965 record mogul and inventor of “the wall of sound”, Phil Spector, approached the husband and wife duo with his plans to record the song, “River Deep, Mountain High”. Spector came to the negotiating table with two non-negotiable requirements for the Turners:
– Tina was to sing and record the song’s lead vocals…. and Ike was not to be involved with the song in any way, whatsoever.
Spector’s requests were met with all parties agreeing that Ike would get paid $25,000 to simply not be present.
When the Scorpio allows themself to be overcome by their desires, their overall actions are given shrift to roam the unevolved spectrum of negativity. Accompanying Ike’s all controlling nature came his addictions to cocaine and alcohol, his constant philandering, as well as the Scorpio’s violent fits of rage that would be unleashed towards anyone who went against him, with Tina being the main recipient of his fury.
Sagittarius’ planetary ruler not only oversees the concepts of luck and foreign travel, Jupiter also deals with foreign cultures and even more importantly for our Centaur singer, foreign religions as well. With her will being beaten into submission over and over again by Ike’s all controlling, violent nature, Tina desperately sought for a way to handle the Scorpio’s constant abuse.
Which the Sagittarius found in Buddhism.
Tina states that her converted religion and meditative chanting of the Lotus Flower Sutra of “Nam(u) Myōhō Renge Kyō” instilled within her the inner peace to cope and the drive to finally leave Ike and his controlling abuse, once and for all.
Ike Turner created the concept of “Tina Turner” with an overall strategy that if the girl who bore the fictitious name of his making ever decided to leave or quit his band, it would then be assigned to the next singer chosen to replace her. Little did the unevolved Scorpio realize there’s only one Tina Turner who can never be replaced and she happens to be a child of Jupiter filled with inner peace and loved the world over to the very present day.
Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc. is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.