The Persuasions were formed in Brooklyn in 1962, singing a cappella under corner streetlights and in subway corridors. Their style combined gospel, soul, early rock and jazz into melodic five-part harmonies. Since being discovered by Frank Zappa, The Persuasions have recorded 26 albums to date.
The Persuasions made appearances on such public affairs television shows as Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant on WNEW-TV and Like It Is on WABC-TV in 1968.Frank Zappa was responsible for The Persuasions' first LP, Acappella. He heard The Persuasions singing over the phone from a New Jersey record shop known as Stan's Square Records. The store's owner, Stan Krause, was the group's manager at the time. Prior to that time, The Persuasions had recorded several a cappella tracks for Krause's record label, Catamount Records. Zappa had an appreciation for soul and street corner style singing, and after hearing the group, flew them to Los Angeles to record their first album. The Persuasions were the opening act at The Mothers concerts at Carnegie Hall, 1971. Thirty years later, Zappa fan Rip Rense supervised and encouraged the group in the creation of a Persuasions tribute CD to Zappa, Frankly A Cappella on Earthbeat Records. In 1990, The Persuasions performed on the PBS TV special Spike Lee & Company – "Do It A Cappella". The Persuasions later recorded tribute albums consisting of material by the Grateful Dead (Might as Well), and the Beatles (The Persuasions sing the Beatles)
Herbert "Toubo" Rhoad, one of the original members of The Persuasions, died in 1988 while on tour and is survived by his wife April and children Paris and Zina. Raymond Sanders came in as an additional voice.
The group broke up in 2003 when Jerry Lawson left. A tribute group run by Dave Revels formed and included 3 original members. Revels booked the group as The Persuasions and procured recording contracts using the name.
Sweet Joe Russell died in 2012 and was survived by his children Joe, Sandra, Keisha and Petronia.
Bass singer James Caldon Hayes passed in May 2017 and is survived by Lavern Hayes, LaZetta Duncan Moore and Gillian Moore.
Jerry Lawson passed in July 2019 and is survived by his wife Julie Lawson, daughters Yvette and Wanda Lawson and grandson Miguel Lawson.
Jayotis Washington currently resides in Brooklyn New York.
In 2007, Jerry Lawson released his first post- Persuasions a cappella CD with his new group, Jerry Lawson and Talk of The Town. In December 2010, Jerry Lawson and Talk of The Town were featured on Series 2 of NBC's The Sing-Off. Lawson was invited back on season 3 as a featured guest without Talk of the Town. He was accompanied by 16 cast members, performing the Arthur Conley hit (written by Sam Cooke) "Sweet Soul Music". In 2015 he released his debut as a solo artist, Jerry Lawson Just A Mortal Man, on Red Beet Records. It was featured on NPR with host Joel Rose.
In May 2019, representatives of all of the original members of the Persuasions collectively sued Warner and Universal for their unpaid royalties. The record companies admitted to having six figures in monies belonging to the persuasions which they unilaterally decided to "mind for them" as they claimed it would be too hard for black men to figure out how to collect it from unclaimed funds at the Secretary of State. They continue to try to keep their money to date.