Clarksdale in Coahoma County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm & blues pioneer Ike Turner began his career playing blues and boogie woogie piano in Clarksdale. Turner was born less than a mile south-west of this site, at 304 Washington Avenue in the Riverton neighborhood, on November 5, 1931. In his pre-teen years he got a job here at the Hotel Alcazar, where he operated the elevator and did janitorial work. Turner later rose to fame as a deejay, producer, and leader of the Kings of Rhythm band and the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.
Ike Turner, a perfectionist driven to create, take charge, and succeed, filled many roles during an illustrious but controversial career. Although best known for his turbulent years with Tina Turner in the 1960s and ‘70s, he had already emerged as an important musical figure while still a teenager in Clarksdale, years before the Ike & Tina phenomenon began.
His father, Izear Luster Turner, a carpenter, railroad employee and preacher, died when Ike was seven, and he went to work to help his mother, seamstress Beatrice Turner. When she bought him a piano, Turner ditched formal lessons to listen to blues pianist Pinetop Perkins and later earned a spot playing in Robert Nighthawk’s band in local juke joints and on WROX radio. After watching WROX announcers John Friskillo and Early Wright,
In March of 1951 Turner took the group to Memphis , where they recorded several songs including the No. 1 R&B hit often regarded as the first rock ‘n’ roll record, “Rocket ‘88’,” featuring Jackie Brenston on vocals with the band credited as the Delta Cats. Turner busily arranged for other artists, including Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, and Little Milton, to record for Chess, Sun, Modern, and other labels during the next few years at various sites around the South, often traveling with the Bihari brothers of Modern Records. He also produced sessions in Clarksdale at WROX, at the Greyhound bus maintenance shop, and in his own studio.
In between stays in West Memphis, Memphis, and Sarasota, Florida, Turner continued to use Clarksdale as a home base before relocating to East St. Louis in 1954 and then moving to California. He continued to
Erected 2010 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 111.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 34° 12.094′ N, 90° 34.408′ W. Marker is in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in Coahoma County. Marker is at the intersection of 3rd Street and Yahoo Avenue, on the left when traveling east on 3rd Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 127 3rd Street, Clarksdale MS 38614, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. WROX Radio (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival (about 400 feet away); Delta Blues Museum W. C. Handy (about 500 feet away); Wade Walton (about 500 feet away); Carnegie Public Library (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sam Cooke (approx. 0.2 miles away); Clarksdale (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Clarksdale.
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia article on Ike Turner. (Submitted on October 28, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Ike Turner Biography. (Submitted on October 28, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 182 times since then and 91 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.