We would have no Rock and Roll without Big Joe Turner! We pay Tribute To The Boss Of The Blues Today … BIG JOE TURNER!! He would be 113 In Blues Heaven. My Poppa BamBam took me to see him and I will never forget it… he was the loudest singer I’ve ever heard. I met him with my Dad. While Big Joe Turner was on stage, my Dad told me to get him some Coca Colas. I put the Coca Colas at his feet while Big Joe was on stage. There were a lot of bottles at his feet! He autographed the poster for my Dad and me. The Greatest Blues Shouter of them All! ROLL ‘EM JOE!
Big Joe Turner (May 18, 1911 – November 24, 1985) was from Kansas City, Missouri. He was a blues shouter whose career spanned jazz, R&B, blues, and early rock & roll without altering his outsized style. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
He began singing in church choirs and informally for tips as a teen. He drew attention as a singing bartender, accompanied by pianist Pete Johnson, in Kansas City saloons. In the 1930s, Turner began recording for various labels, including Decca, Bluebird, and Domino. He had his first hit in 1938 with “Roll ‘Em Pete”.
In the 1940s, Turner became a leading figure in the jump blues movement. He recorded a string of hits for the Atlantic Records label, including “Shake, Rattle and Roll” (1954), “Honey Hush” (1954), and “Chains of Love” (1955). Turner’s music was a major influence on early rock and roll artists, including Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard.
Turner continued to record and perform throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. He appeared in several movies, including the documentary ‘Last of the Blue Devils’ (1979). He also toured extensively, appearing at major jazz and folk festivals in the United States and Europe. Turner died of heart failure in 1985, at the age of 74.
Big Joe Turner was a major figure in the development of blues, R&B, and rock & roll music. His powerful voice and energetic stage presence helped to define these genres. He was a true original, and his music continues to inspire and entertain audiences around the world.
Here are some of Big Joe Turner’s most famous songs:
“Roll ‘Em Pete” (1938)
“Shake, Rattle and Roll” (1954)
“Honey Hush” (1954)
“Chains of Love” (1955)
“The Chicken” (1957)
“I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” (1958)
“Shake, Rattle and Roll, Part 2” (1960)
“The Big Beat” (1962)
“Poor Man’s Blues” (1965)
“I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” (1968)