Titus Turner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Titus Turner
Birth nameTitus Lee Turner
Born(1933-05-01)May 1, 1933
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
DiedSeptember 13, 1984(1984-09-13) (aged 51)
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
GenresR&B, East Coast blues, jump blues, soul blues[1]
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active1950–1969
LabelsVarious, including Okeh, Jamie, King

Titus Lee Turner (May 1, 1933 – September 13, 1984)[2] was an American R&B and East Coast blues singer and songwriter.[1] His best-remembered recordings are "We Told You Not to Marry" and "Sound-Off". He also wrote "Leave My Kitten Alone", "Sticks and Stones" and "Tell Me Why".[3]


Turner was born in Atlanta, Georgia.[3] His debut single, "Where Are You", was released in 1950 by Aladdin Records, credited to Mr. T and his Band. Another single, "Stop Trying to Make a Fool of Me", was released by Regal Records in 1951.[4] A year later he recorded eight tracks for Okeh Records, including "Got So Much Trouble". He then recorded for Wing, an imprint of Mercury Records, but he was not commercially successful until 1955, when Little Willie John recorded Turner's "All Around the World". Another version, retitled "Grits Ain't Groceries", was by Little Milton.[1]

Turner and John then co-wrote "Leave My Kitten Alone", cover versions of which were recorded by Johnny Preston, the Beatles, and Elvis Costello. In 1959, King Records issued Turner's first hit single, "The Return of Stagolee", an answer song to Lloyd Price's "Stagger Lee". He repeated the trick with his next release, "We Told You Not to Marry", an answer to Price's "I'm Gonna Get Married". In 1960, Ray Charles recorded Turner's song "Sticks and Stones", many cover versions of which have been issued over the years. By 1961 Turner had his biggest solo success with "Sound-Off", which came from the only album he ever released.[1] The track was described by Joel Whitburn in Top Pop Singles 1955–2002 as a "popular US Army marching drill chant", which had been a number 3 hit for Vaughn Monroe in 1951.[5]

Later singles failed to find a market, and Turner recorded for many labels throughout the 1960s without further tangible success.[1] These included "Eye to Eye" (Okeh, 1966).[6] His final release was a song he wrote, "His Funeral, My Trial", in 1969.[1]

Turner died in Atlanta in 1984.[1]

Notable songwriting credits[edit]



Compilation albums[edit]

  • Soulville: Golden Classics (1990), Collectables Records
  • Sound Off: The Jamie Masters (1994), Bear Family
  • Titans of R&B (1998), Red Lightnin' (UK)
  • 1949–1954 (2005), Classics R&B[8]

Chart singles[edit]

  • "Return of Stagolee" (King 5186) (April 1959), US R&B number 29
  • "We Told You Not to Marry" (Glover 201) (December 1959), US Pop number 83
  • "Sound-Off" (Jamie 1174) (March 1961), US Pop number 77[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ankeny, Jason. "Titus Turner: Biography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  2. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. p. 275. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  3. ^ a b Doc Rock. "The 1980s". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  4. ^ "WangDangDula.com". Koti.mbnet.fi. 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  5. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002. Billboard. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  6. ^ "Okeh Singles Listing from 1963–1970". ska2soul.net. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  7. ^ "Titus Turner: Songs". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  8. ^ a b "Titus Turner: Discography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2014-01-31.

External links[edit]