The Hunter (Albert King song)

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"The Hunter"
The Hunter single cover.jpg
1969 French single picture sleeve
Song by Albert King
from the album Born Under a Bad Sign
  • August 1967 (1967-08) (album)
  • 1969 (single)
RecordedJune 9, 1967
StudioStax, Memphis, Tennessee

"The Hunter" is a blues song first recorded by Albert King in 1967 for his landmark album Born Under a Bad Sign. It was written by Stax Records' house band, Booker T. and the MGs, and Carl Wells. Along with "Born Under a Bad Sign" and "Crosscut Saw", "The Hunter" is one of King's best-known and most recorded songs. In 1969, Ike and Tina Turner had hit with the tune in the R&B and Hot 100 singles charts.

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"The Hunter" is a mid-tempo twenty-four bar blues in the key of A.[1] Although the music reflects more modern trends in blues, the lyrics contain some of the swagger of the verses Willie Dixon wrote for Muddy Waters in the 1950s:

They call me the hunter, that's my name
A pretty woman like you, is my only game
I bought me a love gun, just the other day
And I aim to aim it your way
Ain't no use to hide, ain't no use to run
'Cause I've got you in the sights of my love gun

Recording and releases[edit]

The song was recorded on June 9, 1967, at the Stax Records studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Albert King sings and plays lead guitar. The backing is provided by Booker T. Jones on organ, Steve Cropper on rhythm guitar, Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass, Al Jackson, Jr. on drums; plus members of the Memphis Horns, Wayne Jackson on trumpet, Andrew Love on tenor saxophone, and Joe Arnold on baritone sax.

"The Hunter" was first released on Albert King's 1967 album, Born Under a Bad Sign, which "became one of the most popular and influential blues albums of the late '60s".[2] In 1969, the song was released as a single, but did not reach the charts.[3] The song later appeared on various Albert King compilation albums, including King of the Blues Guitar (Atlantic Records, 1989) and The Ultimate Collection (Rhino Records, 1993).

Ike & Tina Turner version[edit]

"The Hunter"
Single by Ike & Tina Turner
from the album The Hunter
B-side"Crazy 'Bout You Baby"
ReleasedJune 1969 (1969-06)
Format7-inch 45 rpm single
LabelBlue Thumb
Producer(s)Bob Krasnow
Ike & Tina Turner singles chronology
"Cussin', Cryin' & Carryin' On"
"The Hunter"
"River Deep – Mountain High"
(1969 reissue)

Ike and Tina Turner released their rendition of "The Hunter" in 1969. The version on the single is shorter than the one on the album, which is over six minutes. In contrast to the original by Albert King, the version by the Turners charted. It reached number 37 in the Billboard R&B Singles chart and number 93 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart (Blue Thumb 102).[4]

The song was the lead single from their 1969 album, The Hunter, which reached number 176 in the Billboard Top LPs and number 49 on the Billboard R&B albums chart.[5] It is one of their most blues-oriented albums, recorded with blues guitarist Albert Collins.[6] The album earned Tina Turner a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female at the 12th Annual Grammy Awards.[7]


Writing for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine describes "The Hunter" as one of the songs that "form the very foundation of Albert King's musical identity and legacy."[2] Early versions of "The Hunter" include those by Blue Cheer (Outsideinside 1968), Pacific Gas & Electric (Get It On 1968), Free (Tons of Sobs 1968 and Free Live 1971), and Blues Magoos (Never Goin' Back to Georgia 1969).[8]

Canned Heat recorded a demo version in 1967, but re-recorded it as "Amphetamine Annie" (an early anti-drug song) using the same music (Boogie with Canned Heat 1968).[9] Led Zeppelin used some of the lyrics from "The Hunter" during the "How Many More Times" medley on their 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin.[8] In his autobiography, Paul Stanley explained that the idea for the 1977 Kiss song "Love Gun" came from King's song.[10]


  1. ^ "The Hunter". Free Hand Music. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (1996). "Albert King". In Erlewine, Michael (ed.). All Music Guide to the Blues. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books. pp. 147–148. ISBN 0-87930-424-3.
  3. ^ Atlantic Records 2604, with the B-side "As the Years Go Passing By"
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 418. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
  5. ^ Blue Thumb Records BTS-11
  6. ^ Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). "Ike Turner". Encyclopedia of the Blues. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press. p. 349. ISBN 1-55728-252-8.
  7. ^ "Tina Turner". Recording Academy Grammy Awards. 2019-06-04.
  8. ^ a b Akkerman, Gregg (2014). Experiencing Led Zeppelin: A Listener's Companion. Lanham, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-8108-8915-6.
  9. ^ Russo, Gregg (1994). Uncanned! The Best of Canned Heat (Compilation booklet). Canned Heat. New York City: EMI Records. pp. 10, 22–23. E2 29165.
  10. ^ Stanley, Paul (2014). Face the Music: A Life Exposed. Harper Collins. p. 117. ISBN 978-0062114068.