The Impressions were an American soul group from Chicago, formed in 1958 and initially a singles act for Abner. Between 1963 and 1968, the band released a string of albums on ABC-Paramount, followed by a run of titles on Curtom over the subsequent eight-year period.
Members: Sam Gooden (vocals), Jerry Butler (vocals, 1958-60), Curtis Mayfield (vocals, 1958-70), Arthur Brooks (vocals, 1958-62), Richard Brooks (vocals, 1958-62), Fred Cash (vocals, 1960-present), Leroy Hutson (vocals, 1970-73), Reggie Torian (vocals, 1973-83), Ralph Johnson (vocals, 1973-76), Nate Evans (vocals, 1976-79)
The Impressions stemmed from a Chattanooga, Tenn., doo wop act called The Roosters, which featured singers Sam Gooden and brothers Richard and Arthur Brooks. In 1957, they relocated to Chicago, where there were joined by singers Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield. The following year, they signed to Vee-Jay Records and changed their name to Jerry Butler & the Impressions.
The group debuted with the 1958 single “For Your Precious Love” (b/w “Sweet Was the Wine”), issued on Vee-Jay’s short-lived Falcon imprint. Four singles followed on the label’s Abner division, including the R&B hit “Come Back My Love.” After Butler left for a solo career, Mayfield became the group’s new leader and songwriter. Singer Fred Cash rounded out the reconstituted five-piece.
In 1961, The Impressions signed to ABC-Paramount and issued their first post-Butler single, “Gypsy Woman” (R&B #2, Pop #20). A clutch of 1962 singles proved less successful, prompting the Brooks brother’s departure.
Now down to the trio of Mayfield, Gooden, and Cash, The Impressions linked with produced Johnny Pate on the 1963 single “It’s All Right” (R&B #1, Pop #4). Their first proper album, The Impressions, appeared that year on ABC. In 1964, they had another hit with “Keep On Pushing” from the album of the same name.
The Impressions’ signature song from this period, “People Get Ready,” appeared in 1965 on their namesake album. It has since been covered by a slew of artists, including Al Green, Aretha Franklin, The Persuasions, the Staple Singers, and in a duet between Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck. The group’s 1966 hit “Can’t Satisfy” drew comparisons to the Isley Brothers then-recent “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You),” forcing Mayfield to split credits with that song’s writers Holland-Dozier-Holland and Sylvia Moy.
- For Your Precious Love (1963 • The Impressions With Jerry Butler)
- The Impressions (1963)
- The Never Ending Impressions (1964)
- Keep On Pushing (1964)
- One by One (1965)
- People Get Ready (1965)
- Betty Everett and The Impressions (1966 • Betty Everett and The Impressions)
- Ridin’ High (1966)
- The Fabulous Impressions (1967)
- We’re a Winner (1967)
- This Is My Country (1968)
- The Versatile Impressions (1969)
- The Young Mods’ Forgotten Story (1969)
- Check Out Your Mind (1970)
- Times Have Changed (1972)
- Preacher Man (1973)
- Finally Got Myself Together (1974)
- Three the Hard Way (OST, 1974)
- First Impressions (1975)
- It’s About Time (1976)
- Loving Power (1976)
- Come to My Party (1979)
- Fan the Fire (1981)
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