JERRY LAWSON – long-time mainstay of a-cappella group, THE PERSUASIONS died on Wednesday 10th July in Phoenix. He was 75. His death was confirmed by his wife, Julie. She said that Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, had compromised Mr. Lawson’s immune system.
Jerome Lawson was born in Florida in 1944 but having relocated to New York he formed a vocal group with Joseph Russell, Herbert Rhoad and Jayotis Washington in Brooklyn in 1962. At first nameless, they eventually won a record contract as The Persuasions and went on to enjoy a measure of success mainly in the 70s when five of their LPs entered the Billboard top 100. Interestingly the group did not confine themselves to soul and R&B. Their repertoire crossed genres and indeed they worked with artists as diverse as Frank Zappa and Joni Mitchell.
In 2002 Lawson left the group and a few years later he joined a much younger group of San Francisco a-cappella singers. Named Jerry Lawson and the Talk of the Town. The new group released an album in 2007 and appeared on the NBC music competition show “The Sing-Off” in 2011. Known as one of soul’s great but undervalued voices, Jerry released his first and only solo album, ‘Just a Mortal Man,’ in 2015.
In addition to his wife of 44 years, Julie (Hurwitz) Lawson, Jerry is survived by his father; two daughters, Yvette and Wanda Lawson; and a grandson. Jayotis Washington is now the only surviving original Persuasion.