Jerry Lawson Of The Persuasions Passed Away At 75
Rest In Peace
The original singer of cult favorite a cappella group The Persuasions Jerry Lawson died on July 10, 2019 at 75 years old. According to longtime friend and collaborator Rip Rense, Lawson succumbed to death after a long illness at a hospice in Phoenix, Arizona.
Lawson co-founded The Persuasions in 1962 and fronted it for over thirty years. Often referred to as “The Kings of a Cappella”, they signed a record deal with Frank Zappa’s independent label back in 1968 and released their debut album two years later. They were known for their melodic five-part harmonies that fused jazz, rock ‘n roll, gospel, and soul. They went on to record for the next three decades and released over two dozen albums.
Bruce Springsteen opened for them in the ’70s and in 1979, they also opened for Joni Mitchell. In 2000, Lawson told Associate Press:
“Thirty-eight years and we still ain’t got no band, man! That’s the story right there.”
Aside from Frank Zappa who discovered them, they also have several famous fans including Rod Stewart, Boyz II Men, and the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. In a tribute by Stewart, he called Lawson “A true soul singer.” He also added that, “after working together at the Hurricane Katrina Benefit Concert, I admired the undeniable depth in Jerry’s big voice.”
Before his death, a documentary about Jerry Lawson was already in the works and it’s expected to be released some time this year.