Tale of two lives

images.jpegThe music world lost two giants in a matter of days recently. The first to shuffle off this mortal coil was Ike Turner, a man whose temper was reportedly as wild and volcanic as the gritty, hard-driving R&B he put out with famed ex Tina Turner in the ’60s and ’70s as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.

Then, over the weekend, came news that sensitive ’70s singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg died. It’s amazing how these things always seem to come in pairs, or even threes, doesn’t it?

Strange that these two, of all people, should share a stage of sorts — at least as far as news wires are concerned.

For all his faults, and they were legion, especially if everything in Tina’s book “I, Tina” and the movie it spawned, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” are true, Turner was as close to a genius as you could get. Not only did he discover the titanic talent of Tina, whose powerhouse vocals have no equal, but Ike could summon the devil with boiling pots of red-hot, horn-blaring R&B — the kind that would burn down a juke joint in the deep South in about a half hour — with a whole lot of soul and gospel thrown in for good measure.

If you need a refresher course on the music of Ike and Tina Turner, give a listen to Time-Life’s The Ike & Tina Story: 1960-1975, a three-disc survey that proves that while their marriage may have been rocky, their musical partnership was a match made in heaven. Searing tracks like the blistering “Finger Poppin'” and scorching live versions of “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and “River Deep Mountain High” highlight the first disc, while the bluesy workout “The Hunter” and the deisel-powered “Proud Mary,” not to mention the soulful pleading of “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” shine brightly on Disc 2. But, this is a set without holes. From beginning to end, it’s just one great dynamo after another, and it serves as evidence of Ike’s, and Tina’s, greatness.

He died playing his favorite gospel songs with his band Kings of Rhythm by his side. To read the news release of his passing, go to www.iketurner.com.

Fogelberg’s story, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more different. A sensitive folkie who wrote mostly acoustic songs with heart and grace, Fogelberg was probably better than Ike at living life and controlling his rage. His music, though, was a little vanilla for critics, even though he had a slew of hits like “The Power of Gold,” “Leader of the Band” and “Same Old Lang Syne.”

Still, Fogelberg’s light spun musical gold connected with people in a way Ike’s didn’t, and for that, he’ll be missed greatly.

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