Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images
Jerry Lawson, Co-Founder Of "Kings Of A Capella" The Persuasions, Dies At 75
Jerry Lawson, original lead singer of a cappella group the Persuasions, has died "after a long illness" according to Associated Press and collaborator and frend Rip Rense. He was 75.
As the group's original lead singer, Lawson formed the Persuasions in Brooklyn in 1962. Six years later they signed a record deal with Frank Zappa in 1968 and released their debut LP Acapella on Zappa's Straight label in 1970. Bruce Springsteen opened for the Persuasions in the early 1970s, and opened for Joni Mitchell in 1979 the group continued to record and tour over the next 30 years, and were known by their fans as "The Kings Of a Cappella."
"Thirty-eight years and we still ain't got no band, man!" Lawson said in a 2000 interview. "That's the story right there."
The Persuasions influence continues to resonate. Jamie xx sampled the group’s “Good Times” from 1972’s Street Corner Symphony for his song “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times).” from 2015's In Colour. That same year, at age 71, Lawson released his first solo album, Just A Mortal Man.
RIP: Jerry Lawson.
He recorded this nice version of my song.https://t.co/RHeeBcHVmU
— Billy Vera (@billybeater) July 11, 2019
"They've never gotten their due," Rense said. "They're the greatest, most enduring American a cappella group. In another country like Japan they'd be declared a living treasure."
A documentary on Lawson is in production and expected to be released later this year. He is survived by his wife and two daughter, and his memory lives on in the music he made.