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The Impressions (1958)

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The Impressions are an American music group from Chicago, originally formed in 1958. Their repertoire includes doo-wop, gospel, soul, and R&B.

The group was founded as The Roosters by Chattanooga, Tennessee natives Sam Gooden, Richard Brooks, and Arthur Brooks, who moved to Chicago and added Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield to their line-up to become
Jerry Butler & the Impressions. By 1962, Butler and the Brookses had departed, and after switching to ABC-Paramount Records, Mayfield, Gooden, and new Impression Fred Cash collectively became a top-selling soul act. Mayfield left the group for a solo career in 1970; Leroy Hutson, Ralph Johnson,
Reggie Torian, Sammy Fender, and Nate Evans were among the replacements who joined Gooden and Cash. Inductees into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, The Impressions are best known for their 1960s string of hits, many of which were heavily influenced by gospel music and served as inspirational anthems for the Civil Rights Movement.They are also 1998 Grammy Hall of Fame Inductees for their hit,
People Get Ready , and are winners of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Pioneer Award .


 Early years
Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield met while singing in the same Chicago church choir. After singing in a number of local gospel groups, the two of them joined a doo-wop group called "The Roosters" in 1957, whose members included Chattanooga, Tennessee natives Sam Gooden, Richard Brooks, and his brother Arthur Brooks. By 1958, The Roosters had a new manager in Eddie Thomas, a record deal with Vee-Jay Records, and a new name: "Jerry Butler & the Impressions".

The group's first hit single was 1958's "For Your Precious Love", which hit #11 on the US pop charts and #3 on the R&B charts. However, soon after the release of the R&B Top 30 hit "Come Back My Love", Butler left the group to go on to a successful solo career. After briefly touring with the now-solo Butler as his guitarist, Curtis Mayfield became the group's new lead singer and songwriter, and Fred Cash, a returning original Roosters member, was appointed as the new fifth member.

 ABC-Paramount Records success
Mayfield wrote a number of Butler's early solo hits, and used the money to get The Impressions to move to Chicago, Illinois. There, they got a new deal with ABC-Paramount Records in 1961, and released their first post-Butler single. That single, "Gypsy Woman", was their biggest single to date, hitting #2 on the R&B charts and #20 on the pop chart. Successive singles failed to match "Gypsy Woman"'s success, and Richard and Arthur Brooks ended up leaving the group in 1962.

The Impressions returned to Chicago as a trio, and soon aligned themselves with producer Johnny Pate, who helped to update their sound and create a more lush soul sound for the group. The result was "It's All Right", a 1963 million-selling gold single that topped the R&B charts and made it to #4 on the pop charts, and became one of the group's signature songs. "It's All Right" and "Gypsy Woman" were the anchors of The Impressions' first LP, 1963's The Impressions.

1964 brought the first of Mayfield's Black pride anthem compositions, "Keep on Pushing", which became a Top 10 smash on both the Billboard Pop and R&B charts, peaking at #10 Pop.It was the title cut from the album of the same name, Keep On Pushing, which also reached the Top 10 on both charts. Future Mayfield compositions would feature an increasingly social and political awareness, including the following year's major hit and the group's best-known song, the gospel-influenced "People Get Ready", which hit #3 on the R&B charts and #14 on the pop charts.

 Increasing social consciousness
In the mid-1960s, The Impressions, were compared with Motown acts such as The Temptations, The Miracles, and The Four Tops. After 1965's "Woman's Got Soul", and the #7 pop hit "Amen", The Impressions failed to reach the R&B Top Ten for three more years, finally scoring in 1968 with the #9 "I Loved and Lost". "We're a Winner", which hit #1 on the R&B charts that same year, represented a new level of social awareness in Mayfield's music. Mayfield created his own label, Curtom, and moved The Impressions to the label. Over the next two years, more Impressions message tracks, including the #1 R&B hit "Choice of Colors" and the #3 "Check Out Your Mind" , became big hits for the group.

