The Persuasions’ Jerry Lawson has died, it has been confirmed.
Lawson, who was the original lead singer for the a cappella group, was 75 years old. According to his friend and Persuasions producer Rip Rense, he died on July 10 “after a long illness” at a hospice in Phoenix.
The singer co-founded the group in Brooklyn in 1962. Six years later, they signed a record deal with Frank Zappa’s own label Straight and released their debut album ‘Acapella’ in 1970. They released 24 more albums before Lawson left in 2002, although a further three records featuring his voice were released after his departure.
Lawson released his first and only solo album ‘Just A Mortal Man’ in 2015. After quitting The Persuasions, he had moved to Arizona and begun working with disabled adults.
In 2004, he joined San Francisco a cappella group Talk Of The Town and, in 2008, the group worked on their own version of Dixie Chicks’ ‘I Hope’ – an ode to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.
A documentary about Lawson was already in the works before his death and is expected to be released later this year.
Lawson is survived by his wife Julie and his daughters, Yvette and Wanda. In a statement, his family confirmed there would be no funeral held, as per Lawson’s request.
Rod Stewart is among those who have paid tribute to the late singer. “After working together at the Hurricane Katrina Benefit Concert, I admired the undeniable depth in Jerry’s big voice,” he said in a statement. “A true soul singer.”