Thursday, February 3, 2022

Artists of the Month: Jerry Butler and Betty Everett

My first exposure to Jerry "The Iceman" Butler came from a K-Tel commercial for an album called Superbad  in 1973 that I saw when I was a kid. I didn't know much about him at the time.  It wasn't until I was much older that I became a fan.

Although Jerry Butler was born in Mississippi, he moved with his family to Chicago in 1941, and grew up in the  Cabrini Green housing projects. It was in church where he met Curtis Mayfield. Together, in 1958, they joined with three other singers to form "Jerry Butler and the Impressions." After leaving the group a couple of years later, Jerry Butler went solo and received the moniker "The Iceman" from a Philadelphia DJ, to highlight his cool, baritone voice. The name stuck.

Betty Everett, too, was born in Mississippi. At the age of 18, she moved to Chicago in 1957 to pursue a music career. In 1964, she produced a hit single. You probably know it, because it has been covered by many people including Linda Ronstadt and Cher.  Throughout the 60s, she and Jerry Butler recorded several duets, and had a hit single "Let It Be Me" in 1964.


Betty Everett continued recording through the 70s, and made several appearances in the 80s and 90s. She died in 2001 at the age of 61 in her home in Beloit, Wisconsin.  Jerry Butler continued recording for the next several decades, but in the mid-80s made a leap into Chicago politics. He recently retired as a Cook County Board Commissioner. He resides in Chicago to this day.

Both Jerry Butler and Betty Everett were at the top of their games in the 60s, and often appeared with the other greats in Soul Music. Whereas Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and others still get radio play on oldies stations, Jerry Butler and Betty Everett have been left out. They remain perhaps the greatest underrated artists of their generation and deserve much more recognition.

This month, we are featuring the music of both Betty Everett and Jerry Butler. During the second week of February, we will be playing tracks live in the Retro Music Station during passing periods in the ARC. Come down and take a listen.

Also, click on our Spotify playlist to immerse yourself in some seriously good Soul music of the 60s.

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My Top Songs from Jerry Butler and Betty Everett:

5. "He Will Break Your Heart" by Jerry Butler. Although the first version I heard was by Tony Orlando in Dawn, Jerry Butler's version is the first, and best. 

4. "The Shoop Shoop Song [It's in His Kiss]" by Betty Everett. How can anyone not like this song? This is Everett's signature song.

3. "Let it Be Me" by Jerry Butler and Betty Everett. This was the first duet from Butler and Everett, and the best. Although this song has been covered many, many times, I really love this version.

2. "Make It Easy on Yourself" by Jerry Butler. This is my favorite---hands down---Jerry Butler tune. This song truly highlights his voice.

1. "Until You Were Gone" by Betty Everett. This song should have been more popular. It is a heartbreaking song, made more heartbreaking by Betty Everett's amazing vocals. Simply the best.







1 comment:

  1. I always love to read about music, your article is great. Really looking forward to your new posts. I was also wondering to know the lifestyle and networth of these music singers and found a website vermoegenet.de.

    ReplyDelete