Ruby Turner

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Ruby Turner
Ruby Turner singing at Guilfest 2012
Background information
Birth name Ruby Turner
Born (1958-06-22) 22 June 1958 (age 57)
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Origin Birmingham, England
Genres R&B, pop, soul
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1985–present
Labels Jive, Indigo
Associated acts Alexis Korner, Culture Club, Bryan Ferry, UB40, Steve Winwood, Jools Holland, Mick Jagger, Lulu, Yazz, Maxi Priest, Boz Burrell, Bobby Tench, Jonathan Butler, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Jimmy Ruffin, Stan Webb, Steel Pulse, Zoot Money
Website Official website

Ruby Turner (born 22 June 1958) is a Jamaican R&B and soul singer, songwriter and actress. Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica,[1][2] she moved at the age of nine with her family to Handsworth, Birmingham, England.[1] She is best known for her albums and single releases on both sides of the Atlantic, and has sung backing vocals for others such as Bryan Ferry, UB40, Steel Pulse, Steve Winwood, Jools Holland and Mick Jagger, as well as writing songs that have been covered by many artists including Lulu, Yazz and Maxi Priest.[1] She achieved the rare feat, for a British singer, of reaching no. 1 on the US R&B chart, with "It's Gonna Be Alright" in February 1990.

Between 1986 and 1995, eight of her singles appeared in the UK Singles Chart with "I'd Rather Go Blind" being the most successful reaching no. 24 in 1987.[3] Turner performed at the Birmingham Heart Beat 86 concert,[4] which featured George Harrison; and also sang on BBC Television's Jools Holland's Hootenanny, from 2007 to 2014 inclusive. She has also appeared as an actress on stage, film and television.

Musical style[edit]



In the early 1980s Turner worked with Alexis Korner. In 1983, she recorded with UB40. She achieved a solo recording contract with Jive Records after singing backing vocals on Culture Club's From Luxury to Heartache.[1]

Her first album Women Hold Up Half The Sky, was released in 1986 to critical acclaim.[1] and produced hit singles such as a cover version of the Staple Singers song,"If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)", a duet with Jonathan Butler, and the Etta James standard "I'd Rather Go Blind".[1][3]

In March 1987, Turner sang on the Ferry Aid single, "Let It Be". Around this time she also released the album, The Motown Songbook, on which she performed with Motown others including The Four Tops, The Temptations and Jimmy Ruffin. Turner appeared on Corey Hart's album, Young Man Running (1988), on the duet "Spot You in a Coalmine".

Turner achieved a no. 1 R&B chart success in the US in February 1990 with "It's Gonna Be Alright",[6][7] becoming one of the few British artists to top that chart.[8] Four other US R&B chart entries followed in 1990 and 1991, including "Paradise" from the movie Dancin' thru the Dark.[6][7]

In 1998 she recorded the album, Call Me By My Name, with British rhythm and blues luminaries Boz Burrell, Zoot Money, Bobby Tench and Stan Webb. On New Year's Eve 1999, she sang the National Anthem for Queen Elizabeth II, Prime minister Tony Blair and other dignitaries, at the opening of the Millennium Dome in London.[8]

Turner sang backing vocals on Mick Jagger's 2001 album, Goddess in the Doorway, and performed "Nobody But You" on the 2002 album Jools Holland's Big Band Rhythm & Blues.[9]

In 2007, Turner presented a documentary Shout Sister Shout about Sister Rosetta Tharpe for BBC Radio 2.[5] She sang on Seasick Steve's album, I Started Out with Nothin and I Still Got Most of It Left (2008). In September 2009, Turner released her first gospel music album, I'm Travelling On.[5]

Her rendition of "Jesus on the Mainline" appears on a compilation CD that accompanied the book British Black Gospel by Steve Alexander Smith.[10]

In 2011, Turner narrated the BBC Four documentary Reggae Britannia, which chronicled the history of British reggae music.

