Guitarist/songwriter/producer/singer/arranger/director Gerald Sims is a key figure in Chicago soul history, singing lead on and writing the Daylighters' "Cool Breeze" and "Oh What a Way to Be Loved," Gene Chandler's "Here Come the Tears," and co-writing with producer Carl Davis Mary Wells' post-Motown hit "Dear Lover" (number six R&B in early 1966) and Jackie Wilson's "Since You Showed Me How to Be Happy" (Sims/Gary Jackson/Floyd Smith). Sims was a member Chess Records vocal group the Radiants who scored hits with "Voice of Choice" (Sims/Maurice McAlister) and "It Aint No Big Thing." Sims' talents are on display on various sides on the Okeh, Columbia, Chess, and Brunswick (the Artistics' "I'm Gonna Miss You") labels.
Born January 5, 1940, in Chicago, IL, Sims grew up in Kalamazoo, MI. The self-taught guitarist returned to Chicago in 1959. WGES radio DJ George "G.G." Graves introduced Sims to the Daylighters that same year. Some of the sides he recorded with the group are the Dot Records-distributed single "Oh What a Way to Be Loved" b/w "Why You Do Me Wrong" (1961), "Cool Breeze" (fall 1962), "Why Did You Have to Go" b/w "Please Come Back" with singer Betty Everett ("It's in His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)") on CJ Records, and various tracks with producer Don Talty (Phil Upchurch Combo's "You Can't Sit Down," Jan Bradley's "Mama Didn't Lie").
Another Daylighters single, "Cool Breeze," with an arrangement by Johnny Pate (Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions), was a local and regional hit, gaining some airplay on pop stations. Sims left the group and began recording as a solo artist with OKeh Records. Instead of getting a deal with the OKeh subsidiary, Sims was signed to the mother label, Columbia Records. "Cool Breeze" b/w "There Must Be an Answer Somewhere" was reissued as the first Gerald Sims single. In the '70s, Sims worked for Jerry and Billy Butler's Fountain Productions.
During the early '80s, Sims purchased the Chess Records recording studios, which still housed one of the classic label's cutting lathes which was used to make the pressing masters. The location was briefly the base for his record label. In the late '80s, early '90s,Sims retired to Florida.
Gerald Sims' work can be found on The Greatest Hits of Jackie Wilson, Chess Blues Classics:1957-1967, Essential Blues,Vol. 3, Greatest Hits,Vol. 1 by Bobby "Blue" Bland, Chess Blues, Very Best of Jerry Butler, One More Time:The Chess Years by Billy Stewart, Iceman:The Mercury Years by Jerry Butler, Beg Scream & Shout: The Big Ol' Box of '60s Soul, The Ultimate Collection by Mary Wells, The Best of Walter Jackson:Welcome Home ,The Okeh Years: Greatest Hits, Chess 50th Anniversary Collection by Little Milton, Chess Soul: A Decade of Chicago's Finest, Whispers/Higher & Higher by Jackie Wilson, That Did It!: The Duke Recordings 3 by Bobby "Blue" Bland, Love Makes a Woman/Seven Days of Night by Barbara Acklin, Dear Lover-The Atco Sessions by Mary Wells, and Everybody Loves a Good Time: The Best of Major Lance. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi