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Turner has frequently been referred to as a "great innovator" of rock and roll by contemporaries such as Little Richard Turner was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on November 5, 1931, to Beatrice Cushenberry (1909–195?), a seamstress, and Isaiah (or Izear) Luster Turner, a Baptist minister.
Around the time he was starting out with the Kings of Rhythm, Turner and Lane became unofficial roadies for blues singer Robert Nighthawk, who often played live on WROX.Turner, who was trained by ear and could not sight read, would learn the pieces by listening to a version on record at home, pretending to be reading the music during rehearsals.with one act who wanted to carry on playing dance band jazz calling themselves the Dukes of Swing and the other, led by Turner, becoming the Kings of Rhythm.The younger of their two children, Turner had an elder sister named Ethel May.Turner believed that he had been named after his father, but discovered his name had been mistakenly registered as Ike Wister Turner when applying for his first passport.His mother then married a man called Philip Reeves.
Turner said his stepfather was a violent alcoholic and that they often argued and fought.
We played juke joints; we'd start playing at 8.00pm and wouldn't get off till 8.00am. If you had to go to the restroom, well that's how I learned to play drums and guitar! Around this time Turner and his band recorded the song "Rocket 88".
Jackie Brenston, a saxophonist in the Kings of Rhythm, sang lead vocals.
He reconciled with his stepfather years later, buying a house for him in the 1950s around the time Turner's mother died.
Turner recounted how he was introduced to sex at the age of six by a middle-aged lady called Miss Boozie.
Turner said that when he was very young he witnessed his father beaten and left for dead by a white mob.