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Jerry Butler

Jerry Butler's career spans four decades; he recorded more than 50 albums and his voice is one of the most distinguished voices in all of music. As soulful as ever, yet smooth as ice, his nickname "the Ice Man" epitomizes his demeanor -- and sound. In spite of his status as a true music icon, he remains humble. Butler moved from Sunflower, MS, to Chicago, IL, at the age of three during the mass migration of blacks from the South to the North. (He grew up in an area which is now known as the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects.)

Butler acquired his initial music lessons as a young boy while a member of the church choir in Chicago. Curtis Mayfield, who was three years younger, was also a member of the same choir. The two befriended each other and began a collaboration that would have an everlasting impact on music. The twosome joined up with brothers Arthur and Richard Brooks and Sam Gooden to form the R&B group the Roosters. In fact, the Brooks brothers, Gooden, and a female had migrated to Chicago from Tennessee, and were called the Roosters & a Chick. But when Butler and Mayfield joined them, the group became simply the Roosters. In 1957, the quintet's name was changed to Jerry Butler & the Impressions. Butler scored his first hit with the Impressions in 1958 with the timeless ballad "For Your Precious Love." (He'd written the lyrics to the song when he was just 16.)

That same year Butler and the Impressions cordially split, and Butler began his solo career. He released his first single, "Lost," on the Abner label. It peaked at number 17 on the Billboard R&B charts. Jumping over to Vee-Jay in late 1960 where his career blossomed, Butler had his first hit as a solo artist with "He Will Break Your Heart." The single popped to the top of the charts at number one and stayed there for seven consecutive weeks. In 1961, Butler bounced back with two Top Ten singles: "Find Another Girl" and "I'm a Telling You." In 1967, he signed with Mercury and teamed up with the production duo of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. His work with these two master producers and songwriters resulted in some classic recordings, including the outstanding album The Ice Man Cometh. The album featured one superb track after another, including two number-one singles ("Hey, Western Union Man," "Only the Strong Survive") and two Top Ten singles ("Never Give You Up," "Are You Happy"). Always known for being a crooner, "Hey, Western Union Man" revealed to many that Butler was more than capable of singing up-tempo songs.

In 1971, Gamble and Huff formed their own label and subsequently Butler formed a creative workshop to help provide material for his forthcoming albums. Material that did not make his albums, he marketed to other artists. In the spring of 1971, Butler hit the Top Ten with the number-eight single "If It's Real What I Feel," which was written by Chuck Jackson (the younger brother of Rev. Jesse Jackson). Butler continued his hit-making tradition with "Ain't Understanding Mellow," a classic soul-ballad duet with Brenda Lee Eager that peaked at number three on the Billboard R&B charts. Butler scored a number-six single with Eager with a remake of the Carpenters' "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and a solo hit with a remake of the O'Jays' "One Night Affair," which was also his last song to crack the Top Ten.

Never one to categorize singers because he believes that a singer is a singer -- not based on genre, but on a person's mere ability to sing -- Butler himself covered several styles of music during his lengthy music career. He had many highs in his career; ranging from sharing the spotlight with such greats as Aretha Franklin to being the chairman of the board for the Rhythm and Blues Foundation (a non-profit organization). Butler also became a force in another field: politics. In the mid-'80s, he was a significant campaign supporter of Chicago's first black mayor Harold Washington. A short time later, Butler himself became the Cook County (IL) Commissioner and by the late '90s he was a Chicago City Alderman. When the great Jerry Butler is not lobbying for his constituents, he can be found on-stage giving one of his spine-chilling performances with Ice Man-cool delivery. ~ Craig Lytle
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Ice Man

1. For Your Precious Love

2. Good Times

3. He Will Break Your Heart

4. I Stand Accused

5. No End Of Time

6. Lost Without You

7. Moon River

8. I'm A Telling You

9. Whatever You Want

10. Giving Up On Love

11. Aware Of Love

12. Find Another Girl

13. It's Too Late

14. Thanks To You

x

Track List: Isle of Sirens

1. Isle of Sirens

2. He Will Break Your Heart

x

Track List: Isle of Siren

1. Isle of Sirens

2. He Will Break Your Heart

x

Track List: The Best Love

1. The Best Love I Ever Had (Up Tempo Version)

2. Would You Mind

3. Don't Be An Island

4. Tell Me Girl (Why It Has To End)

5. Reach Out For Me

6. We've Got This Feeling Again

7. Angel Face

8. The Best Love I Ever Had (Slow Version)

x

Track List: Jerry Butler, Esq.

