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Jerry Butler’s Songwriting Workshop

1402 S Michigan Ave.

Singer Jerry Butler started his Songwriters Workshop when he needed fast help to prepare tunes to fulfill his recording contract in 1970. Fortunately, Chicago had no shortage of talent, and songwriters gathered at this site to work on material not just for Butler but, as it turned out, also for many others as well as for themselves. The workshop provided the composers with the space and the salaries they needed to develop ideas and also taught musicians about publishing and copyrights. Terry Callier and Larry Wade wrote songs for Callier’s own records as well as for The Dells, most famously the group’s hit, “The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind)” in 1971. Workshop participants Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy teamed up to form The Independents (who had a hit with their “Leaving Me” in 1973) before becoming heavyweight producers themselves, especially for Yancy’s wife, Natalie Cole. By 1976, the workshop had dissolved, but Butler believed it had more than served its purpose. The workshop’s songs attest to that belief.

– A.C. 

Caption: Former location of Jerry Butler's Songwriting Workshop.

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