Joe Lynn Turner, like millions of other teenagers in the 1960s, garnered admiring eyes through playing music. Growing up in an Italian-American home, where Frank Sinatra, Enrico Caruso, and other Italian musical heroes were second only to the Church in reverence, Turner realized that music was the path to popularity. In high school, he formed the band, Ezra, performing original material and cover songs. He played the accordion as a child, grew up with an appreciation for classic R&B and became an accomplished guitarist in his early teens. He was once influenced primarily by such artists as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Free.
In March 1977, Fandango, a band described as an eclectic mix of R&B, pop, country, jazz and melodic rock, signed their first recording contract with RCA Records. Turner sang and played guitar on 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, He received a phone call from British guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. This resulted in an audition and Turner was immediately enlisted in Rainbow. The band, while popular in Europe and Japan, had not reached the same level of success in the US before Turner joined. With his contributions (largely considered more pop-oriented), the group was catapulted to a new level of American success. Several tracks from albums with Turner reached the Top 20 on rock radio charts in the early to mid-80's.
"Stone Cold" became Rainbow's first Top 40 hit and the band's videos were played on heavy rotation on MTV. Turner recorded three studio albums with Rainbow: Difficult to Cure, Straight Between the Eyes, and Bent Out of Shape, which featured the single, "Street of Dreams". Rainbow disbanded in 1984.
In 1985, after the break-up of Rainbow, Turner released a solo album, Rescue You, produced by Roy Thomas Baker, known for his work with Queen and The Cars. He co-wrote most of the songs with keyboardist Al Greenwood (Foreigner). The first single, "Endlessly," received extensive airplay on radio and MTV. Tours with Night Ranger and Pat Benatar and an acting role in the TV movie Blue Deville followed.
In 1987 Turner also supplied backing vocals to the Michael Bolton album The Hunger. He appeared on the tracks "Hot Love" and "Gina".
That same year (1987), he joined Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force and recorded the album Odyssey. The brief tour that followed the release of the album included a concert in Leningrad which was recorded and then released as Trial by Fire (1989). In 1989, he left the band and then joined Deep Purple. Turner recorded one album, Slaves & Masters (1990). The album peaked at No. 87 on the Billboard Charts, and a relatively successful tour followed in 1991, but Turner left the band in late 1992. He has also put out three albums for the progressive rock band Mother's Army, featuring Jeff Watson, Bob Daisley, and Carmine Appice.
After his stints with Rising Force and Deep Purple, Turner spent the mid-90s through 2008, working on his solo career. It was during that time, Turner released an additional nine studio albums and two live albums, to go along with his 1985 offering, Rescue You.
He also worked with Brazen Abbot, led by Bulgarian guitarist Nikolo Kotzev. Contributing songs he wrote or co-wrote with producer, Bob Held, Turner sang those songs on four studio albums including, Eye of the Storm (1996); Bad Religion (1997); Guilty As Sin (2003); and My Resurrection (2005).
In 2000, Turner first approached former Trapeze and Deep Purple bassist, Glenn Hughes to perform some live dates in Japan in support of Turner's sixth solo album, Holy Man. In 2001, the pair formed Hughes Turner Project. The collaboration resulted in two studio albums (HTPand HTP2) and a live album (Live In Tokyo) between 2001 to 2003. In 2005, Hughes and Turner collaborated once more on the Russian studio project Michael Men Project's album Made in Moscow.
On August 4, 2006, Turner gave a special performance of Rainbow songs with the New Japan Philharmonic at the Metropolitan Art Space in Tokyo, Japan. Later that same year in September 2006, Turner released the first album for Frontiers Records AOR project Sunstorm, with bassist Dennis Ward of German rock band Pink Cream 69 under the title, Sunstorm featuring Joe Lynn Turner. Subsequent albums were released under the name, Sunstorm.
In 2007, Turner also appeared as a headliner with AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson on the Classic Rock Cares charity tour, which was organized by longtime friend Steve Luongo, who was the drummer/producer of The John Entwistle Band.
In 2008, Turner formed Over the Rainbow, a tribute band composed of former Rainbow musicians, including drummer, Bobby Rondinelli, bassist, Greg Smith, keyboardist, Paul Morris and Ritchie Blackmore's eldest son, Jürgen on guitar.
He was also a member of the touring band Big Noize from 2008-2012. The band featured Turner alongside guitarist Carlos Cavazo, bassist Phil Soussan, and drummer Vinny Appice. In the fall of 2008, the band traveled to Iraq and Kuwait to entertain Multi National Forces. Drummer, Simon Wright, replaced Appice temporarily due to other touring commitments.
In the summer of 2012, he and the Legends Voice of Rock did a gig at the Golden Times Festival in Degerfors, Sweden.
In 2013 he sang a few songs in a guest role on the Avantasia-album The Mystery of Time, released in March.
In recent years, Turner has received recognition and distinguished awards from around the world. In 2015, he was named Cultural Ambassador to Bulgaria. That same year, he accepted the Legends of Rock Award in Italy, and the Peacemaker Award in Crimea for the promotion of peace and outstanding contribution to World Art. And in 2016, he received The Man of The Golden Voice Award in Peru.
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