Ruby Turner

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Ruby Turner
Brown singing into a microphone onstage
Turner performing live at GuilFest in 2012
Background information
Born (1958-06-22) 22 June 1958 (age 63)
Montego Bay, Jamaica
OriginBirmingham, England, United Kingdom
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Years active1983–present
Associated acts
WebsiteOfficial website

Francella Ruby Turner MBE (born 22 June 1958) is a British Jamaican R&B and soul singer, songwriter, and actress.

In a music career spanning more than 30 years, Turner is best known for her album and single releases in Europe and North America. She is also known for her work as a session backing vocalist, with artists including Bryan Ferry, UB40, Steel Pulse, Steve Winwood, Jools Holland, and Mick Jagger. She has also written songs that have been covered by musicians including Lulu, Yazz and Maxi Priest.[1]

Turner achieved the rare feat, for a British singer, of reaching #1 on the US R&B chart, with "It's Gonna Be Alright" in February 1990. Between 1986–1995, eight of her singles appeared in the UK Singles Chart with "I'd Rather Go Blind" being the most successful, reaching #24 in 1987.[2] Turner performed at the Birmingham Heart Beat 86 concert,[3] which featured George Harrison, and also has sung on BBC Television's Jools' Annual Hootenanny, from 2007–2021 inclusive. She has also appeared as an actress on stage, film and television.


Early years[edit]

Ruby Turner was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica,[1][4] and moved at the age of nine with her family to Handsworth, Birmingham, England, in 1967.[1]

Turner came from a musical family as her grandfather sang the lead in one of Jamaica's gospel groups. In the early 1980s, she worked with Culture Club at the height of their popularity. She received an offer of a solo recording contract soon afterwards and signed to Jive Records, part of the Zomba Group.[5]

Music career[edit]

Turner achieved her solo recording contract with Jive Records after singing backing vocals on Culture Club's From Luxury to Heartache.[1] She released four albums and a "Best of" Compilation Album over the next few years. Her first solo 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][2]

In March 1987, Turner sang on the Ferry Aid single, "Let It Be".[6] Around this time she also released the album The Motown Songbook, on which she performed with Motown and others, including the Four Tops, the Temptations and Jimmy Ruffin. In 1988, Turner appeared on Corey Hart's album, Young Man Running 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",[7][8] becoming one of the few British artists to top that chart.[9] Four other US R&B chart entries followed in 1990 and 1991, including "Paradise" from the movie Dancin' Thru the Dark.[7][8]

In 1998, she recorded the album Call Me by My Name with British rhythm and blues veterans Boz Burrell, Zoot Money, Bobby Tench and Stan Webb. On New Year's Eve 1999, she sang the National Anthem for Queen Elizabeth II, who was accompanied by Prime minister Tony Blair and other dignitaries at the opening of the Millennium Dome, in London.[9]

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.[10] In 2007, Turner presented a documentary Shout Sister Shout about Sister Rosetta Tharpe for BBC Radio 2.[11] 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.[11] Her rendition of "Jesus on the Mainline" appears on a compilation CD that accompanied the book British Black Gospel by Steve Alexander Smith.[12]

On 28 October 2009 Turner was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge Award in recognition of her unique contribution to music.[13]

On 4 June 2012, Turner was one of the performers at the Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace in London, where she joined Jools Holland on stage.[14]

Turner was awarded an MBE in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to music.[15]


As an actress, Turner has appeared in productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Carmen Jones, and Fame.[1] She has also appeared in One Love, by Kwame Davies, at the London's Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. She appeared in 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.[11]

Turner has appeared in a number of films, including Love Actually (2003), Reggae Britannia (2011) and Famous Fred (1996). In 2006 Turner made an appearance in Little Britain Abroad, where she played the Sheriff Judy.[16] 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". In 2009, Turner appeared in the BBC drama Hotel Babylon.[17]

In 2011, Turner narrated the BBC Four documentary Reggae Britannia, which chronicled the history of British reggae music. In 2012, Turner, along with Ralph Allwood and Manvinder Rattan, was a judge on the BBC Two series The Choir: Sing While You Work.[18] In 2013, Turner was a guest judge on the BBC Songs of Praise gospel choir competition.[19] In 2015, it was announced that she would appear as Mrs. Blip in the made-for-TV movie The Land of Sometimes.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Turner has been engaged twice, but not married and has said "Many women I know, must have a man in their life. ... They seem programmed to find a man and must get married. Marriage is a priority for them. Not for me. I am not built that way. I have never felt I had to have a man in my life, or have to end up married."[20]

Her parents are separated and her father lives in the US. Her mother Violetta lives near Turner and sang on her 2009 album I'm Travelling On.



