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the impressions

The Impressions

Formed in Chicago in 1958 (and originally known as the Roosters), the Impressions comprised, at various times, of:

Curtis Lee Mayfield (1958 - 1970) (b. 3rd June 1942, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. d. 26th December 1999, North Fulton Regional Hospital, Roswell, Georgia, U.S.A.)

Sam Gooden (1958 - 2002) (b. 2nd September 1939, Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A. d. 4th August 2002, Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.)

Fred Cash (1960 - present) (b. 8th October 1940, Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.)

Jerry Butler (1958 - 1960) (b. 8th December 1939, Sunflower, Mississippi, U.S.A.)

Arthur Brooks (1958 - 1962) (b. Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.)

Richard Brooks (1958 - 1962) (b. Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.)

Leroy Hutson (1970 - 1973) (b. 4th June 1945, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Ralph Johnson (1973 - 1976) (b. 1949, Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.A. d. 4th December 2016, Piedmont, California, U.S.A.)

Reggie Torian (1973 - 2016) (b. 22nd November 1950, Chicago Heights, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. d. 4th May 2016, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.)


Nate Evans (1976 - 1980)

Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler, initially, met in the choir of the Travelling Soul Spiritualists Church, from where they formed the Modern Jubilaires and Northern Jubilee Gospel Singers.

After separating for a short period, (Curtis Mayfield performing with the Alphatones), Jerry Butler (following a short lived stay with the group the Quails) joined Sam Gooden and Richard Brooks, and his brother Arthur Brooks in the doo-wop group, the Roosters.

Curtis Mayfield then joined the group as the guitarist.

The Impressions

top l to r: Jerry Butler, Sam Gooden, Richard Brooks.

below l to r: Arthur Brooks, Curtis Mayfield.

By 1958, The Roosters had enlisted a new manager in Eddie Thomas.

They signed a record deal with Vee-Jay Records, and adopted a new group name, Jerry Butler & the Impressions.

For Your Precious LoveSweet Was The Wine

for your precious love b/w sweet was the wine - 1958

Their first single was entitled 'For Your Precious Love', which reached number 11 on the U.S. pop charts and number 3 on the R&B charts.

Following the release of the R&B Top 30 hit 'Come Back My Love', he left the group to pursue solo career.

Curtis Mayfield became the group's new lead singer and songwriter.

Fred Cash, (ex. the Roosters), was recruited as the group's new fifth member.

Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield were later to perform on Jerry's 1960 single 'He Will Break Your Heart', a song which acted as a group renaissance, boosting the Impressions' own career.

The Impressions signed to ABC Paramount imprint in 1961, and charted with the song 'Gypsy Woman'.

Richard and Arthur Brooks then left the Impressions in 1962.

The ImpressionsThe Never Ending ImpressionsKeep On PushingPeople Get Ready

the impressions - 1963 / the never ending impressions - 1964 / keep on pushing - 1964 / people get ready - 1965

Following further excellent sides, the Impressions 1963 song, 'It's All Right', became a huge hit, reaching number 1 in the R & B chart and number 4 in the pop chart, with an album released the same year, simply entitled 'The Impressions'.

The Impressions had now reduced to a trio of singers, featuring Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden and Fred Cash, ably assisted by Johnny Pate's rich arrangements.


The Impressions recorded many tunes, which have now become mainstream classics, including 'I'm So Proud', 'Keep On Pushing' (Top 10 on the Billboard Pop and R&B charts, number 10 Pop), 'You Must Believe Me' (all released in 1964) and the socially aware 'People Get Ready' (in 1965).

One By OneRidin' HighThe Fabulous ImpressionsThis Is My Country

one by one - 1965 / ridin' high - 1966 / the fabulous impressions - 1967 / this is my country - 1968

During the mid Sixties era, the Impressions scored their final U.S. pop Top 10 hit, namely, 'Amen', a song featured in the film 'Lilies Of The Field'.

Curtis Mayfield realised two record labels following the hit, namely, Windy C Records in 1966, and Mayfield Records in 1967.

The ImpressionsThe Impressions

The labels were successful, although a third imprint, Curtom Records, proved to be Curtis Mayfield's most enduring company.

The Impressions released several sides in the latter part of the Sixties, including 'You Been Cheatin" (in 1965) and 'You Always Hurt Me' (in 1967).


