PHOENIX (CelebrityAccess) – Jerry Lawson, lead singer of the eclectic cult-favorite a cappella group the Persuasions, has passed away at the age of 75.
Lawson died Wednesday at a Phoenix hospice after a long illness.
The Persuasions began as “a casual and nameless collection of singers on the basketball courts and front stoops of Brooklyn in 1962,” according to The Associated Press. Lawson’s smooth baritone led the group, who got their big break when Frank Zappa signed them to his independent label in 1969, through 25 albums across the rock, blues, gospel and pop genres, all recorded with no sound other than their own voices.
Over the course of the next four decades, The Persuasions performed with everyone from Liza Minnelli to Joni Mitchell to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and covered the songs of Motown, Sam Cooke and Paul Simon.
Lawson left the group in 2002. A few years later he joined a group of San Francisco acapella singers that had based themselves on the Persuasions to form “Jerry Lawson and the Talk of the Town.” The group released an album, co-produced by Lawson and wife Julie, in 2007. In 2015, Lawson also released his only solo album, Just a Mortal Man.
A documentary on Lawson is in the works and is expected to be released later this year.
He is survived by his wife. At his request, no funeral will be held, his family said in a statement.