- World Of Music - Svastara - 2008
Classic rock / rock / pop musician
Joe Lynn Turner
New Jersey, USA
In a career that spans nearly 30 years and includes over
60 album credits, Joe Lynn Turner ("JLT") remains one of rock and
roll's most distinctive, soulful and expressive vocalists. Born August 2, 1951
in Hackensack, New
Jersey (USA), he played the accordion as a child, grew up with an appreciation
for classic rhythm and blues (r&b) and became an accomplished guitarist
in his early teens. In fact, his first band, Filet of Soul, featured singer
J. T. Taylor who would later have success with Kool and the Gang. While in
high school, Joe formed Ezra, performing original material and cover songs
by artists who were a great influence on him: Jimi
Hendrix, Free and Deep
In 1976, JLT enjoyed his first taste of national success with Fandango, a
band described as an eclectic mix of r&b, pop, country, jazz and melodic
rock. Turner sang and played guitar on all of the band's four albums. Fandango
toured with numerous artists including The Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker
Band, The Beach Boys and Billy Joel.
After Fandango split, in the first of two incredible twists of Fate, JLT received
a phone call from legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Turner's work with
Fandango prompted an audition and Blackmore was so impressed that he immediately
enlisted Joe in Rainbow, a band that he formed after he left Deep Purple. Ironically,
Joe spent his formative years covering Deep Purple songs and now he found himself
fronting a band with two former members: Blackmore and Roger Glover. Rainbow,
while popular in Europe and Japan, had not garnered the same level of notoriety
in the USA. It was Turner's contributions that helped catapult the group
to a new level of success. Several JLT-infused album tracks reached the Top
20 on rock radio charts. "Stone Cold" was Rainbow's first Top 40
pop radio hit and the band's innovative videos were in heavy airplay rotation
on MTV (Music Television). Turner co-wrote and / or sang on Rainbow singles
that helped define the melodic rock genre: "I Surrender," "Can't
Happen Here," "Jealous Lover," "Death Alley Driver," "Street
of Dreams" and "Can't Let You Go."
In 1984, Blackmore reunited with Deep Purple. This gave Turner freedom to
work on his first solo album, "Rescue You," produced by Roy Thomas
Baker, known for his work with Queen and The Cars. JLT co-wrote most of the
songs with keyboardist Al Greenwood (Foreigner). The first single, "Endlessly," received
extensive airplay on radio and MTV. A tour with Pat Benatar and acting role
in the movie, "Blue Deville" followed.
Turner also proved his versatility by working with a diverse array of artists,
including Billy Joel, Cher, Michael Bolton, Mick Jones (Foreigner), John Waite
(The Babys). Bolton also encouraged him to enter the lucrative business of
singing and doing character voices for radio and television. This would afford
Joe a steady income that was not reliant on the commercial success of any band
or project he decided to get involved with. In 1987, JLT became a member of
Yngwie Malsteen's Rising Force. Their union resulted in "Odyssey," the
most commercially successful album for Malmsteen up to this point in history.
A follow-up world tour was highlighted by ten "sold out" shows in
Russia that were recorded for the "Trial By Fire: Live in Leningrad" album
In the winter of 1989, Ritchie Blackmore and Deep Purple needed to find a
lead singer to replace Ian Gillan.
Several high profile vocalists were considered. In a second ironic twist of
fate, Turner was invited to audition and found
himself fronting one of the major bands he was influenced by as a teenager!
They released the album, "Slaves and Masters", and launched an extensive
world tour in the midst of The Gulf War. While many bands cancelled their tours,
afraid to travel during turbulent times, Purple and JLT forged on. Turner wrote
and sang on several tracks for a follow-up album that were never officially
released. To this day, Blackmore maintains that "Slaves and Masters" is
his favorite Deep Purple record since his reunion with the group in 1984.
Joe took on many projects after leaving Purple. He joined Carmine Appice (Ozzy
Osbourne), Bob Daisley (Ozzy Osbourne) and Jeff Watson (Night Ranger) in the
progressive rock band Mother's Army. He toured the USA with his own "JLT
All Star Band." He eventually returned to the studio for his second solo
effort, "Nothing's Changed." In 1997, JLT recorded the first of two
of his own tribute CDs, paying homage to his rock and roll roots with his versions
of songs by Bad Company, Marvin Gaye and many others. With the release of his
third solo venture, "Hurry Up And Wait," the worldwide demand for
his material increased dramatically. His next three solo albums - "Holy Man", "Slam!" and "JLT" -
subsequently enjoyed critical and commercial success.
