Only the Strong Survive: Memoirs of a Soul Survivor

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Indiana University Press, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages

Jerry Butler's Only the Strong Survive presents a portrait of a remarkable performer, as well as an up-close and personal look at the world of rhythm-and-blues. Filled with intimate anecdotes about such R&B legends as Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield, Patti LaBelle, Sam Cook, and Dionne Warwick, Butler's compelling, sometimes hilarious, narrative is told against the backdrop of 1960s America. Only the Strong Survive, as told to Earl Smith, is an autobiography; but more than that, it is history. Drawing on countless conversations and interviews with Butler and others, Smith chronicles the "Iceman's" journey from rural Mississippi to Chicago, and the founding and eventual breakup of the legendary Impressions vocal group.

Currently serving his fourth term on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, Butler also gives us a glimpse inside the world of Chicago politics. He shares stories of Harold Washington, Chicago's first African American mayor, and others, including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Only the Strong Survive is an entertaining, moving chronicle of one of America's music pioneers.

 

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dear mr butler i relly like your song love it not like!i have class four cancer metastic that has gone to my brain im on a brain study at the dana farber clinic in Boston but i always listen to your song only ythe strong survive!!! So true im being trong i listen all the time thank you Ellie Elias 

Contents

The Beginning
3
Starting Over in Sweet Home Chicago
11
Learning the Basics
16
Reality Sets In
24
Whats in a Name?
49
Coming Apart
70
Picking Up the Pieces
75
Learning Experiences
84
Kill or Be Killed
157
Changing the World with a Song
163
Youve Got What It Takes
187
Summing Up
213
Epilogue
234
Notes
239
Bibliography
245
Discography
247

Making My Mark
95
A Little Help from My Friends
118
The Producers
147

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About the author (2004)

An award-winning performer, producer, and composer, and one of the architects of Rhythm-and-Blues, Jerry "The Iceman" Butler has enjoyed a musical career spanning more than 40 years that produced over 50 albums, numerous hit songs, and three Grammy Award nominations. Butler is now in his fifth term as a Cook County Commissioner in Chicago, Illinois.

Earl Smith, a veteran journalist and Chicago resident, has worked for the Associated Press, Jet magazine, and the Chicago Defender. He is also the founder and editor of Today's Traveler magazine.

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