A Fool in Love

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"A Fool in Love"
Single by Ike & Tina Turner
from the album The Soul of Ike & Tina Turner
B-side"The Way You Love Me"
ReleasedJuly 1960
Format7" vinyl single
RecordedMarch 1960
StudioTechnisonic Studios (St. Louis, Missouri)
GenreRhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul
LabelSue Records
Songwriter(s)Ike Turner
Producer(s)Ike Turner
Ike & Tina Turner singles chronology
"A Fool in Love"
"A Fool Too Long"

"A Fool in Love" is an American rhythm and blues song written by Ike Turner and released by Ike & Tina Turner in 1960. The song is Tina Turner's first professional release as a recording artist though she had been recording since 1958 with Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm.

It was also the first national hit record for Ike Turner, who had recorded the number-one R&B hit "Rocket 88" a decade earlier, but didn't receive proper credit and had spent much of his career as a successful regional act.[1]

"A Fool In Love" is one of the first R&B recordings to successfully cross over to the pop charts and became a million-seller. It was deemed "the blackest record to ever crept into the white pop charts since Ray Charles," according to Kurt Loder.[2]


By 1956, Ike and his Kings of Rhythm had a reputation as one of the liveliest bands in the St. Louis and East St. Louis club scenes. Ann Bullock from Brownsville, Tennessee caught the band's act at the predominantly black East St. Louis club, Club Manhattan, with her sister Alline. After witnessing Turner perform, Bullock tried several times to get his attention to get on stage with him and the band. In 1957, 17-year-old Bullock finally got her chance the band's drummer, boyfriend of her sister, Eugene Washington, gave her the microphone during an intermission. She sang the B.B. King ballad, "You Know I Love You", while Turner, who played piano on the original version with King, was playing the organ. Stunned by her voice, Turner asked her if she knew other material. By the end of the night, she was given a spot as a vocalist in his band.[2]

Bullock was renamed "Little Ann" by Turner due to her skinny frame, which was in contrast to her vocal delivery. Bullock tried in vain to become the lead vocalist of the band, but Turner already had a bevy of other mostly male singers on his roster.[3] She eventually made her debut on the single, "Boxtop," released on Tune Town Records in 1958. The song also features another vocalist in the band, Carlson Oliver, and Turner sang the bass-baritone vocals.[2]

Recording and release[edit]

In March 1960, Turner took his band to Technisonic Studios to record a song he had written titled "A Fool in Love" for Art Lassiter.[1] Lassiter's background vocalists Robbie Montgomery, Frances Hodges, and Sandra Harding were known as The Artettes.[4] They were present for the recording session, but Lassiter failed to show up to record the song.[5] Ike Turner recalled that he had lent Lassiter $80 for new tires on his car; Lassiter never returned.[5] It was later determined Lassiter had quit the Kings of Rhythm after several arguments with Turner over financial disputes.[5][6] Bullock, who knew the song from rehearsals, suggested to sing the song.[1][7] Turner already paid for the studio time so he decided to record a guide track to act as a demo. Bullock and the Artettes recorded the vocals for the track, with Turner on piano. Turner had the intention of erasing Bullock's vocals in the event that Lassiter would return to record.[1][5][6]

After Turner played the record during a gig at Club Imperial in St. Louis, a local disc jockey asked him to send it to Juggy Murray, president of R&B label Sue Records, in New York.[1] Murray was impressed by Bullock's vocals, and suggested that Turner to keep her vocals on the record, offering a $20,000 advance for the song, convinced of its hit potential.[8] Paranoid that Bullock would leave him like his previous lead vocalist, he changed her stage name from "Little Ann" to "Tina Turner," giving her the name of Tina because it rhymed with Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. He also trademarked the name as a form of protection so that if she left him, he could replace her with another singer.[1]

Sue Records released the song in July 1960, and it soon became the top selling record in St. Louis.[9] On August 15, 1960, the single peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot R&B Sides.[10] By fall it had crossed over to the pop charts, peaking at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 17, 1960. The record became the pair's first million-seller and the duo started their grueling tour of one-nighters to promote the song including performances at the Apollo Theater, and on American Bandstand, where Tina, who was over eight months pregnant, made her first TV performance on October 3, 1960.[2]

Ike often would re-record the song or produced similar sequels of the song hoping to follow it up but with little success. Examples of this include: "Crazy In Love" (1962) sang by Robbie Montgomery and the Ikettes, "Wake Up" (1963), and "Am I A Fool in Love" (1964).

