Jeffree Perry

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Jeffree Perry was literally born into the music business. His uncle, Robert Bateman, was one of the early pioneers at Motown, serving as a talent scout, engineer, and co-producer. Bateman was also a co-writer…
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Jeffree Perry was literally born into the music business. His uncle, Robert Bateman, was one of the early pioneers at Motown, serving as a talent scout, engineer, and co-producer. Bateman was also a co-writer and producer of the company's first number one hit, "Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes. As a child, Perry and his four siblings sang everywhere and anywhere for anyone who would listen. When he was 12, Jeff's brothers cut their Atlantic debut as the Perry Brothers. Along with younger brothers Dennis and Zachary, Jeff started doing background vocal sessions for Chess Records. Another brother, Greg Perry (whose '70s Smokin' album remains a cult classic) started producing for Holland/Dozier/Holland's Invictus and Hot Wax Records. Perry got into production and songwriting.

Greg Perry co-wrote and produced the gold single "Somebody's Been Sleeping in My Bed" for Jeffree Perry's group 100 Proof Aged in Soul. The two brothers assisted each other with hits for the Honey Cone ("Want Ads," "Stick Up," and "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show"). The hits continued with the Chairman of the Board's "Pay to the Piper" and the gold controversial classic "Bring the Boys Home" by Freda Payne.

For a couple of years, Perry worked with Motown. During his tenure, he met and worked closely with legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson, became a close personal friend of Marvin Gaye, and scored a hit, "One Love in My Lifetime," with Diana Ross. Coming to Chicago, Perry began working with producer Carl Davis (the Chi-Lites, Gene Chandler). The collaboration lead to Perry writing and producing Jackie Wilson's last commercial album, Beautiful Day.

Soon afterwards, Perry launched his solo career on Clive Davis' Arista Records. His "Love Don't Come No Stronger" was the label's first R&B hit. Teaming up with producer Norman Whitfield, he recorded an album for MCA, Jeffree, and worked with the group Stargard. The two smooth singles from Jeffree, "Mr. Fix-It" and "Love's Gonna Last," and the album itself charted in the lower half of Billboard's charts in 1979.

In the mid-'80s, Perry got married and moved back to Michigan where he, along with two wealthy businessmen, formed Master Wax Records. Later, Perry and some business partners formed Creative Connection Productions. In 1990, a curious thing happened. The club jocks and Kenny B., who had his own show, the Saturday Night Dusty Steppers on radio station WVAZ-FM, began playing "Love's Gonna Last" from the Jeffree album. Suddenly, an album that had been selling in cut-out bins from 50 cents to a dollar began to skyrocket in price. The demand bordered on frenzy, as jocks, music lovers, and the record-buying equivalent of scalpers scrambled to act on this phenomenon. Carl Davis contacted Perry, telling him about the almost rabid interest in his only album. Davis' friend, veteran promoter Gus Redmond, handled the media visits, press interviews, and all the other activities associated with a hit record, even though the record was long out of print. But that didn't last long as bootleggers went to work, pressing up shoddy copies of "Love's Gonna Last." Seeing the demand, distributor Ruby Lawrence contacted his friends at MCA and worked out a deal with the label's special products division to reissue the album. The first single, "Mr. Fix-It," and "Take My Love" started getting club play and received massive airplay. The success of the Jeffree album promoted Perry to release a new album, Call It Love, on his own Creative Connection label in 1997.