Loves Me Like A Rock
Audio Tour: Ira Tucker
Spartanburg’s Ira Tucker was the shouting, jumping, aisle-sprinting frontman of the legendary gospel quartet The Dixie Hummingbirds.
Tucker’s charismatic stage presence changed gospel music and made him a major influence on famed artists including Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Al Green, David Ruffin of The Temptations, B.B. King, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder. Tucker collaborated in the studio with Stevie Wonder in the 1970s. Ira Tucker and bass man William Bobo — a fellow Spartanburg native — were prominently featured with the Hummingbirds on Paul Simon’s 1973 hit, "Loves Me Like A Rock."
The Hummingbirds played major festivals in the 1960s and ’70s, and Simon’s hit brought them into secular pop music spotlight. But by then, Tucker had already influenced a generation of performers. He performed his last Spartanburg concert in 2007 at The Showroom on South Daniel Morgan Avenue.
—Peter Cooper, author, professor, award-winning journalist, and Grammy-nominated artist
—Steve Shanafelt, freelance journalist, editor and music writer
Ira Tucker was with The Dixie Hummingbirds for 70 years, from 1938 when he joined at age 13 until his death in 2008.