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Passings: Jimmy Hayes, Bass Singer For the Persuasions

by VVN Music

Jimmy Hayes, the bass singer for the a cappella kings The Persuasions, has died at the age of 74.

The group's latest project, Ladies and Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies & the Persuasions, was released last month.  The Barenaked Ladies released a statement saying:

With great sadness, we suddenly find ourselves saying goodbye to our friend Jimmy Hayes.

Jimmy was both the bottom end,
and the heart of The Persuasions.

Jimmy was kind, cool, funny, and a kindred spirit with a wonderfully rare musical voice.

Jimmy, thank you for sharing your talent, time, and stories with us. It was an honour.

We send our deepest sympathies out to Jimmy's family and friends.

With love from Kevin, Jim, Ed, and Tyler.

Hayes was born in Virginia but later moved to New York where he came together with Jerry Lawson, Joe Russell, Herbert Rhoad and Jayotis Washington, singing on the streets of Brooklyn. All of the original members had a strong background singing in the church although the group was well known for a repertoire that cut across genres.

There early experience was in smaller venues along with working with Robert F. Kennedy's Project Restoration. In 1968, Frank Zappa and his wife Gail gave the group their first big break when he signed them to his Straight label and, in 1970, the released their debut A Cappella.

Over the years, the group recorded for a variety of labels including Capitol, MCA, A&M, Elektra, Flying Fish, Rounder, Grateful Dead Records and Chesky, releasing over two dozen albums including salutes to Zappa (Frankly A Cappella: The Persuasions Sing Zappa, 2000), the Grateful Dead (Might As Well...The Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead, 2000), the Beatles (The Persuasions Sing the Beatles, 2002) and Bob Dylan (Knockin' on Bob's Door, 2010).

Their sound has influenced a number of other groups including Boyz II Men, Take 6 and the Nylons.

Joe Russell died in 2012. The current version of the group included original members Hayes and Washington along with Raymond Sanders, Dave Revels, Cliff Dawson and Samuel White.