Nutbush City Limits

Nutbush City Limits
"Nutbush City Limits"
Single by Ike & Tina Turner
from the album Nutbush City Limits
B-side "Help Him"
Released June 1973 (1973-06)
Format Vinyl 7" single
Recorded Bolic Sound Studio, Inglewood, CA
Genre R&B, rock
Length 2:57
Label United Artists
Writer(s) Tina Turner
Producer Ike Turner
Ike & Tina Turner singles chronology
"Proud Mary"
"Nutbush City Limits"

"Nutbush City Limits" is a semi-autobiographical rock and roll song written and originally performed by Tina Turner in which she commemorates her rural hometown of Nutbush, Tennessee. Released June 1973, shortly before her separation from then-husband and musical partner Ike Turner, "Nutbush City Limits" was the last hit single the duo would produce together. In the years since, "Nutbush City Limits" has been covered by a number of other artists and Tina Turner herself has also re-recorded several different versions of the song. As an unincorporated town, Nutbush does not actually have "city limits", but it does have a "Nutbush—Unincorporated" sign on the highway.[1]



1973 original version

The initial recording of "Nutbush City Limits" was produced by Ike Turner in May 1973 and released as a single the following month by the couple under their professional name, Ike & Tina Turner. The song later appeared on their album of the same title, released November 1973, and proved to be the duo's final significant chart hit, reaching #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the UK Singles Chart.[2] Following the couple's split, the song became a staple of Tina's live show, where she re-worked the funky studio version into a hard-driving rock and roll showstopper.

Marc Bolan of the glam rock band T. Rex is believed to have played guitar on "Nutbush City Limits", although he received no credit for his participation. Gloria Jones, his girlfriend at the time—who herself provided backing vocals for Ike & Tina Turner in the 1960s—stated definitely that this was the case in the 2007 BBC4 documentary Marc Bolan: The Final Word. Considering that Bolan toured the US extensively and resided in the Los Angeles area during the mid-70s, and that he is also acknowledged to have contributed to Ike & Tina Turner's 1974 singles "Baby—Get It On" and "Sexy Ida", Jones' claim likely has some truth to it, especially as the guitar sound on "Nutbush City Limits" closely resembles Bolan's style.


1988 live version

"Nutbush City Limits (Live)"
Single by Tina Turner
from the album Tina Live in Europe
B-side "Overnight Sensation" (live), "Legs" (live)
Released March 16, 1988 (1988-03-16)
Format 7" single / 12" single / CD single
Genre Pop, rock
Length 3:30
Label Capitol
Producer John Hudson
Tina Turner singles chronology
"Nutbush City Limits (Live)"
"Addicted to Love (Live)"

A live recording of the track, most likely from Turner's record-breaking 1986–1987 Break Every Rule Tour, was released as the lead single to promote the double album Tina Live in Europe in 1988, but was in fact a different recording than the one that appeared on the actual album. While this version didn't manage to make much of an impact on any charts, the single is notable for being one of the very first by Turner to be released on Compact Disc, at that time a relatively new format, in addition to 7" and 3-track 12" vinyl editions.

Both the CD and 12" singles featured a 10-minute, 57-second live rendition of ZZ Top's song "Legs" from their 1983 album Eliminator, which was not included on the Tina Live in Europe album. A shorter version of "Legs", recorded on Turner's 1993 What's Love? Tour, would later appear on her 1994 CD box set The Collected Recordings - Sixties to Nineties.

  • "Nutbush City Limits" (live) – 3:30
  • Tina Live in Europe album track – 3:43

1991 remixes

"Nutbush City Limits
(The 90s Version)"
Single by Tina Turner
from the album Simply the Best
B-side "The Best"
Released October 14, 1991 (1991-10-14)
Format 7" single / 12" single / CD single
Genre Pop, dance
Length 3:42
Label Capitol
Producer Chris "C. J." Mackintosh,
Dave Dorrell
Tina Turner singles chronology
"It Takes Two"
"Nutbush City Limits (The 90s Version)"
"Way of the World"

Turner re-recorded "Nutbush City Limits" in a modern dance style—subtitled "The 90s Version"—for inclusion on her 1991 compilation album Simply the Best. Upon its release as a single, the song peaked at #23 on the UK Singles Chart and was a Top 20 hit in several other European countries. A different rendition, entitled "Nutbush City Limits ('91)", appeared alongside "The 90s Version". This funkier yet more laid-back arrangement is actually the one for which Turner recorded new vocals that were later remixed by producers Chris "C. J." Mackintosh and Dave Dorrell to become "The 90s Version". The 12" single also featured an extended six-minute version of the dance remix, and a limited-release promotional DJ edition from the UK included still another take, "A Little Bit o' Bush". The corresponding music video for "The 90s Version" shows Turner recording the song in studio, intercut with footage from Nutbush, TN of the various landmarks mentioned.

