Our Top 10 Ike & Tina Turner Songs list presents the best Ike & Tina Turner Songs including hits like “Proud Mary,” “A Fool in Love” and many more. Once upon a time, before Tina Turner embarked on her incredibly successful career as a solo artist, she was the second half to the popular musical duo referred to as Ike & Tina Turner. In their heyday, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue was R&B’s answer to what makes the best possible live performance any musical act could hope to achieve. When they were together, both as a couple and as a team, they seemed unstoppable as they brought forth hit after hit. With the backup vocalists known as the Ikettes, as well as the band members of Kings of Rhythm, the 1960s was heavily influenced worldwide by this dynamic duo.
Originally born Izear Turner Jr. in 1931, Ike Turner was regarded as one of the earliest pioneers of rock and roll music during the 1950s. This Mississippi-born and raised talent learned how to play the guitar and piano since childhood, later forming his own band, Kings of Rhythm. Before meeting Tina Turner, he already made a name for himself with his debut recording, “Rocket 88.” Although credited to Jackie Brenston, this single was considered the first rock and roll song. Long before meeting Tina Turner, Ike met and married Marion Louis Lee in 1952, a new talent he recruited as a talent scout. Also, at one point Ike Turner met with Elvis Presley, who was a truck driver that frequented the clubs Turner performed in before realizing he was on the road to becoming one of the most iconic rock and roll stars of all time. Little did Turner know in the beginning his musical style heavily influenced Elvis Presley with his own musical material.
Born as Anna Mae Bullock in 1939, before becoming Tina Turner, Queen of Rock n’ Roll, she was born and raised as the youngest of three daughters whose father was a sharecropper overseer in rural Tennessee. However, she and her sisters were separated from each other after their parents were recruited to work in Knoxville, Tennessee, to work at a defense facility during the timeline of World War II. For Tina, she was sent to live with her grandparents while her sisters were sent to the Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church.
When WWII was over, the sisters and their parents were reunited in the city before moving back out to the Nutbush community they originally came from. Unfortunately, the reunion was short-lived as their mother fled without warning to St. Louis, Missouri, seeking to escape from the abusive marriage she shared with their father. Tina was eleven years old at the time when this happened. When she was thirteen, her father remarried and sent all three of his daughters to live with their grandmother in Brownsville, Tennessee while he moved to Detroit, Michigan with his new bride.
When Tina’s grandmother passed away, the sixteen-year-old moved to St. Louis, Missouri to live with her mother. While in high school, she was active in cheerleading and sports, but also took an interest in music. When Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm were performing on the St. Louis circuit, she and her sister became big fans. The inspired Tina had requested to have a shot as a vocalist to sing with Ike Turner but he never indulged her until she took it upon herself to grab the microphone and sing.
Ike & Tina Turner’s Story
In addition to establishing his own music career, Ike Turner was also a talent scout. When he moved to St. Louis in 1954, he and the Kings of Rhythm had already become one of the city’s favorite acts before he met with Tina in 1957. For Tina, she was first mesmerized by Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm when she and her sister first watched their performance at the Manhattan Club in St. Louis. Inspired, Tina tried to convince a reluctant Ike Turner to let her sing with him. When she realized her request to be heard was being ignored, she grabbed the microphone one fateful evening and sang B.B. King’s “You Know I Love You.” From this point forward, Tina became more involved with the group, especially with its saxophonist, Raymond Hill. It would be with him she would birth her first child, Craig, in 1958, but did so as a single parent as he left her to move back home. This was the same year she graduated from high school.
Still, as Anna Bullock at the time, Tina’s relationship with Ike Turner from 1957 to 1960 was strictly platonic. Before becoming a couple, then husband and wife, their relationship was more like an older brother looking out for the younger sister. However, this became something more as of January 1960, resulting in Tina experiencing her second pregnancy, giving birth to their son, Ronnie, in October 1960. At the time, Ike Turner was still in a romantic relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Lorraine Taylor, whom he already had two sons with. In March 1960, after recording the hit single “A Fool In Love,” Tina sought to put an end to her romance with Ike. This would be the first time she would experience first-hand his violent temper but at the time cared too much for him to put an end to this relationship.
