b. Jerry Butler Jnr., 8th December 1939, Sunflower, Mississippi, U.S.A.
Jerry Butler was born in Mississippi and came from a poor background.
He lived in Chicago's Cabrini Green housing complex.
From a religious upbringing, Jerry performed in a local church choir with Curtis Mayfield.
As teenagers, he and Curtis, sang in a gospel quartet called Northern Jubilee Gospel Singers.
jerry butler and the impressions
The local band the Roosters (Sam Gooden and Richard and Arthur Brooks were also in the group), who were later to evolve into the Impressions, with Jerry suggesting the inclusion of Curtis within the line-up as guitarist and songwriter.
Jerry's younger brother, Billy Butler, also had a career in the music industry.
By 1958 the Roosters had changed their name, and, under the name of the Impressions, the group scored a hit with the song 'For Your Precious Love (which charted at number 3 on the R & B charts), recorded for the Abner imprint.
The Impressions had auditioned for Chess Records and VeeJay Records, athough they eventually signed with Vee-Jay, where they released their hit song.
The single was credited to Jerry Butler and the Impressions, which did cause some concern, and following a further single release ('Come Back My Love') using the same group title, Jerry left the group for a change in career.
As a solo performer, he recorded a few 45's, which received some success, however, his Curtis Mayfield penned song 'He Will Break Your Heart' charted at number 1 on the R & B charts, and went to number 7 nationally in 1960.
Jerry ad Curtis had remained in touch, and Curtis assisted Jerry on subsequent releases, namely, 'Find Another Girl' and 'I'm A TeIling You' (both released in 1961).
Curtis spent more time with the blossoming career of his Impressions ensemble, whilst Jerry achieved further success with songs such as 'Make It Easy On Yourself' (in 1962) and 'I Stand Accused' (in 1964).
folk songs (1963) / with betty everett (1964)
In 1966 Jerry was nicknamed the 'Iceman' by WDAS Philadelphia disc jockey, Georgie Woods, while performing in a Philadelphia theater.
He had switched label to Mercury by now and topped the charts with the songs 'Hey Western Union Man' and 'Only The Strong Survive'.
Jerry also co-wrote, with Otis Redding, the song 'I've Been Loving You Too Long' in 1965.
Further success followed, including the Top 10 successes 'He Will Break Your Heart', 'Find Another Girl', 'I'm A-Telling You' (all penned by Curtis Mayfield), 'Moon River', 'Need To Belong','Let It Be Me' (with Betty Everett), 'Brand New Me,' 'Ain’t Understanding Mellow' (with Brenda Lee Eager), and 'Never Give You Up'.
ice on ice / you and me (both 1970)
Jerry released two successful albums, 'The Ice Man Cometh' (in 1968) and 'Ice On Ice' (in 1970).
the sagittarius movement / sings assorted sounds (both 1971)
with brenda lee eager (1973)
He also launched his own FIP label, and took on various production projects (including The Sylvers 1972 album release).
In 1975 he switched to Motown to record both as a solo artist and in partnership with Thelma Houston while in 1977 he created a production company called Fountain Productions.
the philadelphia international albums
Jerry signed to the Philadelphia International label (PIR) he recorded 'Nothing Says I Love You Like I Love You' (in 1978), which included the track '(I'm Just Thinking About) Cooling Out' along with a duet with Debra Henry, entitled 'Don't Be An Island'.
Whilst at Philadelphia International he co-wrote and produced 'Was That All It Was' and 'When I Find You Love' for Jean Cam, and co-produced Dee Dee Sharp Gamble (on 'Breaking And Entering') prior to his own second album for the label, 'Best Love I Ever Had (in 1980).
Jerry also performed guest vocal chores alongside, the Crusader, Stix Hooper on 'Let's Talk It Out' from the album 'Touch The Feeling' (in 1982).
Jerry later collaborated on many of his successful recordings with the Philadelphia based songwriting team, Gamble and Huff.
love's on the menu / power of love (1976 and 1973)
Along with his brother, Billy Butler, he formed the Butler Writers Workshop, which encouraged aspiring songwriters and musicians, amongst whom were Marvin Yancey and Chuck Jackson of the Independents and Natalie Cole.
Jerry's Motown releases preceded a more successful spell with Philadelphia International, while the 80's saw his work appear on Fountain and CTI.
Jerry Butler is also an American politician.
He serves as a Commissioner for Cook County, Illinois, having first been elected in 1985.
As a member of this 17-member county board, he chairs the Health and Hospitals Committee, and serves as Vice Chair of the Construction Committee.
He also continues to perform and 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, amongst others.
He has also served as Chairman of the Board of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
Jerry Butler Esquire (Abner 1959)
He Will Break Your Heart (Vee Jay 1960)
Love Me (Vee Jay 1961)
Aware Of Love (Vee Jay 1961)
Moon River (Vee Jay 1962)
Folk Songs (Vee Jay 1963)
Need To Belong (Vee Jay 1964)
with Betty Everett: Delicious Together (Vee Jay 1964)
Soul Artistry (Mercury 1967)
Mr Dream Merchant (Mercury 1967)
Jerry Butler's Golden Hits Live (Mercury 1968)
Just Beautiful (Mercury 1968)
The Soul Goes On (Mercury 1968)
The Ice Man Cometh (Mercury 1968)
Ice On Ice (Mercury 1969)
You & Me (Mercury 1970)
Special Memory (Mercury 1970)
Jerry Butler Sings Assorted Sounds By Assorted Friends And Relatives (Mercury 1971)
with Gene Chandler: Gene & Jerry - One & One (Mercury 1971)
The Sagittarius Movement (Mercury 1971)
The Spice Of Life (Mercury 1972)
Melinda (Mercury 1972)
Introducing The Ice Man Band (Mercury 1972)
with Brenda Lee Eager: The Love We Have, The Love We Had (Mercury 1973)
The Power Of Love (Mercury 1973)
Sweet Sixteen (Mercury 1974)
Love's On The Menu (Motown 1976)
Make It Easy On Yourself (Motown 1976)
Suite For The Single Girl (Motown 1977)
with Thelma Houston: Thelma And Jerry (Motown 1977)
with Thelma Houston: Two To One (Motown 1978)
It All Comes Out In My Song (Motown 1978)
Nothing Says I Love You Like I Love You (Philadelphia International 1978)
Best Love I Ever Had (Philadelphia International 1981)
Ice 'N Hot (Fountain 1982)
Time & Faith (1993)
Simply Beautiful (Valley Vue 1994)