Ike and Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits

Tina Turner wrote this song named after a place near where she was born. Tina’s voice is one of a kind and she is electric. Ike and Tina only had one top ten hit and that was Proud Mary. What surprises me is they had 6 top 40 songs and 20 songs in the Billboard 100. Nutbush City Limits peaked at #22 in the Billboard 100 in 1973.

Anna Mae Bullock was born November 26, 1939 in a hospital in Brownsville, a short drive from Nutbush, Tennessee where she grew up. She would eventually marry songwriter and musician Ike Wister Turner, taking the name Tina Turner. In November 1973 the duo released “Nutbush City Limits.” Far from being a city, Nutbush is a hamlet on Highway 19, Tennessee.

From Songfacts

In this song, Turner recalls her memories of Nutbush, painting a picture of a friendly little town with a strong community. She once said that she didn’t turn any heads in Nutbush, as many women there had the goods.

Marc Bolan of the ’70s British glam rock band T-Rex played guitar on this track. Bolan was a fan of Ike’s guitar playing and in his teenage years he had had a crush on Tina Turner.

Tina Turner didn’t write many songs, but she is the sole composer on this one, which was her biggest hit as a songwriter. As her career progressed, Turner did less songwriting, putting her energies into vocal arrangements and performance. As a solo artist, she surrounded herself with top talent and developed a reputation for her strong work ethic, always getting it right in the studio. She certainly could have written more songs had she chosen to.

Turner re-recorded the song as a house number in 1991 for her compilation album Simply The Best. A single release peaked at #23 in the UK. Two years later she re-worked it again for the What’s Love Got to Do with It? soundtrack album.

Bob Seger released a live version on his 1976 album Live Bullet. Released as a single, it went to #69 in the US.

Nutbush City Limits

A church house, gin house
A school house, outhouse 
On highway number nineteen
The people keep the city clean
They call it Nutbush, oh Nutbush
They call it Nutbush city limits
Nutbush city

Twenty-five was the speed limit
Motorcycle not allowed in it
You go t’the store on Friday
You go to church on Sundays
They call it Nutbush, oh Nutbush
Said they call it Nutbush city limits
Nutbush city

You go to the fields on week days
And have a picnic on Labor Day
You go to town on Saturday
But go to church every Sunday
They call it Nutbush, Nutbush
They call it Nutbush city limits
Nutbush city

No whiskey for sale
You get drunk, no bail
Salt pork and molasses
Is all you get in jail
They call it Nutbush, oh, Nutbush
They call it Nutbush city limits
Nutbush city

A lil old town on the Tennessee
Quiet little old community, one-horse town
You got to watch what they’re puttin’ down
Old Nutbush. They call it Nutbush
They call it Nutbush
Oh, Nutbush. They call it Nutbush


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

13 thoughts on “Ike and Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits”

    1. It’s ironic that you hear it on the UK radio online. Through out rock history it took them to show America what we were missing at times.


  1. Just noticed this. Nutbush City Limits is epic! The UK appreciated Ike & Tina a lot (River Deep hit 2, this went top 10) and I remember when it came out the late wonderful revered British DJ John Peel was enthusiastic about the rocking nature of the song but hated the “farty” synth noises in the instrumental bridge. He was SO wrong about that! I loved that they had a foot in the sound of the future of pop music, a powerful biographical song, and Tina’s best vocal performance. Passionate!

    Liked by 1 person

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