In 1927 he begins to hang round the Backbiter's Club and by 1933 Big Joe is a regular on stage at several Kansas City Clubs.
He makes his first recording in 1938, 'Roll 'EM Pete' and appears at the Spirituals to Swing concert at New york's Carnegie Hall.
Joe signs with the Atlantic record label in 1951 and in 1954 'Shake, Rattle and Roll' stays in the charts for six months.
The following year he appears in the teen film Shake, Rattle and Rock and the records the classic album The Boss of the Blues.
Big Joe appears at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958 and tours Europe with the Jazz At The Philharmonic ensemble.
In 1965 he plays some dates in Europe with Humphrey Lyttelton's band and returns in 1966 to Europe as part of the American Folk Blues Festival.
Joe signs with the Pablo Record label in 1971, for which he will make more than a dozen albums during to 1970's.
Along with Count Basie and Jay McShann, Big Joe appears in the documentary about the Kansas City music scene, The Last of the Blue Devils in 1974.
The album Boogie Woogie Jubilee recorded in 1981 on Big Joe's 70th birthday, finds him in great form and in 1983 he records 'Blues Train' with the R&B band Roomful of Blues.
Big Joe Turner dies of a heat attack in Los Angeles on 24 November 1985.
Big Joe is posthumously inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
In 1995 a Big Joe recording can be heard once again in cinemas worldwide. his 'Corrina Corrina' is the musical highlight of Whoopi Golgberg's film of the same name.