<back - BIG JOE TURNER - Big Joe Turner (May 18, 1911 - November 24, 1985) was from Kansas City, Missouri. Although he came to his greatest fame in the 1950s with his pioneering recording Shake, Rattle and Roll, Turner's career covered the 1930s into the 1980s. Known as the 'Boss of the Blues', he first worked as a singing bartender in Kansas City. His partnership with Boogie-woogie pianist Pete Johnson led to a major hit with Roll 'Em, Pete. Other best known recordings from this period Cherry Red, and The Night Time is the Right Time made Turner in demand.

He continued to record the Blues with small combos on several record labels, in particular National Records, and appeared with the Count Basie Orchestra. He was the chief inspiration for Wynonie Harris and the 'Jump Blues' style of the mid-40's, put Joe's own inspiration was Ethel Waters. In the early 1950s, Joe Turner signed-up with Atlantic Records. Big Joe Turner recorded a number of hits for them, including the Blues standards, Chains of Love and Sweet Sixteen before hitting it big with Shake, Rattle and Roll, which not only transformed his career, but also transformed popular music. The hits continued over the next couple of years with Well All Right, Flip, Flop and Fly, and Morning, Noon, And Night. All these featured the great guitar work of Elmore James.  Because of these hits, Alan Freed continued including Joe on the tour with his show. He also appeared in the movies 'Harlem Rock And Roll' and 'Shake, Rattle, And Roll'. Atlantic's Jerry Wexler and Nesuhi Ertegun thought it would be a good idea to hook Joe up with Pete Johnson again. Pete Johnson played on 'The Boss Of The Blues' recording session and it is regarded as one of the best recordings to come out of the 1950s. In the 1940s found Joe singing with The Johnny Otis Show. He recorded a few singles on Coral in 1943/44 and an album for Blues Time in 1949. Joe kept working and recording during the 1970s, but his health dictated when and how much. He toured Europe 1972 with The Count Basie Orchestra. This led to many dates with Basie over the next few years, as well as a recording with Basie for Pablo. Joe was also in the documentary 'The Last of The Blue Devils', about Kansas City Jazz. He continued to play live whenever he could. His recorded work included an album with Della Reese for Trojan Records in 1973, an album for LMI in 1974, and Spivey in 1977, along with the Pablo output. He also recorded material for the 'Roots' soundtrack for Quincy Jones in 1977. The 1980s came and Joe kept going. His performance on an album in 1983 with Roomful Of Blues as his band, was to be his last recording. Produced by Doc Pomus, featuring Ronnie Earl. Big Joe Turner was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame(1983) and the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.  MP3- Roll 'Em Pete Sally Zu Zas |       


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