Year Title UK Albums Chart
US Billboard 200
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 (with Jools Holland) - -
2009 I'm Travelling On - -
2014 All That I Am - -
2015 Jools & Ruby (with Jools Holland) 39 -
2017 Livin' A Life Of Love - The Jive Anthology 1986-1991 - -
2018 That's My Desire - -
2020 Love Was Here - -
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
1980 "Separate Ways" (Ruby Turner Band) - - - single only
1983 "Every Soul" - - - single only
1986 "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)" (feat. Jonathan Butler) 30 3 58 Women Hold Up Half The Sky
"I'm In Love" 61 9 -
"Bye Baby" 52 10 -
1987 "I'd Rather Go Blind" 24 21 -
"I'm In Love" (UK re-issue) 57 - -
"In My Life (It's Better to Be in Love)" (UK only) 95 - -
1988 "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" 77 8 - The Motown Song Book
"What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" (feat. Jimmy Ruffin) 87 41 -
"Nowhere to Run (Nowhere to Hide)" (US only) - - -
"Soul Set (Baby I Need Your Loving)" - - -
1990 "It's Gonna Be Alright" 57 39 1 Paradise
"Paradise" (feat. Ecstasy of Whodini) - 36 22
"It's a Crying Shame" - - 29
1991 "The Other Side" (US only) - - 34 The Other Side
"The Vibe Is Right" (UK/Europe only) - - -
"Rumours" - - 80
1992 "Good Love" (Que featuring Ruby Turner) - - - Single Only
1993 "Lysander's Theme (Lovers After All)" (Ruby Turner & Junior Giscombe) - - - Single Only
1994 "Stay with Me" 39 - - Restless Moods
"Living for the City" 92 28 - Responsible
1995 "Never Ever Gonna Give You Up" - - - Restless Moods
"The Club Diamonds EP" (Lead track "Change") 84 - -
Walk On By (The Cartell featuring Ruby Turner) - - - Single Only
1998 "Reassure Me" - - - Call Me By My Name
"We Got It Going On" (Mover featuring Ruby Turner) 93 - - Mover (Mover)
2000 "Chinese Whispers" (Full Flava featuring Ruby Turner) - - - Chinese Whispers (Full Flava)
"Pokeball" (Corfu featuring Ruby Turner and Michael Dread with The Children of Wraxall C.E.V.A School) - - - 'Single Only
2009 "This Train (Ash Howes Radio Mix 2009)" - - - I'm Travelling On
2011 "Leaves In The Wind" - - - Paradise
2014 "Move On" - - - All That I Am
2015 "Putting You First" - - -
"Peace In The Valley" (Jools Holland and Ruby Turner) - - - Jools & Ruby (Jools & Ruby and The Rhythm and Blues Orchestra)
2017 "Deeper In Love" (Tilt featuring Ruby Turner) - - - Single Only
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Eder, Bruce. "Ruby Turner | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 569. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ "Film & TV Database | HEART BEAT 86 (1986)". BFI. 16 April 2009. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Ruby Turner Discography". discogs. 22 June 1958. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  5. ^ "» Biography". Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Ferry Aid". Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  7. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 454.
  8. ^ a b c "Ruby Turner | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  9. ^ a b Lewis, Pete (April 2008). "Ruby Turner: Ruby, Ruby, Ruby". Blues & Soul.
  10. ^ Richie Unterberger (8 January 2002). "Jools Holland's Big Band Rhythm & Blues – Jools Holland | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  11. ^ a b c "Ruby Turner biography". Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  12. ^ "British Black Gospel: The Foundations of This Vibrant UK Sound: Noel Robinson, Steve Alexander Smith: Books". Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  13. ^ Topping, Alexandra (28 October 2009). "Gold Badge awards shine light on music's unsung heroes". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  14. ^ "The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert",, retrieved 9 September 2015
  15. ^ "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B24.
  16. ^ Waistell, Joe (25 December 2006). "Little Britain: Little Britain Abroad (1) Episode Summary". Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  17. ^ "Ruby Turner, Film and TV credits". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  18. ^ Butcher, David (September 2012). "The Choir: Sing While You Work: Series 1 Episode 5". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Ruby Turner : Biography". 4 June 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Ruby Turner: Fame's Not the Turner Prize",, retrieved 9 September 2015
  21. ^ "RUBY TURNER | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  22. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Ruby Turner – New Zealand Chart". Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  23. ^ "Ruby Turner – US R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Retrieved 25 December 2015.

External links[edit]