The Impressions, formed in 1957 in Chicago, are one of the finest rhythm and blues acts to emerge from a gospel-based sound. The doo-woppers turned R&B crooners launched the careers of both Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler, and both would remain involved with The Impressions for years to come, even after they had left and established their own careers.
The group had its biggest success in the Civil Rights era of the early to mid-1960s. Most of the hits The Impressions had were spearheaded by Mayfield after Jerry Butler left to pursue a solo career. He wrote a number of Black Pride anthems, including the infectious "Keep on Pushing." He also developed the group's merging of gospel and R&B. They had a hit with "Amen" and delivered the definitive version of "People Get Ready."
The Impressions, like The Supremes after the departure of Diana Ross in 1970, would carry on without their key members, but never saw the commercial success they had before. Mayfield departed in 1971 to concentrate on his label and solo career, which, the following year, would deliver the brilliant Superfly soundtrack album. The prolific group continued to release albums consistently until 1981's swan song Fan The Fire was released. In 2001, many members of the group served as the backing band for Clapton's successful album Reptile.