They started out as a group of youth in Brooklyn hanging around on street corners and singing a capella just for fun. They have gone on to become the “Undisputed Kings of A Capella.”
They are the legendary Persuasions, known all over the world for their blend of gospel, soul and pop music. The Persuasions will perform at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19. in the John Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College (CLC).
Discovered in 1968 by music legend Frank Zappa, the Persuasions went on to release a string of commercially successful and critically acclaimed recordings. Their debut album “Straight” was a mix of studio and live recordings. They followed that release with albums such as “Frankly A Capella: The Persuasions Sing Zappa,” “Might as Well: The Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead,” and the critically acclaimed “The Persuasions Sing The Beatles.”
Over the years, The Persuasions have opened for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Ray Charles, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor, to name but a few. Interestingly, it should be noted that acts such as Roseanne Barr and Bruce Springsteen once opened for The Persuasions. They’ve appeared on stage, on record, and on disc with such diverse artists as Stevie Wonder, Bette Midler, Joni Mitchell, Liza Minelli, Van Morrison, Lou Reed, Gladys Knigh, Patti LaBelle, Little Richard, Nancy Wilson, the Neville Brothers, Country Joe McDonald, B.B. King and Paul Simon.
For over 40 years, The Persuasions have been major influences in the development of a capella music. Their recordings have included songs ranging from Frank Sinatra to Frank Zappa, from Sam Cooke to Bob Dylan and from Lennon and McCartney to Rodgers and Hammerstein. Their work paved the way for groups like Boyz to Men, Take 6 and Rockapella. The Persuasions are the very reason a capella societies exist around the world today.
The Persuasions have performed on stages for fans in Alaska, Israel, throughout Europe and down under in Australia. Their music has been featured in films ranging from “Joe Versus the Volcano” to “The Heartbreak Kid” and from “Streets of Gold” to “E.T.” The TV documentary “Spread the Word: The Persuasions Sing A Capella” was broadcast on PBS, and the group was featured in Spike Lee’s “Do it A Capella,” also on PBS, where they were presented as ‘the godfathers of a capella.’
The group has made numerous musical appearances on television shows that seem to cover the entire day. The group has performed on Good Morning America, the Today Show, the Tonight Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Weekends were covered with appearances on Saturday Night Live.
For four decades, the Persuasions have made music, influenced musicians, and thrilled audiences of all ages and interests.
Tickets for The Persuasions are available from the CLC Theatre Box Office, by phone at 218-855-8199. Tickets are also available online at clctickets.com.