  • "Nutbush City Limits (The 90s Version)" – 3:43
  • "Nutbush City Limits ('91)" – 4:16
  • "Nutbush City Limits (Nutbush City '91)" – 6:00
  • "A Little Bit o' Bush" – 5:01

1993 re-recording

In 1993, Turner re-recorded the track as a re-working of the original studio arrangement for the What's Love Got to Do with It soundtrack album.

Other artists

"Nutbush City Limits"
Single by Bob Seger and
The Silver Bullet Band
from the album Live Bullet
B-side "Travelin' Man"
Released April 1976 (1976-04)
Format 7" single
Genre Rock
Length 3:30
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Tina Turner
Producer Punch Andrews, Bob Seger
Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band singles chronology
"Nutbush City Limits"
"Night Moves"
  • Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band recorded "Nutbush City Limits" for their 1975 album Beautiful Loser. It was a mainstay of their concert performances as documented on the Live Bullet album where they used it for the opening number. The Live Bullet version was released as a promotional single and became a Detroit-area hit.
  • In 1980, Brian Johnson sang "Nutbush City Limits" and "Whole Lotta Rosie" as part of his first audition for the band AC/DC.
  • Alvin Lee and Steve Gould included a version of "Nutbush City Limits" on their 1981 collaboration, RX5.
  • Precious Wilson and La Mama covered the song on their 1983 album Funky Fingers.
  • A rendition by Bloodloss appeared both on their 1988 album Human Skin Suit and as a B-side on the 1989 single release of "School's Out" by King Snake Roost.
  • The German electronica group Boom Operators, fronted by Harald Blüchel, featured "Nutbush City Limits" on their 1991 album Hu-Man.
  • Martin Barre, guitarist for Jethro Tull, recorded a cover of this song in 1992 for his first solo album, A Summer Band.
  • In 2005, the tune was also covered by Nashville Pussy and can be heard on their album Get Some!.
  • On May 15, 2007, American Idol contestant Melinda Doolittle sang the song in her second Top 3 performances; she received excellent marks from all three judges.
  • Pearl Aday performed "Nutbush City Limits" as part of her band's opening set for father Meat Loaf's Casa De Carne tour in 2008.

Chart performance

Chart (1973) Peak
Austria Ö3 Singles Chart 1
Germany Media Control Singles Chart 2
Swiss Music Charts 2
UK Singles Chart[2] 4
Italian Singles Chart 5
South Africa Singles Chart 9
Irish Singles Chart 18
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 22
Chart (1991) Peak
UK Airplay Chart 9
Italian Singles Chart 11
Netherlands Top 40 Singles 11
Irish Singles Chart 12
Swiss Music Charts 12
Australia ARIA Singles Chart 16
UK Singles Chart 23
Austria Ö3 Singles Chart 25
Germany Media Control Singles Chart 25
New Zealand Singles Chart 26

Tina Turner Highway

Tina Turner Highway in Nutbush

Nutbush, an unincorporated town in Haywood County, TN located 75 miles (120.7 km) northeast of Memphis, is the childhood home of singer Tina Turner described in her 1973 song, "Nutbush City Limits". The town does not have "city limits" per se; however, "Nutbush—Unincorporated" signs are posted on the adjoining roads.[1]

Nutbush is located near the junction of Tennessee State Routes 180 and 19, the latter of which is mentioned in the song as "Highway number nineteen" (mistakenly noted as US-19 in Seger's version), with a noted speed limit of 25 mph (40 km/h) ("twenty-five was the speed limit").

In 2002, a nine-mile (14.5 km) segment of State Route 19 between Nutbush and Brownsville was officially designated "Tina Turner Highway" to honor the singer.[3][4][5]

The Nutbush

The Nutbush is a line dance performed to the song "Nutbush City Limits" that became popular in Australia during the disco era.


  1. ^ a b Machnitzki, Thomas R. (October 11, 2004). "Nutbush, TN 38063 Tina Turner's Childhood Home in Tennessee". Retrieved November 21, 2007.  Photographic documentation of contemporary Nutbush.
  2. ^ a b c UK Singles Chart: Listed a total of 13 weeks, entering at #47 on August 4, 1973 and reaching peak position on September 8, 1973, where it remained for 2 weeks. Billboard Hot 100: Listed a total of 15 weeks, entering at #89 on June 30, 1973 and reaching peak position on September 8, 1973.
  3. ^ Wilder, John S. (January 17, 2002). "SB 2798: Highway Signs—"Tina Turner Highway"" (PDF). Legislation Archives—Bills and Resolutions: 102nd General Assembly. Nashville, TN: Tennessee Senate. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  4. ^ Fitzhugh, Craig (January 22, 2002). "HB 2535: Highway Signs—"Tina Turner Highway"" (PDF). Legislation Archives—Bills and Resolutions: 102nd General Assembly. Nashville, TN: Tennessee House of Representatives. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ Associated Press (September 25, 2002). "Highway to Be Named for Tina Turner". AP Online News Wire. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 

External links

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