The Ice Man Cometh
Butler to perform at Reynolds Auditorium
Jerry Butler, music’s “The Ice Man,” will be inducted into The Hit Parade Hall of Fame on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. at Reynolds Memorial Auditorium, 301 Hawthorne Road. Butler and 70s chart-topping R&B group Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes will be performing at the event.
Butler, a native of Sunflower, Miss., is an American singer, songwriter, author and politician. Butler is a 1991 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and emeritus chairman of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. He currently serves as a Commissioner for Cook County, Ill. and is the longest serving commissioner in Cook County history.
Butler has lived in Chicago for 70 years. At age three, his family traveled North as part of a mass migration of blacks from the South. He began his professional singing career in the 1950s as the lead singer for The Impressions, a Chicago based group that topped the pop charts with “For Your Precious Love” in 1958. In 1959, he was dubbed “The Ice Man” by radio personality Georgie Woods for his debonair and effortless style.
Among The Impressions was 16-year-old songwriter and guitarist, Curtis Mayfield. Butler and Mayfield forged a close friendship and productive professional relationship that guided Butler’s success as a solo artist throughout the 60s. Butler’s voice became one of the most distinguished in all of music. After departing The Impressions, Butler’s first solo hit “He Will Break Your Heart” reached number one on the charts. In 1961, he had two top-ten singles, “Find Another Girl” and “I’m a Telling You.” In 1967, he teamed up with the production duo of Gamble and Huff. His work with the two producers and songwriters resulted in the hugely acclaimed album, “The Ice Man Cometh,” which produced two number-one singles, “Hey, Western Union Man” and “Only the Strong Survive,” and two top ten singles, “Never Give You Up” and “Are You Happy.”
In 1970, Butler founded the Jerry Butler Songwriters Workshop in Chicago. His second Gold single “Ain’t Understanding Mellow,” with Brenda Lee Eager, was a product of the workshop. By 1972, the workshop had generated $4 million in record sales and produced 30 chart singles recorded by the likes of The Dells, Isaac Hayes, Aretha Franklin, Oscar Brown Jr. and Betty Everette.
In 2000, Butler published his autobiography, “Only The Strong Survive.” Among his many honors are three Grammy nominations and two Billboard Magazine Awards.
The Hit Parade Hall of Fame awards artists’ special significance. Inductees are chosen by the general public. Nominees are required to meet certain criteria, including possessing at least two top 10 hits. Artists’ eligibility for being listed in The Hit Parade Hall of Fame expires if they are not inducted after three consecutive years of voting. More than 100 recording artists have been inducted since 2007.
This will be the first Hit Parade Hall of Fame induction ceremony held in North Carolina. Tickets begin at $48.80 and can be purchased at TicketMaster locations.