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Remembering Ike Turner

Remembering Ike Turner

Date: Mar 10 2008

Themes: Music, News, Pop Culture


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Ike Turner is one of the unsung heroes of American music. When you hear the words, “Rolling on the river,” you can’t help but imagine Tina Turner’s tough and tense voice shouting them. But behind her, playing guitar and doing backup vocals, was her husband, Ike, the creative leader of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.

But Ike made headlines as often as he made hit singles. He frequently hit Tina and cheated on her. He even spent some time in jail for drug use in the 1990s. Unfortunately, Ike never kicked his drug habit. He died of an overdose late last year.

Listen to Beren and Jason talk about Ike’s death and career.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Beren:  So, uh, Ike Turner died of a cocaine overdose.

Jason:  A cocaine overdose?

Beren:  Uh, yeah, he was like 68 years old.

Jason:  Whoa. What 68-year-old dies of a cocaine overdose?

Beren:  I don’t know. He’s considered James Brown’s contemporary. Back in the day Ike Turner was considered a really, really good band leader. He had a team of crack musicians behind him and, of course, Tina.

Jason:  That’s what he’s most famous for. Is kind of being an abusive husband.

Beren:  Yeah. It’s not sad that that overshadows his work as a musician. I think it should, but it’s kind of interesting that he is such a talented person but the mistakes he made have diminished what he gave to R&B and soul music. That’s crazy. Because you think about James Brown, you know, there’s a guy who would take the police on hundred-mile chases, high on PCP, and when he died, people were calling him “the Godfather of Soul.”

Jason:  Totally. He’s remembered for his musical contributions, but Ike…you can’t think of the name Ike Turner without thinking about him…

Beren:  ...being a wife beater, basically.

Jason:  Do you think that’s a good thing?

Beren:  I think that’s a good thing. I think the annals of music, when people look back on it, he’ll definitely be noted when people are talking about soul, like, ‘60s soul and R&B and the birth of even, like, hip hop and really good funk. But I also think people will always say, “Oh, if he hadn’t beat Tina he could have done so much more.” Because I think it really stalled his career too when she left him and that’s why you don’t hear of him as the co-godfather of soul. Rest in peace, Ike.



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Jason hadn’t heard yet that Ike Turner had died. He’s surprised to learn that the musician died of a cocaine overdose because he seems too old to do cocaine. In fact, Ike was older than Beren thought he was. He was actually 76, not 68.

Beren explains that Ike used to be as well-known and respected as James Brown. Of course, now he’s most widely known as Tina’s abusive husband. Beren thinks that his music won’t be left out of music history and that he deserves the damaged reputation he has. But she makes it clear that she respects him by saying, “Rest in peace,” at the end of the dialog.

Which do you think is more important, the music a star makes, or the successes and failures of their personal lives?



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Benjamin Elizondo


I think most talented singers are screwed up , i don't know why but they all seam like they don't care about nothing. For example , Amy wineohouse , she it's a very talented girl but her behavior it's kind of suicidal, well maybe that's because of the drugs.

10:37 PM Mar 17 2009 |




many most talented artists have successes in their job but they private life is one big piece of failures.   

08:31 PM Dec 11 2008 |




06:22 PM Apr 04 2008 |



every coin has two sides~but I think happy life is more important than anything else though some secure good reputation in the line

I am just a common women ,so I do not understand why so many famouse person like IkeTumer ,always destory their families even themselves ,they seem never consider others ….selfish

01:13 PM Mar 13 2008 |




respect to Tina!!!

07:05 AM Mar 13 2008 |




Generally, speaking about talents and great names in music etc,  musicians should be judged on their merits and contribution. But to a great extent, their personal lives happen to also affect people's likes and dislikes. So, personally for me, when it comes to Ike Turner, I find it hard to be objective. Plus, drug abuse, is kinda like, considered to be a minor vice than spouse abuse (when judging musicians, that is). Maybe that's why it's James Brown who's called the Godfather of Soul and not Ike Turner.

08:19 PM Mar 10 2008 |




much fame,easy money and litlle sense…eveything can happen!

05:03 PM Mar 10 2008 |




I've already heard that history before, it's the same way for many other musicians unfortunalety, easy money, easy drugs and little sense!

04:57 PM Mar 10 2008 |



fuct the ike turner

03:50 PM Mar 10 2008 |




In my opinion,Ike turner should  be separately evaluated in two hands.He is a successful musicion but not a good husband.He brought fans happiness but left sadness to his family.As latter generations,wo should respect his contributions in music history,at the same time criticize what he had done to his wife.Unfortunately,Ike spottted his reputation in music because of the personal life. Maybe Ike can make more contributions to music if he have a sweeter life.

10:04 AM Mar 10 2008 |



The talented music star always unsuccessful of their personal lives,but if he leads an orderly or regular life,he definitely couldn’t made a name for himself.

08:35 AM Mar 10 2008 |



United States

Many talented artists have mental illness. People can't be perfect.I think .  But you can't build your happiness on other's sadness.  Everyone is equal, it's to very person,in his own way, the wonder of the world and the light of the life.

06:04 AM Mar 10 2008 |


Sri Lanka

What ever you do, most important thing is successess and failiures of personal life. Of course good music a star makes leads to remembered him for long time.But good things that you have done to your love ones will remains in their hearts forever.

05:41 AM Mar 10 2008 |


Sri Lanka

What ever you do, most important thing is successess and failiures of personal life. Of course good music a star makes leads to remembered him for long time.But good things that you have done to your love ones will remains in their hearts forever.

05:41 AM Mar 10 2008 |



Sri Lanka


I think the music a star makes is more important than the successes and failures of their personal lives.

05:28 AM Mar 10 2008 |




maybe one's career do not certainly relate to his private life, but a healthy family does make a great sense to one's life.

in this world, do not always have a really balance, and the world, has a blind eyes, sees the honour things, leaves out the spots of one's personality, as long as he makes contrubutes to this soclety. then actually, we do not should have too much to blame, this is life, which, do not really have certain answer.

05:25 AM Mar 10 2008 |



The talented music star always unsuccessful of their personal lives,but if he leads an orderly or regular life,he definitely couldn't made a name for himself.

04:50 AM Mar 10 2008 |



His musical success shouldn't be deminished by his private life. Although, it shouldn't be ignored, because he is one of the persons to which people look up.

He is certain an example for many other people and musicians. So, I think people who are such famous have to take responsibility. This should be considered in common, that means by many other musicians too.

04:28 AM Mar 10 2008 |



IKE Turner is a man with two faces, but I can’t believe he made beautiful music and at the same time he beated his wife. That’s so diagusting.
on a certain level,I think the personal lives is more important than the music a star makes.

03:43 AM Mar 10 2008 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

i hate that kind of men….. the better treat to wife the sweeter life we have

01:21 AM Mar 10 2008 |

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