Thursday Throwback – Jerry Butler

Although he was a successful solo artist, Jerry Butler was originally a member of the legendary group The Impressions, which he formed in Chicago, Illinois back in the 1950s with a fellow church choir member, Curtis Mayfield.  In 1958 the group scored their first hit, “Your Precious Love.” Butler left The Impressions to pursue a solo career which was marked with a string of hits–many penned by Mayfield–such as “Find Another Girl,” “I’m A-Telling You,” and “He Will Break Your Heart,” the latter of which became a number one hit in 1960.  It was during this time that Butler got the nickname “The Iceman,” given to him by a Philadelphia radio disc jockey.  Butler also scored a couple of number one hits with “Hey, Western Union Man” and “Only the Strong Survive.”  His cover of the classic tune “I Only Have Eyes For You” hit the top twenty, and his rendition of “Moon River,” a song made famous by singer Andy Williams, made it to number three on the adult contemporary chart. He continued his music career through the early 1980s, recording a tune with Patti Austin in 1983 entitled “In My Life.” These days Butler is alive and well, still known as “The Iceman,” serving in Illinois as a Cook County Board Commissioner, a position he’s held since mid-1980.  He was also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee in 1991.  His music is also alive and well. Hip-hop artists such as Notorious B.I.G, Arrested Development and Snoop Dog are among the multitude of artists who have sampled Butler’s music, not to mention those who’ve recorded covers of his songs–the most recent from the rock group The Black Keys who recorded their version of Butler’s 1968 hit “Never Give You Up.”

–Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at, visit him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.


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