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The Honorable Jerry Butler

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Information about The Honorable Jerry Butler

Profile image of The Honorable Jerry Butler

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Composer
County Commissioner
Music Producer
Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
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Birthplace

Born:
12/8/1939
Birth Location:
Sunflower, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Composer
County Commissioner
Music Producer
Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
12/8/1939
Birth Location:
Sunflower
See how The Honorable Jerry Butler is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Award-winning performer, producer and composer Jerry "The Iceman" Butler was born in Sunflower, Mississippi on December 8, 1939. He moved to Chicago, Illinois at the age of three and grew up in an area later known as the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects. Butler met Curtis Mayfield, with whom he began his musical career as part of a quintet called "Jerry Butler and The Impressions." In 1958, The Impressions had their first hit with the classic "For Your Precious Love," after which the group cordially split and 18-year-old Butler went on to pursue a solo career. Spanning five decades, Butler's musical career has produced over 50 albums, numerous hit songs and three Grammy Award nominations. Butler, a musical icon, is known for his smooth, distinguished voice.

Butler has had numerous hit songs go platinum during his career, including "For Your Precious Love" with The Impressions (1958), "He Will Break Your Heart" (1960), "Moon River" (1961), "Never Gonna Give You Up" (1967), "Hey Western Union Man" (1968), "Brand New Me" (1969), "Only The Strong Survive" (1969), and "Ain't Understanding Mellow" (1973). In addition to his recording credits, Butler has hosted and appeared on numerous television variety specials; been nominated for three Grammy Awards; and received various awards for singing, composing, and publishing, including several from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, two Billboard magazine awards, two Humanitarian Awards and several Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Awards. Butler was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1994, a non-profit organization for which he has served as the Chairman of the Board.

Influenced by the Civil Rights movement, Butler entered politics in the mid-1980s as a campaign supporter of Chicago's first African American Mayor, Harold Washington. Butler himself was first elected to public office in 1985 as the Cook County Commissioner, where he served three four-year terms. In 1993, at the age of 55, Butler received a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Governor's State College in University Park, Illinois. Butler and his wife, Annette, married in 1959, reside in Chicago and are parents to twin sons.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jerry Butler's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jerry Butler talks about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jerry Butler talks about his grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jerry Butler describes his mother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jerry Butler talks about his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jerry Butler describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jerry Butler describes his childhood memories of Monroe County, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jerry Butler describes the apartments where he lived during his childhood in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jerry Butler describes the sights, smells, and sounds of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jerry Butler describes his childhood home life
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jerry Butler describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jerry Butler describes his reaction to his father's death
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Jerry Butler describes two teachers who inspired him
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Jerry Butler talks about his experience at Washburne Trade School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jerry Butler talks about the racism of some labor unions
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jerry Butler describes becoming interested in being a chef
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jerry Butler talks about the historical importance of the Lawson YMCA in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jerry Butler discusses his early interest in music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jerry Butler describes the formation of The Impressions
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jerry Butler describes how Eddie Thomas became the manager for The Impressions and their record deal with Vee-Jay Records
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jerry Butler describes the origin of his song 'For Your Precious Love'
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jerry Butler recalls how he felt the first time he heard 'For Your Precious Love' on the radio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jerry Butler describes his top billing with The Impressions
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jerry Butler describes the members of The Impressions and their roles within the group
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Jerry Butler describes why he left The Impressions
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Jerry Butler describes leaving The Impressions
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jerry Butler recounts his fear that Roy Hamilton would cover 'For Your Precious Love'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jerry Butler describes Vee-Jay Records, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jerry Butler describes Vee-Jay Records, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jerry Butler talks about his manager, Irv Nahan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jerry Butler talks about Irv Nahan's influence on his career at Vee-Jay Records
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jerry Butler describes the origin of his nickname, "The Iceman"
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jerry Butler talks about touring as a solo musician
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jerry Butler talks about his songwriting work with Curtis Mayfield
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jerry Butler discusses the importance of owning the rights to his own songs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Jerry Butler talks about the management of his solo career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jerry Butler describes his ambitions as a solo performer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jerry Butler describes the music scene in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jerry Butler comments on being influenced by Nat Cole and others
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jerry Butler talks about the decline of Vee-Jay Records
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jerry Butler describes the start and success of Vee-Jay Records
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jerry Butler describes the potential for Vee-Jay Records to have grown bigger than Motown
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jerry Butler talks about Ewart Abner's departure from Vee-Jay Records
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jerry Butler describes the origin of Queen Booking Company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jerry Butler talks about leaving Queen Booking Agency
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jerry Butler describes his relationship with Curtis Mayfield
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jerry Butler talks about meeting his new lawyer and manager, Bill Matheson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jerry Butler talks about Bill Mathewson finding unsigned contracts with Vee-Jay Records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jerry Butler talks about signing with Mercury Records in 1966
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jerry Butler describes his first recording with Mercury Records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jerry Butler describes meeting songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jerry Butler reflects upon working with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jerry Butler refers to his writing of 'I've Been Loving You Too Long' with Otis Redding
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Jerry Butler reflects on working with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jerry Butler talks about songwriting with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jerry Butler describes the differences between the "Philadelphia Sound" and the "Sounds of Chicago"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jerry Butler talks about his songwriting workshop at Mercury Records in 1969
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jerry Butler describes his Mercury Records contract
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jerry Butler talks about meeting Natalie Cole
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jerry Butler talks about Terry Callier
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jerry Butler describes his songwriting workshop
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jerry Butler describes his career at Motown Records
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jerry Butler describes his recording 'I Stand Accused'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jerry Butler describes recording 'I Stand Accused'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jerry Butler talks about singing with Patti LaBelle
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jerry Butler talks about meeting the guitarist Robert "Boogie" Bowles
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jerry Butler describes an encounter with Minister Louis Farrakhan
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jerry Butler recalls attending Dionne Warwick's birthday party with Don Cornelius
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jerry Butler talks about helping Don Cornelius launch 'Soul Train' nationwide
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jerry Butler reflects upon what he would have done differently in his music career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jerry Butler talks about his musical talent
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Jerry Butler shares his views on what makes a good performance
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jerry Butler talks about balancing music and his other occupations
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jerry Butler talks about his transition out of the music industry
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jerry Butler describes his entry into politics, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jerry Butler describes his entry into politics, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jerry Butler talks about his experience running for County Commissioner of Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jerry Butler describes what he has learned as a Cook County Commissioner
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jerry Butler talks about his plans for the future
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Jerry Butler talks about how he has been blessed
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Jerry Butler talks about the issues he has dealt with on the Cook County Board of Commissioners
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Jerry Butler reflects on his experience in the music industry
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Jerry Butler reflects on the current state of the music industry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Jerry Butler reflects on the current state of the music industry, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Jerry Butler describes the founding of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Jerry Butler describes the importance of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Jerry Butler talks about the legacy of Rhythm and Blues
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Jerry Butler reflects upon what his father would have thought of his career
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Jerry Butler reflects upon his legacy