Big Joe Turner

Joseph Vernon “Big Joe” Turner, Jr. 1911-1985

Considered an archetypal blues shouter and a founding father of rock ‘n’ roll, Joseph Vernon “Big Joe” Turner was born in Kansas City in 1911. His first job was as a singing bartender at the Hole in the Wall on Independence Avenue.

Performer: Joseph Vernon "Big Joe" Turner,  Jr.

Joseph Vernon “Big Joe” Turner, Jr.

According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.”  He and pianist Pete Johnson were among the first to mix R&B with boogie-woogie, resulting in jump blues in the late 30s and 40s – a style that presaged the birth of rock and roll.

Turner cut a string of early rock & roll classics in the 1950s, including “Chains of Love,” “Honey Hush,” Shake, Rattle and Roll,” and “Flip Flop and Fly,”