The latter part of the Sixties were a highly political era. The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement became issues that permeated into the musical genre.

We're A WinnerThe Versatile ImpressionsThe Young Mod's Forgotten StoryCheck Out Your Mind

we're a winner - 1968 / the versatile impressions - 1969 / the young mod's forgotten story - 1969 / check out your mind - 1970

The Impressions showcased a greater political awareness with songs such as 'This Is My Country' (in 1968), 'Mighty Mighty Spade And Whitey' (in 1969) and 'Check Out Your Mind' (in 1970).

During this period, the Impressions recorded several sides with Betty Everett (including 1969's 'Betty Everett & The Impressions' on United Records).

Curtis Mayfield's penultimate album with the Impressions came to fruition in the album 'Young Mod's Forgotten Story', which set the mood for much of Curtis Mayfield's solo work to follow.

His final album with the group was 1970's 'Check Out Your Mind'.

Times Have ChangedPreacher ManFinally Got Myself TogetherThree The Hard Way

times have changed - 1972 / preacher man - 1973 / finally got myself together - 1974 / three the hard way - 1974

Leroy Hutson joined the Impressions as the new lead vocalist, leaving the group in 1973, but remained at Curtis Mayfield's Curtom imprint for his own following solo releases.

Reggie Torian and Ralph Johnson were subsequently recruited, and this version of the Impressions topped the R&B chart in 1974 with 'Finally Got Myself Together (I'm A Changed Man)'.

First ImpressionsIt's About TimeLoving PowerCome To My Party

first impressions - 1975 / it's about time - 1976 / loving power - 1976 / come to my party - 1979

The Impressions remained at Curtom during the mid Seventies, releasing 'First Impressions' (in 1975, featuring 'Groove' and the title track).

The single became the Impressions only British hit, however, the following year Ralph Johnson departed the line-up.

The Impressions scored three R&B Top 5 singles in the period between 1974 and 1975, including the number 1 'Finally Got Myself Together (I'm a Changed Man)' (which also reached the Pop top 20 ) , and the number 3 singles 'Same Thing it Took' and 'Sooner or Later'.

In 1976, The Impressions left Curtom Records, relocating to Cotillion Records, charting with 'Loving Power'.

Ralph Johnson was then replaced by Nate Evans, who remained in the group for three years.

At this time The Impressions relocated to 20th Century Records.

Fan The FireThe Impressions

fan the fire - 1981 / today

Nate Evans then left in 1979, reducing the group to a trio again, who subsequently released the album 'Fan the Fire', was released in 1981 (featuring the title track, 'Fan The Fire').

Reggie Torian left in 1983, Ralph Johnson rejoined the group, and Vandy Hampton was also enlisted to the ranks.

Ralph Johnson left the group again in 2001, and was replaced by Willie Kitchens, who was in turn, later replaced by Reggie Torian.

Reggie passed away in 2016.

Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, Fred Cash and Sam Gooden, at various times re-formed.

The Impressions were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003.

Fred Cash and Sam Gooden have also worked as the Impressions up until the present, recently performing at the Barbican in London in 2011.

A full reunion will sadly never transpire following the passing of Curtis Mayfield on Boxing Day, 1999 in Roswell, Georgia.

Sam Gooden

Sam Gooden died in August 2002 at the age of 87.

The Impressions


The Impressions (ABC Paramount Records 1963)

The Never Ending Impressions (ABC Paramount Records 1964)

Keep On Pushing (ABC Paramount Records 1964)

People Get Ready (ABC Paramount Records 1965)

One By One (ABC Paramount Records 1965)

Ridin' High (ABC Paramount Records 1966)

The Fabulous Impressions (ABC Paramount Records 1967)

We're A Winner (ABC Paramount Records 1968)

This Is My Country (ABC Paramount Records 1968)

The Versatile Impressions (Curtom Records 1969)

The Young Mod's Forgotten Story (Curtom Records 1969)

Check Out Your Mind (Curtom Records 1970)

Times Have Changed (Curtom Records 1972)

Preacher Man (Curtom Records 1973)

Finally Got Myself Together (Curtom Records 1974)

Three The Hard Way (Curtom Records 1974)

First Impressions (Curtom Records 1975)

It's About Time (Cotillion Records 1976)

Loving Power (Curtom 1976)

Come To My Party (20th Century Records 1979)

Fan The Fire (20th Century Records 1981)

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