On 4 June 2012, Turner was one of the performers at the Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace in London, when she joined Jools Holland on stage. In the same year, Turner, along with Ralph Allwood and Manvinder Rattan was a judge on the BBC Two series, The Choir: Sing While You Work.[11]

In 2013, Turner was a guest judge on the BBC Songs of Praise gospel choir competition.[12]


As an actress, she has appeared in productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Carmen Jones, Fame, as well as One Love at the London's Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith.[1] Turner also had a small part in the 2003 film Love Actually.

In 2006, Turner made an appearance in Little Britain Abroad. She played the Sheriff Judy.[13] On 12 October 2007, she appeared as a guest star (as herself) in the BBC One soap opera, Doctors.[1] The episode title was entitled "Raising The Roof".

Her most recent theatre appearance, was a successful run in the London West End production of the musical Simply Heavenly, which was nominated for 'Outstanding Musical' at the 2005 Laurence Olivier Awards.[5] In 2009, Turner appeared in the BBC drama, Hotel Babylon.[14]



Year Title UK Albums Chart[3] US Billboard 200[7]
1986 Women Hold Up Half the Sky 47 -
1986 Ruby Turner Live at Glastonbury - -
1988 The Motown Songbook 22 -
1989 Paradise 74 194
1991 The Other Side - -
1992 The Best of Ruby Turner (compilation) - -
1993 Responsible - -
1993 With Love (compilation) - -
1994 Restless Moods - -
1995 The Best of Ruby Turner (compilation) - -
1996 Guilty - -
1998 Call Me By My Name - -
2001 Live in Bristol - -
2005 So Amazing - -
2007 Live at Ronnie Scott's (double live album) - -
2008 The Informer (Jools Holland) - -
2009 I'm Travelling On - -
2014 All That I Am - -

Singles (selected)[edit]

Year Title UK Singles Chart[3] New Zealand Singles Chart[15] US Billboard R&B[6] Label
1986 "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)"
(Ruby Turner featuring Jonathan Butler)
30 3 58 Jive
1986 "I'm in Love" 61 9 - Jive
1986 "Bye Baby" 52 10 - Jive
1987 "I'd Rather Go Blind" 24 10 - Jive
1987 "I'm in Love" (re-issue) 57 - - Jive
1988 "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" - 8 - Jive
1989 "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted" (feat. Jimmy Ruffin - 41 - Jive
1989 "It's Gonna Be Alright" 57 39 1 Jive
1990 "Paradise"
(featuring Ecstasy of Whodini)
- 36 22 Jive
1990 "It's a Crying Shame" - - 29 Jive
1991 "The Other Side" - - 34 Jive
1991 "Rumours" - - 80 Jive
1994 "Stay with Me Baby" 39 - - M&G
1994 "Living For The City" - 28 - M&G
1995 "Shakaboom!"
(Hunter featuring Ruby Turner)
64 - - Telstar

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Bruce Eder. "Ruby Turner | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  2. ^ "Ruby Turner Discography at Discogs". 1958-06-22. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 569. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | HEART BEAT 86 (1986)". 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Ruby Turner biography". Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 454. 
  7. ^ a b c "Ruby Turner | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  8. ^ a b Ruby Turner interview by Pete Lewis, Blues & Soul, April 2008
  9. ^ Richie Unterberger (2002-01-08). "Jools Holland's Big Band Rhythm & Blues - Jools Holland | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  10. ^ "British Black Gospel: The Foundations of This Vibrant UK Sound: Noel Robinson, Steve Alexander Smith: Books". Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  11. ^ Butcher, David (September 2012). "The Choir: Sing While You Work: Series 1 Episode 5". Radio Times (Immediate Media Company). Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Ruby Turner : Biography". 2012-06-04. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  13. ^ Joe Waistell (25 December 2006). "Little Britain: Little Britain Abroad (1) Episode Summary on". Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  14. ^ "Ruby Turner, Film and TV credits". Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  15. ^ Steffen Hung. "Ruby Turner - Bye Baby". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 

External links[edit]