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Billboard2/4 stars[11]
Cash BoxB+[12]

Billboard (August 1, 1960): "A bluesy rocker. The chanters use a touch of gospel style in the screaming passages."[11]

Cash Box (August 6, 1960): "Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm are stirring instrumental support for Tina’s belting blues delivery. An enticing rhythmic with a bright future."[12]

Performances and covers[edit]

"A Fool In Love" was redone in 1966 for the River Deep - Mountain High album. Though an early favorite of Ike and Tina's live shows throughout the 1960s, the song was performed less frequently later in the decade after the duo decided to perform renditions of rock anthems. Tina herself would perform the song in a medley set during her early solo tours until Roger Davies began managing her in the early 1980s. She re-recorded "A Fool in Love" for the movie, What's Love Got to Do with It, and later performed the song throughout the Twenty Four Seven Tour in 2000. Tina appeared in an episode of Ally McBeal in 2000 where she also sang the song at the club.

The song has been an oft-covered song on American Idol with singers Tamyra Gray and Fantasia Barrino covering it. Its most recent cover was performed by Olly Murs on The X Factor in 2009 and by Fleur East on The X Factor in 2014.


  • Lead vocal by Tina Turner
  • Instrumentation by The Kings of Rhythm
  • Piano by Ike Turner
  • Background vocals by The Artettes: Robbie Montgomery, Sandra Harding and Frances Hodges
  • Produced and written by Ike Turner

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1960) Peak
Billboard Hot 100[13] 27
Billboard Hot R&B Sides[10] 2
Billboard Honor Roll of Hits[14] 27


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ike Turner, Nigel Cawthorne (1999). Takin' Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner. Virgin Books Limited. ISBN 978-1-85227-850-2.
  2. ^ a b c d Turner, Tina; Loder, Kurt (1986). I, Tina : My Life Story. William Morrow and Company. ISBN 9780670808731.
  3. ^ Gaar, Gillian A. (October 1992). She's a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll. Seal Press. ISBN 1-878067-08-7.
  4. ^ Guralnick, Peter (2000). Rock and Roll is Here to Stay: An Anthology. McKeen, William (1st ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. p. 251. ISBN 0393047008. OCLC 41320202.
  5. ^ a b c d Bego, Mark (2005). Tina Turner: Break Every Rule. Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 62. ISBN 1461626021.
  6. ^ a b Gulla, Bob (2008). Icons of R&B and soul : An Encyclopedia of the artists who revolutionized rhythm (1. publ. ed.). Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 176. ISBN 0313340455.
  7. ^ Cooperman, Jeannette (February 26, 2010). "A Conversation With Robbie Montgomery". St. Louis Magazine.
  8. ^ Collis, John (2003). Ike Turner- King of Rhythm. London: The Do Not Press. pp. 70–76. ISBN 978-1-904316-24-4.
  9. ^ "Top Selling Records Reported By Retail Outlets" (PDF). Cash Box: 6. August 15, 1960.
  10. ^ a b "Billboard Hot R&B Sides" (PDF). Billboard: 42. August 15, 1960.
  11. ^ a b "Reviews of New Pop Records - R&B". Billboard: 36. August 1, 1960.
  12. ^ a b "Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. August 6, 1960.
  13. ^ "Billboard Hot 100" (PDF). Billboard: 36. October 17, 1960.
  14. ^ "Honor Roll of Hits" (PDF). Billboard: 33. October 17, 1960.

External links[edit]