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. Known variously as The Boss of the Blues, and Big Joe Turner (due to his 6'2', 300+ lbs stature), Turner was born in Kansas City and first discovered his love of music through involvement in the church. Turner's father was killed in a train accident when Joe was only four years old. He began singing on street corners for money, leaving school at age fourteen to begin working in Kansas City's nightclub scene, first as a cook, and later as a singing bartender.
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