An award-winning performer, producer and composer, and
one of the architects of Rhythm and Blues, Jerry "The Iceman"
Butler, has enjoyed a four-decade career that began when he and Curtis
Mayfield formed a rhythm and blues group,
Impressions, in Chicago in
1958. The same year, the 18-year old Butler wrote a song titled
"For Your Precious Love," which launched Butler and
Impressions. "For Your Precious Love" became a "landmark
recording," according to Rolling Stone, and the single, on VeeJay
Records, became the first for
Impressions to "go gold."
Jerry Butler, named "The Iceman" in
1959 by Philadelphia radio personality Georgia Woods for his "cool
as ice" delivery and debonair, effortless style (the name has
become so synonymous with Butler that he registered it) has had numerous
million sellers ("platinum") during his career: "For Your
Precious Love" with
Impressions (Veejay, 1958), "He Will
Break Your Heart (Veejay,1960), "Moon River" (VeeJay,1961),
"Never Gonna Give You Up," (Mercury, 1967); "Hey Western
Union Man" (Mercury, 1968), "Brand New Me," (Mercury,
1969), "Only The Strong Survive" (Mercury, 1969), "Ain't
Understanding Mellow" (Mercury, 1973).
Butler's CD, "Simply Beautiful," was
released on Valley Vue Records (Palm Springs, California). The
collection of nine new tracks of "quiet storm" material fits
perfectly into Valley Vue's Urban/Jazz lineup, according to Michael
Dion, vice-president and general manager, who is quoted as saying how
pleased they are to have a product by Butler, a major power in building
the music industry.
In addition to his recording credits, Jerry Butler
has hosted and appeared on a number of television variety specials,
including programs for PBS and the BBC: "Martin the
Emancipator," a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, "For Your
Precious Love," a Mother's Day Special, "The Tonight Show with
Johnny Carson," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "Soul
Train," "CBS Sunday Morning," "The Today Show,"
"Late Night with
Letterman," and "The 1994 Grammy Awards."
Nominated for three "Grammys" for singing
and composing, Jerry Butler is the recipient of numerous awards,
including several from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and
Publishers) for his songwriting and publishing work, two Billboard
magazine awards as a writer and artist, A CLIO Award for writing and
producing a commercial for Johnson Products Company; two Humanitarian
Awards and several BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) awards as a writer and
Jerry Butler was inducted into the Rock &
Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and into the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in
1994, where he currently serves on the Board of Directors (the only
politician to enjoy these honors), and served as co-host of the Rhythm
& Blues Foundation's 1995 Awards Ceremony.
It is on the fifth floor of downtown Chicago's Cook
County Building, down the hall from Mayor Daley, where "The
Iceman" is most officious, donning a dark suit and tie Mondays
through Fridays in place of his ubiquitous "performance"
dinner jacket and bow-tie. Butler, in his official capacity as a Cook
County Commissioner (there are 17 Commissioners for Cook County, which
consists of 5.2 million people in Chicago and its suburbs, the second
largest county in the United States), is responsible, along with the
other Commissioners, for making any laws, establishing any rules, and
setting policy for its operation as long as they are consistent with
state and federal law.
It is the duty of the Commissioner's office to
construct and approve the County's annual budget. Butler's smooth,
mellifluous baritone is instantly recognizable as he arranges a finance
meeting or deals with problems related to County government. Says
Butler, "I was first elected to public office in 1985; I entered
politics because I was very much influenced by the Civil Rights
The Iceman is far from meltdown. He still performs
most weekends of the year at supper clubs, concerts and music festivals
around the country.