Monday, May 09, 2016

Passings: Reginald Torian, Sr. of the Impressions (1951 - 2016)

Reginald Torian, Sr., who was lead singer for the Impressions after the departure of Curtis Mayfield, died on Wednesday, May 4 at the age of 65. Torian had been rehearsing with the group The Independents when he became ill. Cause of death is not known.

Torian was born in Hopkinsville, KY and made his public performance debut at the age of 7. He later moved with his family to Illinois where he lived in Chicago Heights and Markham.

When Curtis Mayfield gave up his lead duties in the Impressions in 1970, he was replaced by Leroy Hutson who was only with the group for three years before being replaced by Torian who had performing around the Chicago area.

While the Impressions did not have the kind of success they found in the 60's, they continued to chart with Torian at lead with hits like Sooner or Later (1975 / #68 Pop / #3 R&B), Same Thing It Took (1975 / #75 Pop / #3 R&B) and Loving Power (1975 / #11 R&B).

Former Impressions singer Jerry Butler, who is now a councilman in the Chicago area, told the Sun-Times "Reggie was the last of the great lead singers of the Impressions".

In 1983, Torian left the group to go solo, returning in 2001. He has worked with the Impressions since that time along with working on his solo career. As a soloist, he often performed tributes to Mayfield and produced a musical play, All Things Mayfield.

Outside of music, Torian was an ordained minister and worked for social justice in his native Chicago.

Torian is survived by two daughters, three sons, seventeen grandchildren and on great-grandchild.

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