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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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

never gonna give u up....whispe r in hie ear.......
"Since I Lost You Lady"Smoove- G r o o v e
Love-Is-Capa b l e Healing-Or-K i l l i n g
H-Town~Rocki n ' ~ W e - A i n ' t - S t o p i n ' - T h a - M u s i c
LOVE+S Disciple*978 * 1 * ~ 9 m 1 4 y ~
MR. BUTLER I LOVE YOUR MUSIC THANK U AND THE LATE CURTIS MAYFIELD FOR PUTTING THE IMPRESSIONS ON THE MAP HERE IN CHICAGO SMILE....
ANOTHER GREAT VOICE...JERR Y COULD SING WITH ANY GREAT GROUP AND MAKE THEM SOUND EVEN BETTER!!!
Can't get enough of Jerry B's music
a very dignified,in t e l l i g e n t and talented man.
love u Jerry Butler.icema n
NICE// Old School = Classic
Jerry Buttler, Now that's music the way it should be
The ice man, he was gr8 in the Impressions
the ICEMAN still sounds good
joseph44mill e r
This was another one of many JAMS hmmmm yes sir MB/ JA
The ice man is smooth as silk. One of the best.
JERRY a Doo Woop King 14y 2m
Love my husband very much
LOVE YOU ICEMAN STILL SOUND GOOD ON THE RADIO AND IN PERSON THE LAST TIME I SAW U IN PERSON WAS IN 2011 IN GRANT PARK IN CHICAGO DOING HONORS WITH MR. SOUL TRAIN. I WISH MR. SOUL TRAIN HERE WITH US. THANK U FOR THE BEAUITFUL MUSIC IN CHICAGO AND LOS ANGELES WHERE SOUL TRAIN RELOCATED FROM CHICAGO R.I.P MR. SOUL TRAIN LOVE, PEACE, SOUL, SMILE..
I love Jerry Butler he's the man,,, shelli1965 oldies but goodies for sure !!!!
that's my main man ain't no question about......y a town baby!!!!
Machine rolas,,get you some ese!!!
There is no other Ice Man Ain't Understandin g Mellow says it all! RLH
Grate song,also like western union man
The ICE MAN was always at Porky's Concerts at the Syria Mosque..Jerr y always wore a purple suit....?
O yes, this 1 bring back some time.
Im groovin' to this, oh how I remember.... . . . . N ' c o o l ' s radio
Man just listening too jerry butlers music is so relaxing just good music.
Yes jerry B
Awesomeeeeee e e e . : - P
Jerry Butler is GREAT.
vegas1943
I love going back in time with sweet Louie a good man and listening to Jerry songs u cant beat it
Never Give You Up.... MeMe, Joseline & Stevie Jay's song!! And throw Lil Scrappy, Shay, and Erica in the mix too!
clara08smith
Love the Ice Man Cometh.....T h e s e are the songs of my childhood.
So Rightous! This song! My God where have they gone.
eah0429
Where is Jerry butler
kbjustice50
JB sings from the heart.
great singer!
super great voice..one of a kind
The smooth voice of the ice man. Fantastic.
Jerry Butler is Class. I love his music.
dpinky27889
LOST!!!! Until I found Jerry Butler. That is my fav...style and substance.
Always have loved Jerry Butler, his eloquence and distinguish style, sound and voice is iconic.
djjp1049
THE ICE MAN COMMETH THE BEST MC OF ALL TIMES DJJP
esdouglass4
I love Jerry Butler, he is kind, and a sagittarian just like myself. Jerry can sing any thing and I will listen.
HAHA, all the stupid little Hipsters are currently on The Black Keys page commenting on what an impact the song ''Never Give You Up'' has had on them and how they discovered a love for Art and organic foods because of it. This is why old people hate young people I guess.
Mr Butler was a trail blaiser, his smooth silky voice was way ahead of the times. He was class!
How can I forget this jam. Jerry was singing, the lights were low, and I BECAME A MAN THAT NIGHT!!!!!!!
In the end there are two types of music. Music you still listen to and marvel, how sweet it is..and then there's the other crap.
The music we use to listen to told good storys, and made you respect the artist more than the music you hear in 2000, like some rap music. Give the oldies any time.
lizealston
I love all my oldies but goodies they have true meaning of the artist that sing them. They express their life experience. You can take to heart the words that they have chosen some of them remind us of our lives back then. Motown is the best. Today music is sound and too much bad language in them not fit for ones ears young or old. So many precious memories.
Jerry Butler has always been my favorite singer(only the strong survive)
charlesricha r d s o n 1 9 0 2
I saw jerry proform in asberrypark back in the 70's i will never forget it.
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