1. September Song

2. For Your Precious Love

3. Don't Take Your Love From Me

4. Come Back My Love

5. If You Let Me

6. The Challenge

7. Chi Town

8. Rainbow Valley

9. I Was Wrong

10. Lost

11. No End Or Time

12. You Go Right Through Me

x

Track List: He Will Break Your Heart

1. He Will Break Your Heart

2. The Gift Of Love

3. Teardrops From My Eyes

4. Give Me Your Love

5. Have A Good Time

6. A Lonely Soldier

7. Thanks To You

8. Sweet Was The Wine

9. Butterfly

10. After The Laughter

11. The Lights Went Out

12. I Found Love

x

Track List: Brand New Me

1. Only The Strong Survive

2. Let It Be Me

3. Make It Easy On Yourself

4. Moon River

5. For Your Precious Love

6. He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)

7. I Stand Accused

8. A Brand New Me

9. Never Give You Up

10. Hey, Western Union Man

x

Track List: Greatest Hits, Part One

1. For Your Precious Love

2. He Will Break Your Heart

3. Find Another Girl

4. I'm A Telling You

5. Moon River

6. Make It Easy On Yourself

7. You Can Run (But You Can't Hide)

8. Theme From "Taras Bulba" (The Wishing Star)

9. Whatever You Want

10. Need To Belong

x

Track List: Greatest Hits, Part Two

1. Giving Up On Love

2. Let It Be Me

3. I Stand Accused

4. I Don't Want To Hear Anymore

5. Smile

6. Love Is Strange

7. Good Times

8. Hey, Western Union Man (Alternate Version)

9. Only The Strong Survive (Alternate Version)

10. Ain't Understanding Mellow (Alternate Version)

x

Track List: The Greatest Hits Of Jerry Butler

1. Make It Easy On Yourself

2. He Will Break Your Heart

3. Need To Belong

4. Giving Up On Love

5. Find Another Girl

6. I'm A Telling You

7. Moon River

8. Whatever You Want

9. I Stand Accused

10. For Your Precious Love

11. Let It Be Me

x

Track List: The Best Of The Vee-Jay Years

1. For Your Precious Love

3. He Will Break Your Heart

4. Find Another Girl

5. I'm A Telling You

6. Moon River

7. Aware Of Love

8. Make It Easy On Yourself

9. You Can Run (But You Can't Hide)

10. Message To Martha

11. Need To Belong

12. Giving Up On Love

13. I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore

14. I Stand Accused

15. Let It Be Me

16. Good Times

x

Track List: The Philadelphia Sessions: The Ice Man Cometh, Ice On Ice And More

1. Hey, Western Union Man

2. Can't Forget About You, Baby

3. Only The Strong Survive

4. How Can I Get In Touch With You

5. Just Because I Really Love You

6. Lost

7. Never Give You Up

8. Are You Happy

9. (Strange) I Still Love You

10. Go Away, Find Yourself

11. I Stop By Heaven

12. Moody Woman

13. A Brand New Me

14. Been A Long Time

15. Close To You Love

16. Since I Lost You Lady

17. What's The Use Of Breaking Up?

18. When You're Alone

19. I Forgot To Remember

20. Got To See If I Can't Get Mommy (To Come Back Home)

21. Don't Let Love Hang You Up

22. Walking Around In Teardrops

23. Beside You

24. I Could Write A Book

25. No Money Down

x

Track List: The Best Of Jerry Butler - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection

1. Only The Strong Survive

2. Moody Woman

3. I Dig You Baby

4. Never Give You Up

5. Mr. Dream Merchant

6. Lost

7. Hey, Western Union Man

8. Ain't Understanding Mellow (Feat. Brenda Lee Eager)

9. One Night Affair

10. What's the Use Of Breaking Up

11. A Brand New Me

x

Track List: His Very Best

1. He Will Break Your Heart (2008)

2. Moon River (2008)

3. Only The Strong Survive (2008)

4. Hey, Western Union Man (2008)

5. Ain't Understanding Mellow

x

Track List: Essential Jerry Butler

1. Only The Strong Survive

2. Hey, Western Union Man

3. Moody Woman

4. A Brand New Me

5. I Could Write A Book

6. Walking Around In Teardrops

7. Don't Let Love Hang You Up

8. I Stop By Heaven

9. Go Away Find Yourself

10. Can't Forget About You Baby

x

Track List: The Ice Man (Deluxe Version)

