Big Joe Turner (born Joseph Vernon Turner Jr., May 18, 1911 – November 24, 1985) was an American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri. According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.” Although he came to his greatest fame in the 1950s with his pioneering rock and roll recordings, particularly “Shake, Rattle and Roll“, Turner’s career as a performer stretched from the 1920s into the 1980s. Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
The late The New York Times music critic Robert Palmer, said: “…his voice, pushing like a Count Basie solo, rich and grainy as a section of saxophones, which dominated the room with the sheer sumptuousness of its sound.”
In announcing Turner’s death in their December 1985 edition, the British music magazine, NME, described Turner as “the grandfather of rock and roll.”
Songwriter Dave Alvin wrote a song about an evening that he spent with Turner titled “Boss Of The Blues”. It was on his 2009 release, Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women.