It should also be noted that 'The Impressions' were a huge influence on Bob Marley and The Wailers and other ska/rocksteady groups in Jamaica: The Wailers modelled their singing/harmony style on them and in part borrowed their look, too. There are many covers of Impressions songs by The Wailers, including 'Keep On Moving', 'Long Long Winter' and 'Just Another Dance'. Pat Kelly covered 'Soulful Love' and The Heptones covered 'I've Been Trying'. No doubt the social consciousness of Curtis Mayfield's lyrics appealed as well as the spectacular harmonies.

 After Mayfield's departure
After the release of the Check Out Your Mind LP in 1970, Mayfield left the group and began a successful solo career, the highlight of which was writing and producing the Super Fly soundtrack. After his success with this soundtrack, he collaborated on the soundtracks of Claudine , Sparkle , and A Piece of the Action . He continued to write and produce for The Impressions, who remained on Curtom. Leroy Hutson was the first new lead singer for the group following Mayfield's departure, but success eluded The Impressions, and Hutson left the group in 1973.

 Later years, awards, and accolades

New members Ralph Johnson and Reggie Torian replaced Hutson, and The Impressions had three R&B Top 5 singles in 1974–1975: the #1 "Finally Got Myself Together (I'm a Changed Man)" , and the #3 singles "Same Thing it Took" and "Sooner or Later". In 1976, The Impressions left Curtom and Mayfield behind for Cotillion Records, and had their final major hit with "Loving Power". The same year, Ralph Johnson was replaced by Nate Evans, who remained in the group for three years, during which time The Impressions switched to 20th Century Records. Singles and albums sales continued to slip, and Evans left in 1979, reducing the group to a trio. The album Fan the Flames, was released in 1981.

Reggie Torian left in 1983. Ralph Johnson rejoined that year, as well as new member Vandy Hampton. This lineup recorded with Eric Clapton on his Reptile album. There is also a new album that released called A Tribute to the Memory of Curtis Mayfield. On August 14, 1990, Mayfield was severely injured when lighting equipment fell on him during an on-stage performance. Paralyzed from the neck down, he could no longer play and could barely sing. He eventually was able to make a brief, well-received, comeback in 1997 with his album New World Order. He died in Roswell, Georgia, on December 26, 1999, at the age of 57.

The Impressions were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003. The members who got to take part in this honor, as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, were Sam Gooden, Jerry Butler, Richard Brooks, Curtis Mayfield, Arthur Brooks, and Fred Cash.

Johnson left in 2001, was replaced by Willie Kitchens. This lineup was featured on the PBS specials R&B 40 and Soul and Inspiration. Hampton was released in 2003; he died in 2005. Reggie Torian later returned, replacing Kitchens. The Impressions recorded a tribute album to Curtis Mayfield in 2000, which was released by Edel America. In 2008, Universal Music & ip O Records released Movin' On Up - the first-ever video compilation of The Impressions, featuring brand new interviews with original Impressions members Sam Gooden and Fred Cash, along with taped interviews with the late Curtis Mayfield and video performances of the group's greatest hits and several of Mayfield's solo hits.The group's first million-selling hit song "For Your Precious Love" , featuring original lead singer Jerry Butler on lead, is ranked #327 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time),and their hit People Get Ready is ranked #24 on that same list.Also,The Impressions' album/CD The Anthology 1961–1977 is ranked at #179 on Rolling
Stone Magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Their 1965 hit song, "People Get Ready", has also been chosen as one of the Top 10 Best Songs Of All Time by a panel of 20 top industry songwriters and producers, including Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Hal David, and others, as reported to Britain's Mojo music magazine.

