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Jerry Butler

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Bio

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
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Albums by
Jerry Butler

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    11 songs

    On Air

    Jerry Butler, Esq.

    11 songs

    On Air

    Folk Songs in Soul Sound

    10 songs

    On Air

    Greatest Hits, Part Two

    11 songs

    On Air

    The Greatest Hits of Jerry Butler

    10 songs

    On Air

    Love's on the Menu

    8 songs

    On Air

    The Best Love

    8 songs

    On Air

    Nothing Says I Love You Like I Love You

    23 songs

    On Air

    Moon River/Delicious Together

    1 song

    On Air

    Isle of Sirens

    28 songs

    On Air

    He Will Break Your Heart/Jerry Butler, Esq.

    12 songs

    On Air

    He Will Break Your Heart/Aware of Love

    25 songs

    On Air

    The Philadelphia Sessions

    11 songs

    On Air

    20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Jerry Butler

    10 songs

    On Air

    The Essential Jerry Butler [Polygram]

    25 songs

    On Air

    The Iceman Cometh [Vee-Jay]

    44 songs

    On Air

    Iceman: The Mercury Years

    10 songs

    On Air

    For Your Precious Love [Classic Sound]

    12 songs

    On Air

    The Very Best of Jerry Butler [PolyGram]

    25 songs

    On Air

    Keep Calm and Listen Jerry Butler

    25 songs

    On Air

    It's Christmas Time with Jerry Butler

    14 songs

    On Air

    Thanks to You

    16 songs

    On Air

    The Best of Jerry Butler

    21 songs

    On Air

    I Love Soul

    21 songs

    On Air

    Younger Than Springtime

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Jerry Butler

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   He Will Break Your Heart
  3.   For Your Precious Love
  4.   Never Give You Up
  5.   Ain't Understanding Mellow
  6.   Only the Strong Survive
  7.   Hey, Western Union Man
  8.   Make It Easy on Yourself
  9.   Find Another Girl
  10.   Moon River
  11.   Where's the Girl
  12.   I Was Wrong
  13.   By My Side
  14.   Gettin' Mighty Crowded
  15.   Chained to Your Love
  16.   Come Back My Love
  17.   I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
  18.   Prince of Players
  19.   I've Been Trying
  20.   Memories Don't Leave Like People Do
  21.   You Walked Into My Life
  22.   Close to You
  23.   Lost
  24.   You're No Good
  25.   Got to See If I Can't Get Mommy (To Come Back Home)
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Jerry Butler

    On Air

    The Black Keys: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    '60s Deep Dive

    On Air

    Chicano Old School

    On Air

    Dive Bar Jukebox

    On Air

    '50s Deep Dive

    On Air

    Oldies


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