Turner claims to have witnessed his father beaten and left for dead by a white mob. Another version of the story is that he was mortally injured in an industrial accident.
Inspired to take up the piano, his first instrument, upon hearing legendary boogie woogie pianist Pinetop Perkins
Worked at radio WROX in Clarksdale, one of the first station with a black DJ, and playing blues records. He gradually worked into his own afternoon show as DJ
The song "Rocket 88" (1951) by Turner's band, the Kings of Rhythm, is a contender as first rock and roll song. The song was written in the car on the way to a recording session at Sun Studio in nearby Memphis, TN. (Pre-Elvis.)
In addition to live performances, Turner worked as a session musician, record producer and talent scout.
Married at least five times. He claimed it was 13, but this has not been not documented.