Show more



Name Duration Released
The Look Of Love 00:00 1969
Wherever You Leadeth Me 02:32 1969
Just Before Sunrise 00:00 1969
The Girl I Find 02:37 1969
This Is The Life 00:00 1969
Choice of Colors 03:15 1969
Yesterday 00:00 1969
The Young Mods' Forgotten Story 02:00 1969
Soulful Love 02:30 1969
Once In A Lifetime 00:00 1969
Oo You're A Livin' Doll 00:00 1969
Jealous Man 02:34 1969
East Of Java 00:00 1969
Love's Miracle 02:24 1969
Sermonette 00:00 1969
Seven Years 02:21 1969
Don't Cry, My Love 00:00 1969
My Deceiving Heart 02:49 1969
I'm Gettin Ready 02:31 1968
You Want Somebody Else 03:12 1968
Let Me Tell the World 03:16 1968
We're Rolling On, Pt. 1 00:00 1968
Gone Away 03:41 1968
Moonlight Shadows 03:11 1968
Up, Up and Away 03:17 1968
Love's Happening 03:07 1968
We're a Winner 02:25 1968
Romancing to the Folk Song 02:35 1968
I'm Loving Nothing 02:31 1968
I Loved & I Lost 02:31 1968
Stay Close to Me 02:03 1968
Little Brown Boy 02:44 1968
They Don't Know 02:47 1968
Fool for You 02:52 1968
No One to Love 02:31 1968
My Woman Love 03:02 1968
Nothing Can Stop Me 03:16 1968
So Unusual 02:56 1968
You Ought to Be in Heaven 02:46 1967
Love's a Comin' 02:30 1967
One Hundred Pounds of Clay 02:22 1967
Little Girl 02:30 1967
It's All Over 03:11 1967
I'm Still Waitin' 03:00 1967
You Always Hurt Me 02:16 1967
Isle of the Sirens 03:02 1967
Aware of Love 02:31 1967
I Can't Stay Away from You 02:46 1967
No one Else 00:00 1966
Gotta Get Away 00:00 1966
I Need to Belong to Someone 00:00 1966
Right on Time 00:00 1966
I Need a Love 00:00 1966
Too Slow 00:00 1966
Man's Temptation 00:00 1966
Let it be Me 00:00 1966
That's What Mama Say 00:00 1966
Ridin' High 00:00 1966
Woman's Got Soul 00:00 02/1965
Hard to Believe 00:00 02/1965
I've Found Out That I've Lost 00:00 02/1965
People Get Ready 00:00 02/1965
Can't Work No Longer 00:00 02/1965
Just Another Dance 00:00 02/1965
We're in Love 00:00 02/1965
Sometimes I Wonder 00:00 02/1965
Get up and Move 00:00 02/1965
Emotions (Won't You Let Me Cry) 00:00 02/1965
See the Real Me 00:00 02/1965
Mona Lisa 02:28 1965
Nature Boy 02:24 1965
My Prayer 02:58 1965
I Wanna Be Around 02:15 1965
Falling in Love With You 02:56 1965
Twilight Time 02:17 1965
Without a Song 03:18 1965
It's Not Unusual 02:20 1965
Answer Me, My Love 02:43 1965
I Want to Be With You 03:17 1965
Just One Kiss From You 02:37 1965
Keep on Pushing 00:00 07/1964
Talking About My Baby 00:00 07/1964
I Thank Heaven 00:00 07/1964
Amen 00:00 07/1964
Somebody Help Me 00:00 07/1964
Long Long Winter 00:00 07/1964
Dedicate My Song to You 00:00 07/1964
I Made a Mistake 00:00 07/1964
I Ain't Supposed To 00:00 07/1964
I Love You 00:00 07/1964
I've Been Trying 00:00 07/1964
Don't Let it Hide 00:00 07/1964
Girl You Don't Know Me 00:00 1964
Satin Doll 00:00 1964
Ten to One 00:00 1964
Little Boy Blue 00:00 1964
Lemon Tree 00:00 1964
Sister Love 00:00 1964
September Song 00:00 1964
I'm So Proud 00:00 1964
That's What Love Will Do 00:00 1964
You Always Hurt the One You Love 00:00 1964
I Gotta Keep on Moving 00:00 1964
Never Let Me Go 00:00 08/1963
You've Come Home 00:00 08/1963
Little Young Lover 00:00 08/1963
Grow Closer Together 00:00 08/1963
Gypsy Woman 00:00 08/1963
As Long as You Love Me 00:00 08/1963
It's All Right 00:00 08/1963
Sad, Sad Girl and Boy 00:00 08/1963
I'm the One Who Loves You 00:00 08/1963
Minstrel and Queen 00:00 08/1963




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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "The Impressions", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.