Monday, December 9, 2013

December 8: The "Ice Man" - '60s R& B singer Jerry Butler - "Make It Easy On Yourself," is 74-years-old today.

Born in 1939 in Sunflower, Mississippi, Jerry Butler has had a very successful string of hit records as a solo artist and as the original lead singer of the R&B vocal group, The Impressions. Butler was dubbed the "Iceman" by WDAS Philadelphia disc jockey, Georgie Woods, while performing in a Philadelphia theater.
Jerry grew up on the South Side of Chicago. As a teenager, he sang in a gospel quartet called Northern Jubilee Gospel Singers, along with Curtis Mayfield. Mayfield, a guitar player, became the lone instrumentalist for the six-member Roosters group, which later became The Impressions.

After wring the song "For Your Precious Love," which ranks #327 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, Butler thought it would make a good record. The Impressions auditioned for Chess Records and Vee-Jay Records. The group eventually signed with Vee-Jay, where they released "For Your Precious Love" in 1958. It became The Impressions' first hit and gold record.
The Impressions

Butler’s solo career had a string of hits, including the Top 10 successes "He Will Break Your Heart", "Find Another Girl", "I'm A-Telling You" (all written by fellow Impression Curtis Mayfield and featuring Mayfield as harmony vocal), the million selling "Only the Strong Survive," "Moon River" "Need To Belong" (recorded with the Impressions after he went solo), "Make It Easy On Yourself," "Let It Be Me" (with Betty Everett), "Brand New Me," "Ain't Understanding Mellow" (with Brenda Lee Eager), "Hey, Western Union Man," and "Never Give You Up."

(Continued below video and Amazon portal ...)

HIGHLY Recommended (Press album covers for direct links to Amazon):

Jerry Butler - Greatest HitsThe Best of Jerry Butler - The Millenium CollectionThe Iceman Cometh/Ice on IceIceman: Mercury Anthology


Butler released two successful albums, The Ice Man Cometh in 1968 and Ice On Ice in 1970. The Ice Man Cometh garnered Butler three Grammy nominations.

Jerry collaborated on many of his successful recordings with the Philadelphia-based songwriting team, Gamble and Huff. With Motown, in 1976 and 1977, Butler produced and co-produced two albums: Suite For The Single Girl and It All Comes Out In My Song.

Butler continues to perform. In recent years, he has served as host of PBS TV music specials such as Doo Wop 50 and 51, Rock Rhythm and Doo Wop, and Soul Spectacular: 40 years of R&B, among others. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

In 1991, Butler was inducted, along with the other original members of the Impressions - Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden, Fred Cash, and Arthur and Richard Brooks - into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1965, Jerry co-wrote, the song "I've Been Loving You Too Long" with with Otis Redding.


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