Big Joe Turner / May 18, 1911 - Nov 24, 1985

The Boss of the Blues, Big Joe Turner was one of the strongest voices one could ever hear. A great blues shouter, he could be heard and felt unamplified over the brass and beat. A Kansas City icon, he got his start as a singing bartender before ripping up that city's famed music scene, singing in jazz big bands and with boogie-woogie pianists, such as his successful partnership with Pete Johnson.

He started making appearances in NYC in the mid '30s and recorded sessions all over the country. In the '40s he spent some time in LA singing on/for films as well as with the Duke Ellington Revue. He signed to the fledgling Atlantic label in '51 and his biggest record for them, "Shake, Rattle & Roll", helped set up the rock & roll phenomenon. It's cover version by Bill Haley was the "clean" one with Turner's OG version being a jukebox favorite.

In the '60s & '70s he went back to recording blues & jazz. He sang from the '20s into the '80s and covered boogie woogie, jump blues, R&B, rock & roll, jazz and risque material and worked with trumpeter Hot Lips Page, Meade Lux Lewis, Art Tatum, Willie "The Lion" Smith, Wynonie Harris, Elmore James, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Roomful of Blues and even with Bill Haley & the Comets! His other big tunes included "Roll 'Em Pete", "Cherry Red", "Honey Hush", "Corrine Corrina".

Tagged: Big Joe Turner, blues, Celebrate Icons, jazz, rock, Video, vintage footage

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