Ruby Turner was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1958 (some sources say 1962), and moved with her family to Handsworth, Birmingham, England, when she was nine years old. She was an aspiring singer from an early age, and in the early '80s got to work with British blues legend Alexis Korner. As early as 1983, she had appeared on records with UB40, but her biggest early career boost came in 1986 when she appeared on the Culture Club record From Luxury to Heartache, which was virtually the last gasp of the group in its original incarnation. Turner got a recording contract of her own soon after. Her debut album, Women Hold Up Half the Sky (1986), was a critical and commercial success, and she went on to release another 13 albums over the course of the next three decades, including 1989's Paradise, which peaked at number 39 on the Billboard R&B chart. She also charted eight singles throughout the '80s and '90s, the most successful of which was "I'd Rather Go Blind," which made it to number 27 in England in 1987. Turner performed with Bryan Ferry, Steve Winwood, Mick Jagger, and Jools Holland, with whom she had a long and fruitful musical association, appearing on many of his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra albums ever since the group's beginnings in the early '90s. Her reputation as a composer in her own right is well-established, with covers of her songs by Lulu, Yazz, and Maxi Priest. She also successfully covered others' songs, most notably "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)," a Staple Singers hit that she recorded with Jonathan Butler. Turner also topped the U.S. R&B charts with "It's Gonna Be Alright." She branched into acting as well, working in stage productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Carmen Jones, and Fame, and on the BBC soap opera Doctors. In 2015, she released a joint effort with Holland entitled Jools & Ruby, which featured a selection of their favorite numbers from the band's live repertoire, alongside several co-written compositions.
Share this page