Turner continues to record and collaborate on a massive number of other artist's
CDs and tribute albums. He is one of the key members of Brazen Abbot, a project
spearheaded by Bulgarian guitarist / composer Nikolo Kotzev. JLT co-wrote and
sang tracks on several albums and is spotlighted on the DVD "A Decade
of Brazen Abbot". His schedule is constantly booked with studio
session work. It's difficult to listen to the radio or watch TV in the USA
hearing his voice coming out of the speakers on a commercial. In fact, one
of his beer adverts in Japan, "Challenge Them All", became
a popular rock radio anthem.
Turner has recorded and performed with the Voices of Classic Rock (VCR), Rock
and Pop Masters (RPM) and New York's Hit Squad. These groups feature some of
rock and pop's elite: Hugh McDonald (Bon Jovi), Mike Reno (Loverboy), Jimi
Jamison (Survivor), Larry Hoppen (Orleans), Spencer Davis, Bobby Kimball (TOTO),
Byrd (Joan Jett), Liberty DiVitto (Billy Joel) and many others. They have played
festivals and concerts in South America, Japan, France, Asia, Hawaii, Central
America, Mexico and in many major USA cities.
Most notable is JLT's recent collaboration with former Deep Purple bassist
/ vocalist, Glenn Hughes. Turner asked Glenn to tour Japan in support of his "Holy
Man" disc. They enjoyed working together so much that they were inspired
to form the Hughes Turner Project (HTP). HTP released two studio CDs and one
live disc. Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), John Sykes (Whitesnake / Thin
Lizzy), Steve Vai (Frank Zappa / Whitesnake) and other artists made guest appearances
during the recording sessions. The single, "Time And Time Again" ("HTP2")
spent over 3 months in the Top 30 on the World Modern Rock Chart. HTP generated
a lot of fan and media interest, worldwide, appearing on national television
and radio in many countries, including the USA and Russia. And, after 2
successful tours of Japan and Europe, HTP remains a memorable and significant
part of JLT's career history.
Turner's most recent CD release is a collaborative project called, "Sunstorm".
Serafino Perugino (Frontiers Records President) and Mario de Riso (Frontiers
used to exchange tapes as fans. One day, Mario gave Serafino a cassette he
had from a journalist, with the "unreleased Joe Lynn Turner" second
solo album demos. This tape featured some songs originally slated for release
on the follow-up to "Rescue You" in the mid-1980s.
Taking inspiration from the material available, Perugino reconnected Joe Lynn
with Jim Peterik, the legendary songwriter (ex Survivor) with whom he
collaborated with several years ago in Deep Purple. Turner went through some
of the material
sent by Peterik, along with a few other tracks submitted by Perugino and agreed
to give birth to a project that could rediscover and highlight his melodic
rock roots. "Sunstorm" was released worldwide in the Fall of 2006
and it has received rave reviews from critics as well as fans.
Joe has also been co-writing songs, lending his pipes to various projects
and increasing his stateside visibility with more live shows than he has ever
played since 1996. The year 2006 was highlighted by a return to working with
Blackmore on a redux of the Rainbow classic "Street of Dreams." It's
a duet with Candace Night (Blackmore's Night). Turner also sang on all tracks
on "Fire Without Flame," a disc he collaborated on with Blackmore-inspired
Japanese guitarist Akira Kajiyama.
If all of this is not enough, JLT enjoyed what he calls "life changing" experiences
last years when he performed with the New Japan Philharmonic and on tour with
Turkish guitar virtuoso Cem Koksal. He also traveled to Nashville to record
a DVD with Big Noize, a band that includes: JLT, guitarist Carlos Cavazo (Quiet
Riot), drummer Vinny Appice (Dio / Black Sabbath), bassist Phil Soussan (Ozzy
Osbourne / Billy Idol) and keyboardist Gary Corbett (Cinderella / Lou Gramm).
Current plans focus on marketing the DVD to the corporate concert industry
but a commercial
release has not been ruled out.
In the beginning of 2007, he released his 10th solo album, "Second
Hand Life", in Japan and Europe. Among the highlights on the record is
a song he wrote with Blackmore and Glover in the early 90s, during his Deep
days, called "Stroke of Midnight". Other tracks include collaborations
with Jim Peterik (Ex-Survivor), Martin Briley, Jack Ponti (who wrote several
songs for Bon Jovi) and former TV star, Deanna Johnston (Rock Star: INXS).
In May and June 2007, JLT hooked up with Rainbow alumnus Graham Bonnet for
a sold out
tour of Japan and a command performance for the Prime Minister of Russia's
cabinet. Turner's plans for the remainder of 2007 include the digital and physical
USA release of "Second Hand Life", solo tour dates in Europe
along with a July 2007 trek in the USA with Brian Johnson and Cliff Williams
of ACDC and
The John Entwistle Band as a member Classic Rock Cares (www.johnentwistle.org).
He's also doing a lot of writing with artists who work in genres not limited
to "rock and roll" with the goal of branching out, recording some
of this material for either future releases or films.