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"A Fool in Love" is the debut single for the team of Ike & Tina Turner. Originally written by Ike Turner, the song became the first official single featuring Tina Turner and was the duo's first hit single, released on the Sue Records label in 1960.
In 1958, Anna Mae Bullock had won a spot on blues musician Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm band after taking a microphone from her sister and singing several B. B. Kingsongs. Originally, Bullock was Turner's background vocalist and Turner included Bullock in his 1958 single, "Boxtop". Despite Bullock's insistence to be the Kings of Rhythm's lead vocalist, her requests were rebuffed by Turner, who had other singers fronting the band. Bullock's stage name was simply "Little Ann". During this time, Bullock dated the band's saxophonist, Raymond Hill, becoming a mother to Hill's child at eighteen.
In the meantime, Turner, who had for years recorded mostly blues music and had since been linked to the beginnings of rock 'n roll with the release of "Rocket 88", had begun to be influenced by the music of Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and James Brown and decided to bring his band away from their early blues years to a more soulful direction. Turner then wrote several songs in this style, including a song he had originally intended for a male vocalist, Art Lassiter, titled "A Fool In Love". When Lassiter got into an argument with Turner over the song and the monetary assets the song may receive, he left the band before he recorded the song.
Recording sessions for the song took place in March 1960 but lagged when the male vocalist failed to show up for a session. Turner then asked 20-year-old Bullock to record the song as a guide track demonstration recording with the attempt to erase Bullock's vocals and add in the male vocalist's. Bullock, known then for her raspy singing style influenced by Ray Charles, recorded the song in one take. To back Bullock up, Turner had hired a girl group called The Artettes to back her up, giving the song a doo-wop direction. The Artettes would later record background harmonies for what would be the couple's first album in 1961. Turner later renamed The Artettes to The Ikettes.
Turner then sent the track to Sue Records president Juggy Murray in New York, who upon hearing Bullock's vocals, insisted that Bullock remain on the track. Murray offered a $25,000 advance for the song, convinced it would be a hit. Before its release, Turner gave Bullock a new stage name, Tina Turner, and added his name to the billing therefore starting their career together as Ike & Tina Turner. By the time of its release, the once close friendship shared between Turner and Bullock had turned sexual. The song eventually reached number two on the R&B chart and crossed over on the Billboard Hot 100 pop charts peaking at number twenty-seven. Tina Turner's national TV debut came in October 1960 when she performed the song on American Bandstand while nine months pregnant with Ike's child.
The song became a highlight in the duo's early shows until the releases of "River Deep - Mountain High" and "Proud Mary". Following their separation in 1976, Tina Turner continued to perform the song onstage during her 1970s shows sometimes in a reduced Ike & Tina medley. By the 1984 release of her comeback album, Private Dancer, Tina left the song (and most of her Ike & Tina catalog with the exceptions of "Proud Mary" and "Nutbush City Limits") off her set list until her 2000 concert tour. In 1993, Tina had re-recorded the song separately as part of the soundtrack to her biopic, What's Love Got to Do with It. Tina Turner later performed the song on Ally McBeal.