Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Ikettes: I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)

While The Ikettes had several R&B hits, they only charted once within the Top 40 with the song “I’m Blue (the Gong-Gong Song). Leased by Ike Turner to ATCO Records, “I’m Blue” peaked at #3 on the R&B chart and at #19 within the Hot 100 in 1962. I have a copy of the white label promo of this single that my brother got from his college buddy, Russ (The Mad) Hatter, a DJ at WGOH radio in Grayson, KY.

The song features the original lineup of The Ikettes: Flora Williams, Eloise Hester, and Joshie Armstead. Flora, whose birth name was Dolores Johnson, sang lead for The Ikettes. Named for their founder, Ike Turner, the original role of the group was to provide backing vocals on the Ike and Tina Turner Review. Their first recording with Ike and Tina came with “A Fool in Love” in 1960. “I’m Blue (the Gong-Gong Song) was recorded in 1961.

Since The Ikettes were contract employees of Ike Turner, they never received royalties and their pay was low. Because of remuneration issues, The Ikettes were a revolving door of vocalists. A final blow came when The Ikettes left Ike Turner and renamed themselves as The Mariettes formerly The Ikettes. Law suits ensued and The Mariettes were prohibited from singing under the double billing of the band.

1 comment:

  1. Horribly wrong. Flora Williams was Carlena Williams. Delores Johnson, who was an original Ikette unlike Flora, was a different woman. Their singing is quite different.

    Also, when Venetta Fields, Jessie Smith and Robbie Montgomery left The Ikettes they became The Mirettes, named after Mirwood Records. Many other talented singers passed through the ranks of The Ikettes.

    Bad boy!