While together, Ike & Tina Turner spent a considerable amount of time on the road, performing night after night across America. As entertainers, racial issues were cast aside as audiences were integrated to watch them perform together. Not only did the two perform together, but the addition of the Ikettes also turned their act to include dance routines. At the time, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue was among the elite R&B acts with an impressive ensemble. However, in 1965, the first Ikettes ensemble left to form the Mirettes and was promptly replaced by a new trio of ladies.
In 1966, Ike & Tina Turner found success beyond the borders of North America when the European audiences first heard the single, “River Deep – Mountain High.” While the song didn’t fare out so well upon release in the US, it was a major hit in the UK, as well as in other European nations such as Spain. This enabled Ike & Tina Turner to embark on a 1966 UK Tour with the Rolling Stones as their opening act. However, as the career of this duo was reaching new highs, their personal lives were reaching new lows, especially as a couple. At one point, Tina attempted to commit suicide just before doing a show in 1968. Starting in 1969, after Ike Turner chose to give up drugs and alcohol, began to use cocaine.
Starting in 1970, Ike & Tina Turner began to heavily impact the mainstream rock and roll music scene which included what became one of the duo’s signature hits, “Proud Mary.” Three years later, the duo released “Nutbush City Limits,” a single that revealed a big part of Tina Turner’s past while she was simply known as Anna Bullock. 1974 also saw Tina Turner have her first solo album, Tina Turns the Country On!, which was released shortly after Ike & Tina Turner released The Gospel According to Ike & Tina Turner. Both of these earned Grammy Award nominations, as did Ike Turner did with his own solo work for his single, “Father Alone.”
However, even at this point, it was evident Tina Turner’s star was rising, surpassing Ike Turner in a manner that it was only a matter of time before something would give. Ike’s personal demons were catching up to him while Tina’s confidence in herself was growing and was no longer the timid young woman he was so easily able to control when they first met.
No Fairytale Ending
Unfortunately for Ike & Tina Turner, Ike’s addictive dependency on cocaine, combined with legal issues, eventually took its toll on their marriage and on their career as a duo. As of 1976, Ike & Tina Turner as a musical duo was no more as Tina could no longer put up with Ike’s increasingly unstable behavior. On March 28, 1978, Ike and Tina were officially divorced. Although the name of Tina Turner was technically trademarked to Ike Turner, it still remained hers and she was also able to retain her songwriting royalties. As a solo artist, when she returned to the music scene with “What’s Love Got to Do with It” in 1984, the woman’s popularity surged even higher than it ever did before.
In the 1986 autobiography, I, Tina, along with the 1993 movie What’s Love Got to Do with It, when it was revealed about Ike Turner’s personal issues that led to domestic violence against Tina, this heavily dented Ike’s career as the world became aware of certain truths about the man, enough so where he lost a considerable amount of fans that used to idolize him. Ike had a cocaine addiction that lasted for fifteen years and was convicted to serve time in prison.
When he was released in 1991 after an eighteen-month sentence, he managed to stay clean until 2004. In the meantime, he published his own autobiography in 1999 titled Takin’ Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner. In it, he challenged Tina’s previously published best-seller with testimonies of his own that suggested there was more to the story than his ex-wife’s account of it. Three years later going back to his cocaine habit, this toxic addiction caught up with him and claimed his life on December 12, 2007.
Ike & Tina Turner’s Legacy
In 1991, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted Ike & Tina Turner. They also have two of their hit singles, namely “River Deep – Mountain High” and Proud Mary,” that have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. On his own, Ike Turner was a five-time Grammy Award winner, as well as a three-time Grammy Hall of Famer. His name was also inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, Clarksdale Walk of Fame, Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame, and St. Louis Walk of Fame.
