Jerry Lawson (musician)

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Jerry Lawson
Birth nameJerome Eugene Lawson
Born(1944-01-23)January 23, 1944
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
OriginApopka, Florida
DiedJuly 10, 2019(2019-07-10) (aged 75)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
GenresA cappella, pop, soul, blues-rock, gospel, R&B, jazz, rock standards
Occupation(s)Singer, musical arranger, performer, producer
Years active1969–2019

Jerome Eugene Lawson (January 23, 1944 – July 10, 2019) was an American singer, producer, musical arranger, performer, best known as the original lead singer of The Persuasions.

Born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he was raised in Apopka, Florida. He resided in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife, Julie.


Jerry Lawson is the original lead singer, arranger & producer of the a cappella group The Persuasions. In the 1970s, with Jerry Lawson on lead vocals, the Persuasions had five albums in the Billboard Top 100, four of which were in The Billboard 200:

  • We Came to Play #32 Billboard R&B (1971) Billboard 200 (#189)
  • Spread the Word #40 Billboard R&B (1972) Billboard 200 (#195)
  • Street Corner Symphony #16 Billboard R&B (1972) Billboard 200 (#88)
  • We Still Ain't Got No Band #49 Billboard R&B (1973) Billboard 200 (#178)
  • More Than Before #52 Billboard R&B (1974)

In 2000, Lawson, along with the rest of the Persuasions performed in the Blue's Clues film Blue's Big Musical Movie.

Beyond The Persuasions[edit]

In 2003 after four decades and 22 albums, Lawson had what he calls a calling and he left the Persuasions. He and his wife moved to Arizona, vowing that his a cappella days were over (though fate would intervene). He got his first day job in 40 years and began working with developmentally disabled adults while his wife worked tirelessly to establish Jerry as a solo artist. He began to work with jazz combos and big bands, and eventually made plans to record with The Moscow Philharmonic. He was finally living out some of his dreams that were on the back burner while working hard to keep the dying art of a cappella alive.

In 2004, Lawson was introduced to 4 of the members of the San Francisco-based a cappella group Talk of the Town (Rayfield Ragler, Stan Lockwood, Paul Carrington and Carl Douglas). As fate would have it Talk of The Town had spent 35 years studying Lawson's recordings and wishing they had a lead singer like Jerry. Upon his wife's urging, he finally decided that it was no accident that he intersected with these well seasoned vocalists. Lawson became lead singer for the group. He was so impressed with their rendition of "Paper Doll" by The Mills Brothers that he and his wife were compelled to join with these vocalists to produce what Lawson considers to be the masterpiece of his a cappella career.

In 2007 they independently released Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town.[1] While certainly reminiscent of the Persuasions, the sound of TOTT was noticeably different, with more focus on a single lead singer and a smoother tighter group harmony backing Lawson's gruff leads. The album features several guest performers including former Rockapella lead singer Sean Altman, Jerry's daughter Yvette Lawson singing lead on track 8 and his wife, manager and co producer Julie closes the CD with Jerry & TOTT summing up a bit of their 34 years together on track 20.

In response to Hurricane Katrina, Jerry Lawson performed with Rod Stewart in the Katrina Benefit Telecast, September 9, 2005.[2]

Since 2007, one of the most requested videos on children's television network Noggin has been Jerry's video of "I'm Glad", which he first recorded with the Persuasions, and performed for Noggin with Talk of the Town.[3]

In 2008, during the US presidential campaign, Lawson teamed up again with Talk of the Town to record a re-working of the Dixie Chicks' song I Hope (a song which had appeared with the song's original lyrics on the Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town album) as a tribute to then presidential candidate Barack Obama.[4]

In 2009, Lawson collaborated with singer/songwriter James Power on a tribute recording to gospel legend Reverend Claude Jeter of the Swan Silvertones, on a track titled "The Man in Room 1009".[5]

In 2010, Lawson appeared in a documentary titled "A Lesson in A Cappella", by filmmaker/director Keith Lewis, on the art of a cappella music. In this documentary, Jerry discusses the evolution and future of the musical art form, as well as performing several a cappella songs. His performances are with Talk of the Town, with a bonus feature with James Power.[6]

In 2011, Lawson and Talk of the Town were invited to participate in season 2 of the NBC television series The Sing-Off.[7] In season 3, Lawson was invited back and featured on the Christmas special singing lead on "Sweet Soul Music" with members of the cast.[8]

In 2013, Lawson teamed up with Arizona hip-hop artist, VaeeDaBoi to release a new single entitled, "Deep Love". This single was released July 15, 2013.