1. For Your Precious Love

2. Sweet Was The Wine

3. Come Back My Love

4. I Was Wrong

5. He Will Break Your Heart

6. Find Another Girl

7. I'm A Telling You

8. Aware Of Love

9. Moon River

10. You Can Run (But You Can't Hide)

11. Make It Easy On Yourself

12. Message To Martha

13. Where's The Girl

14. A Woman With Soul

15. Need To Belong

16. I've Been Trying

17. I Don't Wanna Hear It Anymore

18. I Stand Accused

19. Since I Don't Have You

20. Let It Be Me

21. I Can't Stand It

22. Good Times

23. I Can't Stand To See You

24. I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face

25. Nobody Needs Your Love (More Than I Do)

x

Track List: Iceman: The Mercury Years

Disc 1

1. Love (Oh How Sweet It Is)

2. Loneliness

3. Alfie

4. The Right Track

5. You Make Me Feel Like Someone

6. I Dig You Baby

7. You Walked Into My Life

8. (Nobody Ever Loved Anybody) The Way I Love You

9. You Don't Know What You Got Until You Lose It

10. Mr. Dream Merchant

11. I've Been Loving You Too Long

12. Lost

13. Beside You

14. Never Give You Up

15. Hey, Western Union Man

16. Can't Forget About You Baby

17. Are You Happy

18. Only The Strong Survive

19. Moody Woman

20. Go Away Find Yourself

21. Only The Strong Survive

Disc 2

1. A Brand New Me

2. What's The Use Of Breaking Up

3. Don't Let Love Hang You Up

4. I Forgot To Remember

5. Got To See If I Can't Get Mommy (To Come Back Home)

6. I Could Write A Book

7. Life's Unfortunate Sons

8. Where Are You Going

9. Special Memory

10. You Just Can't Win (By Making The Same Mistake)

11. How Did We Lose It Baby

12. If It's Real What I Feel

13. Walk Easy My Son

14. Ain't Understanding Mellow (Feat. Brenda Lee Eager)

15. Windy City Soul

16. Radio Promo With Producer Samuel F. Brown III

17. One Night Affair

18. I Only Have Eyes For You

19. (They Long To Be) Close To You (Feat. Brenda Lee Eager)

20. Can't Understand It

21. Power Of Love (Feat. Brenda Lee Eager)

22. Memories Don't Leave Like People Do

23. For Your Precious Love

x

Track List: The Very Best Of Jerry Butler

1. Only The Strong Survive

2. Hey, Western Union Man

3. Never Give You Up

4. Moody Woman

5. Ain't Understanding Mellow (Feat. Brenda Lee Eager)

6. I Dig You Baby

7. One Night Affair (1969)

8. What's The Use Of Breaking Up

9. Lost

10. Mr. Dream Merchant

11. How Did We Lose It Baby

12. Are You Happy

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. For Your Precious Love

2. He Will Break Your Heart

3. Moon River

4. Make It Easy On Yourself

6. Hey, Western Union Man

7. Only The Strong Survive

8. What's The Use Of Breaking Up

11. The Devil In Mrs. Jones

x

Track List: Love's On The Menu

1. I Don't Want Nobody To Know

2. I'm Goin' Left

3. I Don't Wanna Be Reminded

4. Don't Let This Smile Fool You

5. I Honestly Love You

6. Love's On The Menu Tonight

7. The Devil In Mrs. Jones

8. Thank You Early Bird

9. I Think That She's In Love

10. This Is Your Life

Comments

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So lonely.miss you
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The great Jerry Butler
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The best of the best!!!
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Your Precious Love .means more to me Than any love could ever be.What a great love song.Only the ice man can sing it that way .
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Music is the sound of the heart words wiii rather raise you up or break your heart
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I'm guilty.lovin g you.to long my favorite song by Jerry Butler
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The ice man cometh
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Great song!!!
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Jerry Butler, you're still the iceman,becau s e you're still so cool.
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brenda and tabulations radio station is good ...good music it's tgif happy holidays :)
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Jerry is simply AWESOME!!!-- - G i v i n g Up On Love is one of the greatest songs ever!!!
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Love the way they the Impression, n Jerry Butler played together Great, great music. I whis they had done more
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Jerry Butler "is" bad as hell,never crossed over did"t need to. Dennissmooth
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Nobody like the ice man
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Awesome duets Beautiful performance! ! ! !
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For your precious love whatbe
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Kid name should be MAC!
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One of the finest love songs EVER
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Smooth as hell
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Betty Everette and Ice Man none better
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This brother can sing!
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After been your fan for over fifty years, I still love you Jerry..
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I do stand accused
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The ice man
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How true Jerry!!
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Jerry I have had the privilege of seeing you twice and each time only fallen more in love with you. You will always be very special to me. .Love you forever nancy
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Love you forever.
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''never gonna give you up'' and ''make it easy on yourself '' sound so down to earth,heartb r e a k i n g , m e a n i n g f u l . I guess that's why they call it SOUL !!
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Another one of those great Make out songs. Slow dancing is king.....
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the iceman was and is awesome today his songs bring back great memories when I was teenager in the 50
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I'm just Coolin' Out listening to Jerry
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I'll never give up
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Close the got dam door
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marthadelane y 8
Never going to give you up honey
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SIMPLY PUT, JERRY IS ONE OF THE BEST EVER!!!!!
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rodzcpte
I'll give your a** up ... for sure .
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Love love love this song ��
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garciakristy l
Love this song
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Super great dance music....... . . . . W o w , do I wish I could go back to those days...Life is made up of memories like these .... A tear came to my eye...
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Bad a** oldie, one of my favez!! Bring'z back many good memorie'z,bl a s t from the past, the good time'z!!! Zenette Rodriguez
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rayco1956
He's the greatest
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t_heath
What a great song!!
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I so love him
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The Ice Man is the greatest
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Every black radio station should play This song for our black young and men
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msvglove1
Love this song
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shortyro2001
I love you! Ice man! I wish you were mine.
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great song
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love this song haven't heard this god in ages
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R&B by N'Cool
Jerry's cut. "I gotta go see if I can't get mama to come back home......br i n g s tears to the eyes........ . . . . .
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