For Tina Turner, she became one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. To her credit, she earned twelve Grammy Awards, three Grammy Hall of Fame awards, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She also has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Twice over, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, first with Ike Turner in 1991 and then as a solo artist in 2021.
As a duo, Ike & Tina Turner produced twenty studio albums together, along with two re-issues, as well as eight live albums. They also have over seventy singles to their credit and have music featured on two different soundtracks and thirty-two compilation albums. Regardless of how turbulent their personal lives were as a couple, there is no denying Ike & Tina Turner were the dynamic duo in the music industry that did so much more than come out with a flurry of hit singles. They were among the pioneers of rock and roll as the world knows it and still remain as the elite among the elite as a timeless entertaining force to reckon with.
Top 10 Ike & Tina Turner Songs
#10 – Poor Fool
In 1961, Ike & Tina Turner brought forth “Poor Fool” as a single that came from their 1962 album, Dynamite!. There was an earlier version to this song that was released in 1960 that was titled “A Fool Too Long” before it was reworked to what became a number thirty-eight hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and a number-four hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. When Tina first starts the song with a defensive statement about her man before breaking into full-blown lyrics, it is powerful, to say the least. The power behind Tina Turner’s voice was undeniable then and still holds solid ground as one of the most powerful of all time.
#9 – Come Together
Originally performed by The Beatles as the opening track to their 1969 album, Abbey Road, “Come Together” became a single covered by Ike & Tina Turner later that same year. While there is no denying the British band’s original deservedly remains the best recording overall, the performance level brought forth by Ike & Tina Turner is no slouch, either. Where The Beatles produced “Come Together’ as a chart-topping pop song, Ike & Tina turned it into an emotionally soulful number. On the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart, it peaked at number twenty-one and was a number fifty-seven hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. The beauty of Ike & Tina Turner’s version is it’s as timeless as the original and why the duo still earns their right to be called one of the greatest musical acts of all time.
#8 – Baby, Get It On
The final single Ike & Tina Turner would realize a hit together was 1975’s “Baby, Get It On.” From Tina Turner’s solo album, Acid Queen, this song became a number nine hit in the Netherlands, a number thirty-one hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart, and a number eighty-eight hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. For Tina, she was still carrying out her role as Acid Queen from the 1975 movie, Tommy, especially with her screaming vocals that cranked this song into such a rock and roll classic. Combining funk with rhythm, this musical masterpiece beautifully laid out the very magic that made Ike & Tina Turner the dynamic duo such a powerful force to reckon with in the entertainment industry.
#7 – Nutbush City Limits
Among the European audience, “Nutbush City Limits” was a number one hit in Austria while peaking as high as number four on the UK Singles Chart. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it was a number twenty-two hit and it peaked as high as number eleven on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. Written by Tina Turner as she shared her childhood experience, this incredibly soulful song served as a brilliant show of light into who is the woman named Anna Bullock behind the Tina Turna persona.
#6 – I Idolize You
February 1961 saw the release of The Soul of Ike & Tina Turner and one of its hit singles, “I Idolize you.” That same month saw Tina Turner opt to have her hair bleached but this became a disaster as it fell out. This is where she began to don a wig that would later become part of her signature look on stage and in music videos. Written by Ike, “I Idolize You” served as a love song shared between himself and Tina as performers. Sung with doo-wop style backing vocals by the Ikettes, this song was quite different from the raspy “A Fool in Love” that served as Tina’s big breakthrough hit and Ike’s big comeback since “Rocket 88.” On the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart, “I Idolize You” became a number five hit while on the US Billboard Hot 100 it peaked at number eighty-two.
#5 – It’s Gonna Work Out Fine
1961’s “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” was one of the biggest hit singles coming from Ike & Tina Turner as a duo. It also earned the couple’s first Grammy Award nomination, namely for Best Rock and Roll Recording. From the album, Dynamite!, which was released in 1962, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” became the second occasion the couple would realize a million-copy-selling hit since “A Fool in Love.” Sung as a song of reassurance that the relationship between the two lovers in the song will work out fine, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart and at number fourteen on the US Billboard Hot 100.
