Only the Strong Survive

Jerry Butler, The Impressions

About Only the Strong Survive

"Only the Strong Survive" is a song written by Jerry Butler, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and originally sung in 1968 by Jerry Butler, released on his album The Ice Man Cometh. It was the most successful single of his career, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Black Singles Chart, in March and April 1969, respectively."Only the Strong Survive" was the first of two singles which were platinum certified by the RIAA, selling over a million copies (the second was "Ain't Understanding Mellow" in 1972). Elvis Presley (1969) and Billy Paul (1977) also recorded versions of this song. In the UK, Billy Paul's version was released on the Philadelphia International label (PIR 5699). It entered the singles charts on November 17, 1977, had a chart life of seven weeks & a peak position of No. 33. Another version of this song was recorded by The Trammps in the Netherlands in 2003. It sounds very similar to Billy Paul's version. The song appears on the compilation album Only The Strong Survive (Sony), which oddly enough shows the remaining four group members on the cover. There's also an extended clubmix of this song on this CD. The clubmix was produced by Maas and Van der Weyde. 


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I remember, my first love affair
Somehow or another the whole darn thing went wrong
My mama had some great advice
So I thought I'd put it into words of this song
I can still hear her saying it

Boy, oh, I see you're sitting out there all alone
Cryin' your eyes out
'Cause the woman that you love has gone
There's gonna be, there's gonna be
A whole lot of trouble in your life
So listen to me get up off of your knees
'Cause only the strong survive

That's what she said
Only the strong survive, only the strong survive
You've got to be strong, you'd better hold on
Don't go, all around with your head hung down

I wouldn't let that little girl
No, I wouldn't let her know
That she made me feel like a clown
There's a whole lot a girl
Lookin' for a good man like you
Oh, but you'll never meet them if you give up now
And say, your life is through

Then she said it
Only the strong survive, only the strong survive
You've got to be a man, you've got to take a stand

So I am telling you right now
Only the strong survive, only the strong survive
You've got to be strong, you'd better hold on

Don't worry about it
Don't you know that things are gonna change
But you've got to be a man, you've got to take a stand
Don't ever feel that like you can make it baby

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Jerry Butler

Jerry Butler (born Jerry Butler Jr., December 8, 1939, Sunflower, Mississippi) is an American soul singer and songwriter. He is also noted as being the original lead singer of the famed R&B vocal group, The Impressions, as well as a 1991 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. more »

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