Only the Strong Survive

Only the Strong Survive

Memoirs of a Soul Survivor
Jerry Butler and Earl Smith
Distribution: World
Publication date: 02/20/2004
Format: Paperback 41 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-21704-2
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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.

Author Bio

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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Table of Contents


Part I: The Early Years
1. The Beginning
2. Starting Over
3. The Formative Years: Learning the Basics
4. Reality Sets In
Part II: The Vee Jay Years
5. What's in a Name?
6. Coming Apart
7. Picking Up the Pieces
8. Learning Experiences
9. Making My Mark
10. With a Little Help from My Friends
Part III: The Mercury Years
11. The Producers
12. A Changing World
13. Changing the World with a Song
Part IV: The Motown Years and Beyond
14. You've Got What It Takes
Part V: The Political Years
15. Summing Up