#4 – I Want to Take You Higher
“I Want to Take You Higher” was the first hit single for Ike & Tina Turner going into the decade of 1970. Originally, this Sly and the Family Stone hit was designed as a dedication to music and how one feels just listening to it. Influential, inspirational, and spiritually uplifting, this incredible song saw Ike & Tina do it justice. With Sly, “I Want to Take You Higher” became a number thirty-eight hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 while Ike & Tina took it even higher to number thirty-four. On the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart, it was a number twenty-five hit for Sly and the Family Stone but a number twenty-four hit for Ike & Tina Turner. Where Sylvester Stewart took this song as a celebratory form of musical celebration, the rasp from Tina and the baritone from Ike turned it into a soulfully delightful experience.
#3 – A Fool in Love
“A Fool in Love” became a number two hit on what has since become the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart for Ike & Tina Turner after it was released in 1960. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked as high as number twenty-seven. “A Fool in Love” somewhat served as a musical number that mimicked real-life for the couple. At the time, they were having an affair the two of them were still living with Ike’s girlfriend, Lorraine Taylor.
This song was originally meant for Art Lassiter but he failed to show up at the studio in St. Louis to record it. Since it was already booked, Ike Turner had the then-known Anna Bullock record it as a demo. As soon as this song was released as a single, it became an instant hit. This song also became the starting point for Anna Bullock to officially adopt the stage name of Tina Turner, which was given to her by Ike. These two were not yet married when this happened but the name was trademarked so if Anna Bullock opted to leave him he could keep the name as a moniker should there be another female recording artist to replace her. “A Fool in Love” became the young woman’s first big breakthrough single despite the fact it was credited to Ike & Tina Turner. In 1961, “A Fool in Love” was featured in the duo’s first album together, The Soul of Ike & Tina Turner.
#2 – Proud Mary
For Ike & Tina Turner, covering Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” during their shows in 1969 found its way on their 1970 album, Workin’ Together. For Ike, he preferred the cover version by Checkmates, Ltd. over CCR’s original. What made the duo’s version so special was the slow and soft start sung by Ike and Tina before bursting into a powerful vocal display by Tina and the Ikettes.
When it was released as a single in 1971, it became a number-four hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and a number five hit on the US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. In addition to becoming a double-certified platinum seller with the RIAA, it also won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group. For CCR, “Proud Mary” was an international hit as it peaked as high as number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped the official music charts belonging to Austria and South Africa, and Yugoslavia. As for Ike & Tina Turner, their version peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100, and at number five on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart after it was released as a single in 1971, two years after CCR’s.
#1 – River Deep – Mountain High
In 1966, “River Deep – Mountain High” did not start out as a successful single in the United States as it only peaked as high as number eighty-eight on the US Billboard Hot 100. This resulted in its album being shelved until 1969, despite the fact in the UK it was doing much better as it peaked as high as number three and was a number one hit in Spain. Thanks to the covered versions performed by Eric Burdon and the Animals and Deep Purple in 1968, the Ike & Tina Turner original resurfaced and became such a favorite that it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
In 1969, “River Deep – Mountain High” seemed to be ahead of its time, a statement even suggested as such by music critics who observed the European audience was able to recognize a song for its musical value better than the American audience could at the time. Nowadays, “River Deep – Mountain High” has since become one of Ike & Tina Turner’s signature songs and has rightfully earned its place as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, ranking at number thirty-three with Rolling Stone Magazine, and at number thirty-seven with New Music Express.
It is also in the top 500 list belonging to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as among the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. In the UK, “River Deep – Mountain High” became certified silver with its British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for selling over 200,000 copies shortly after it was released as a single.
Top 10 Ike & Tina Turner Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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