In 2015, Lawson's solo debut, Just a Mortal Man, was released on the Red Beet Records label. The album features full band recordings under Lawson's name for the first time. Produced by Lawson and Nashville artist and label owner Eric Brace, Just a Mortal Man was recorded in Phoenix, Nashville, and Washington D.C., and includes songs by David Ruffin, Paul Simon, Brace, and many more. (One song, "Woman in White," is a co-write with Lawson and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.)

He died in Phoenix, Arizona on July 10, 2019 from Guillain–Barré syndrome, at age 75.[9][10]

In February of 2022 "Just A Mortal Man, The Jerry Lawson Story" a feature length documentary produced by Miles Merritt and Gail Kempler, premiered nationwide on PBS.


Jerry Lawson (with The Persuasions)

  • 1969 - The Persuasions Acappella
  • 1970 - We Came To Play
  • 1971 - Street Corner Symphony
  • 1972 - Spread The Word
  • 1974 - I Just Want To Sing With My Friends
  • 1977 - Chirpin'
  • 1979 - Comin' At Ya
  • 1982 - Good News
  • 1984 - No Frills
  • 1988 - Live in the Whispering Gallery
  • 1993 - Toubo's Song
  • 1993 - Ships at Sea, Sailors and Shoes [with Ned Sublette & Lawrence Weiner]
  • 1994 - Right Around the Corner
  • 1994 - Stardust (reissue)
  • 1996 - Sincerely
  • 1997 - Man, Oh Man: The Power of The Persuasions (1970–72 Capitol masters compilation)
  • 1997 - You're All I Want for Christmas
  • 1999 - On the Good Ship Lollipop
  • 2000 - Sunday Morning Soul
  • 2000 - Frankly A Cappella: The Persuasions Sing Frank Zappa
  • 2000 - Might As Well... The Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead
  • 2002 - The Persuasions Sing the Beatles
  • 2003 - A Cappella Dreams
  • 2009 - The Persuasions Live At McCabes
  • 2011 - Persuasions of the Dead (expanded 2 cd reissue of Might As Well)

Jerry Lawson (solo)

  • 2003 - "Born to Run" from A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen (with Jimmy Hayes)[11]
  • 2007 - Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town[12]
  • 2009 - "The Man in Room 1009" (with James Power)[13]
  • 2009 - Thank You from Gravity at Last (with Ayo)
  • 2010 - "Hallelujah Time" from The Milroys (with John & CJ Milroy)
  • 2015 - Just a Mortal Man


  1. ^ "Jerry Lawson Talk of the Town". Jerry Lawson Talk of the Town. Archived from the original on 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  2. ^ "Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town with Rod Stewart". YouTube. 2005-09-09. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  3. ^ "Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town-I'm So Glad (I've Got Skin)". YouTube. 2007-09-16. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  4. ^ "Obama Tribute – Jerry Lawson – Talk of the Town". YouTube. 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
  5. ^ "Jerry Lawson & James Power - The Man in Room 1009 (Rev. Claude Jeter) HD". YouTube. 2009-05-31. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  6. ^ "A Lesson In A Cappella (The Documentary)". YouTube. 2010-04-14. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
  7. ^ "Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
  8. ^ Video on YouTube
  9. ^ "Jerry Lawson, leader of a cappella Persuasions, dies at 75". Archived from the original on 2019-07-12. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  10. ^ "Jerry Lawson, Leader Singer of the Persuasions, Is Dead at 75". The New York Times. July 12, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  11. ^ "Born To Run (Cover Version): Jerry Lawson and Jimmy Hayes (From The Persuasions): MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  12. ^ "Jerry Lawson Talk of the Town". Jerry Lawson Talk of the Town. Archived from the original on 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  13. ^ "Jerry Lawson & James Power - The Man in Room 1009 (Rev. Claude Jeter) HD". YouTube. 2009-05-31. Retrieved 2010-06-27.

External links[edit]