Ike Turner: King of Rhythm

by John Collis

ikecoverA-format hardback ISBN 1-904316-24-7 £9.99

Ike Turner is one of the great unsung heroes of modern music.

If he is known at all, it is as Mr Tina Turner: domineering, drug-crazed and violent. He was all of those things, perhaps a reason for the tut-tutting airbrush of history. Not a nice chap; but in musical terms he was deservedly the King of Rhythm.

Now respected rock and blues writer John Collis has written the first major study of one of music’s most complex characters.

John Collis writes: ‘If rock ’n’ roll burst out with Little Richard’s demonic Awopbopalula-awopbamboom, an inspired perversion of his sacred singing style, then its story requires what in the movie industry is now called a prequel. And the star of the prequel is Ike Turner.

‘When he was 19 his band travelled to the Sun studios in Memphis and cut a car-loving boogie called Rocket 88, long predating Berry’s fascination with the subject. Many people, including Sun owner Sam Phillips, have called this the first rock ’n’ roll record.

‘From then on, Ike Turner blazed a trail that influenced the whole of blues, R&B and rock ’n’ roll music. I attempt to get behind the myth and reveal the real Ike Turner.’


‘John Collis knows how to get to the heart and soul of his subject like no other rock writer.’ – Jan Wenner, Rolling Stone
‘(His) history of Chess is the best written, best researched work on any aspect of popular music.’ – Richard Williams, The Times
‘That blood-sucking arsehole’ Van Morrison


John Collis is one of Britain’s most respected music writers. He was instrumental in setting up the influential Let It Rock magazine and was music editor of Time Out (London) during the emergence of punk. He has since written bestselling biographies of Van Morrison and Chuck Berry and his recent Penguin book, ‘The Musicians’ Bible: The Complete Guide to the Music Business’ is a set book on several degree courses. The work of which he is most proud is ‘The Story of Chess Records’ (Bloomsbury), which took six years to research. John Collis moonlights as cricket correspondent for The Guardian.

Read an extract from Ike Turner: King of Rhythm