The Persuasions

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The Persuasions
The Persuasions in 1972
The Persuasions in 1972
Background information
OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
GenresA cappella
Years active
  • 1962–active
Past members
  • Jerry Lawson (deceased)
  • Jimmy Hayes (deceased)
  • Herbert (Toubo) Rhoad (deceased)
  • Joe Russell (deceased)
  • Jayotis Washington
  • Raymond Sanders

The Persuasions were an American a cappella group that began singing together in Brooklyn, New York in the mid-1960s.

The Persuasions were formed in Brooklyn in 1962, singing a cappella under corner streetlights and in subway corridors. Their style combined gospel, soul, early rock and jazz into melodic five-part harmonies. Since being discovered by Frank Zappa, the Persuasions have recorded 23 albums to date.


The Persuasions appeared on such public affairs television shows as Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant on WNEW-TV and Like It Is on WABC-TV in 1968. Frank Zappa was responsible for the Persuasions' first LP, Acappella. He heard the Persuasions singing over the phone from a New Jersey record shop known as Stan's Square Records. The store's owner, Stan Krause, was the group's manager. Before that time, the Persuasions had recorded several a cappella tracks for Krause's record label, Catamount Records. Zappa appreciated soul and street corner style singing, and after hearing the group, flew them to Los Angeles to record their first album. The Persuasions were the opening act at the Mothers concerts at Carnegie Hall, 1971. Thirty years later, Zappa fan Rip Rense supervised and encouraged the group in creating a Persuasions tribute CD to Zappa, Frankly A Cappella on Earthbeat Records. In 1990, the Persuasions performed on the PBS TV special Spike Lee & Company – "Do It A Cappella". The Persuasions later recorded tribute albums consisting of material by the Grateful Dead (Might as Well), and the Beatles (The Persuasions sing the Beatles)

Herbert "Toubo" Rhoad, one of the original members of the Persuasions, died in 1988 while on tour. Raymond Sanders came in as an additional voice.

Sweet Joe Russell died in 2012.

Bass singer James Caldon Hayes died in May 2017.

Jerry Lawson died in July 2019.

Jayotis Washington currently resides in Brooklyn New York.

Groups as varied as Take 6, Rockapella, the Nylons, and Boyz II Men cite the Persuasions as major influences.


Founding members[edit]

Other members[edit]


In the liner notes to the 2003 album, A Cappella Dreams, the group revealed their musical influences:

In popular culture[edit]

Steven Spielberg included the Persuasions' cover of Papa Oom Mow Mow in his film E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.[9]



  • Stardust (1969 Catamount, CD reissue Relic)
  • Acappella (1970 Reprise/Straight)
  • We Came To Play (1971 Capitol, CD reissue Collectables)[10]
  • Street Corner Symphony (1971 Capitol, CD reissue Collectables)
  • Spread the Word (1972 Capitol, CD reissue Collectables)
  • We Still Ain't Got No Band (1973 MCA)
  • I Just Want To Sing With My Friends (1974; A&M (not yet issued on CD))
  • More Than Before (1974; A&M (not yet issued on CD))
  • Chirpin' (1977; Elektra, CD reissue Collectables)
  • Comin' At Ya (1979; Rounder/Flying Fish)
  • Good News (1982; Rounder)
  • No Frills (1985; Rounder)
  • Do It A Cappella (1990; Elektra)
  • Live in the Whispering Gallery (1993; Hammer n' Nails)
  • Toúbo's Song (1993; Hammer n' Nails)
  • Ships at Sea, Sailors and Shoes (with Ned Sublette & Lawrence Weiner) (1993; Qbadisc/Excellent)
  • Right Around the Corner (1994; Rounder/Bullseye Blues)
  • Sincerely (1996; Rounder/Bullseye Blues)
  • You're All I Want For Christmas (1997; Rounder/Bullseye Blues)
  • Man, Oh Man: The Power of the Persuasions (1997; EMI )(1970-72 Capitol masters compilation)
  • On the Good Ship Lollipop (1999; Rhino/Kid Rhino/Music for Little People)
  • Frankly A Cappella: The Persuasions Sing Zappa (2000; Rhino/EarthBeat)
  • Might As Well...The Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead (2000; Arista/Grateful Dead)
  • Sunday Morning Soul (2000; Rounder/Bullseye Blues)
  • Blue's Big Musical Movie (2000; Rhino/Kid Rhino)
  • The Persuasions Sing the Beatles (2002; Chesky)
  • A Cappella Dreams (2003; Chesky)
  • The Persuasions Sing U2 (2005; Chesky)
  • Collectables Classics (2006; Collectables (Box set containing all 1971, 1972, & 1977 releases)
  • Essential Recordings: A Cappella Soul (2008; Rounder (1979-86 Rounder/Flying Fish/Bullseye Blues compilation))
  • The Persuasions Live at McCabe's (2009; Rensart)
  • Knockin' On Bob's Door (2010; Zoho)
  • Ladies and Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies and The Persuasions (with Barenaked Ladies) (2017; Vanguard)

Non-album singles[edit]

  • "Party in the Woods" written by Jerry Lawson/"It's Better to Have Loved and Lost" (1968; Minit)
  • "One Thing on My Mind"/"Darlin'" (1975; A&M)

Guest appearances[edit]

The following various artists recordings contained otherwise unissued Persuasions recordings:

  • Various Artists: Bread & Roses: Festival of Acoustic Music (1979; Fantasy)
  • Various Artists: Spike & Co. Do It A Cappella ((soundtrack) (1990; Elektra)
  • Ned Sublette & Lawrence Weiner (with Kim Weston, Junior Mance, et al.): Monsters from the Deep (1997; Qbadisc/Excellent)


  1. ^ "Jerry Lawson, leader of a cappella Persuasions, dies at 75". Archived from the original on 2019-07-12. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  2. ^ "R.I.P. legendary Persuasions' singer Jimmy Hayes". May 19, 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Mr. Jimmy "Bro" Hayes - Obituary". Petersburg, Virginia. Retrieved 2017-05-26.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "'Sweet Joe' Russell dies at 72; singer with the Persuasions". Los Angeles Times. May 13, 2012.
  5. ^ "Tribute to Joe Russell of The Persuasions". YouTube. May 9, 2012. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12.
  6. ^ Rock, Doc. "The Dead Rock Stars Club - 2012 January To June". Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  7. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2019-09-08. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  8. ^ "Herbert (Toubo) Rhoad, Singer, 44". The New York Times. December 15, 1988.
  9. ^ "The Persuasions - Entertainment Booking Agency".
  10. ^ Pitilli, Lawrence (2016). Doo-Wop Acappella: A Story of Street Corners, Echoes, and Three-Part Harmonies. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 167. ISBN 9781442244306.

External links[edit]