I liked Ike

12Dec07

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIke Turner died today.

He leaves a complicated legacy. On the one hand, he was arguably the most infamous domestic abuser in pop culture’s history. On the other, he was arguably the inventor of rock and roll. Where Ike went, arguments followed.

Coincidentally, I was just looking at his official home page a couple of weeks ago. I was struck by a couple of things. I would have banked on it looking like some mid-90s Geocities site. Impossible-to-read blinking white text would have overlaid a big, gaudy background image of Ike himself. A MIDI file of “Rocket 88” would have started playing automatically whenever you’d load the page. I had a mental image of Ike sitting at the computer with a hot cup of coffee designing it. “Now, Ike’s going to build hisself a website,” he’d say, clicking the mouse to add a dancing baby. “Yeah, baby, that’s it. That’s gold.”

Yet, it was actually kind of clean and modern-looking. The news section was basically a blog where he talked shit about Tina, Laurence Fishburne, and Jackie Brenston. The discography section said “Where to Get your Ike On”, which I thought was exactly the right thing for it to say.

The schedule page, however, was kind of depressing. He had no gigs scheduled when I looked at it. He’d even stopped adding new months to the calendar after September. It turns out that passing away in his sleep was pretty much all he had lined up.

Ike Turner was a flawed icon, but, as the author of what is commonly acknowledged to be the very first rock and roll song, an icon he surely was. Here’s “Rocket 88.”



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