Two For Tuesday: The Impressions

You’re getting a Two for Two for Tuesday today!

Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield met when they sang together in the same church choir in Chicago; Sam Gooden and brothers Richard and Arthur Brooks were a trio from Chattanooga who called themselves The Roosters. The Roosters relocated to Chicago and were soon joined by Mayfield and Butler, after which they renamed themselves Jerry Butler and The Impressions. Their first hit record, “For Your Precious Love,” came out in 1958 on the Vee Jay label and rose to #11 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart.

After their next single, “Come Back My Love,” Butler left to start a successful solo career. Mayfield took over as the lead singer and Fred Cash, who had been an original member of The Roosters, was re-added to bring the group back to five. This group had a hit in 1961 with the Mayfield-penned “Gypsy Woman,” which reached #20 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart.

By the end of 1962, the Brooks brothers had left the group, and The Impressions returned to Chicago as a trio. Working with producer Johnny Pate, they had their greatest success with 1963’s “It’s All Right,” which went to #4 on the Hot 100, #1 on the R&B chart, and was the group’s first gold record.

In 1964, the Impressions had another hit with “Keep On Pushing.” It was the first of Mayfield’s “Black Pride” compositions, and reached #10 on the Hot 100 (Billboard had, for a time, stopped publishing the R&B chart).

The Impressions had several other hits in the Sixties, including “Amen” (1964, #7), “People Get Ready” (1965, #3 R&B), “We’re A Winner” (1967, #1 R&B), and “Choice of Colors” (1969, #1 R&B). Mayfield left the group to go solo in 1970, replaced by Leroy Hutson. He left in 1973, and was replaced by Ralph Johnson and Reggie Torian. The Impressions had three Top 10 R&B singles after that, “Finally Got Myself Together (I’m A Changed Man)” (1974, #1), “Same Thing It Took” (1975, #3) and “Sooner Or Later” (1975, #3). They had one final Top 10 single in 1976, “Loving Power.”

Their most recent single is 2013’s “Rhythm!” They have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1991) and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame (2003).

The Impressions, your Two For Tuesday, March 6, 2018.

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