“We got to talking about some writer from Yale who’d complained about how Curtis Mayfield and the Temptations were experimenting with new sounds like the wah-wah pedal. He’d said it ruined the purity of R&B. We thought artists should use everything around them and Kenny said ‘Hey, only the strong survive.’ I added in some things I’d heard growing up and 45 minutes later, we had a song.”
Jerry Butler, on the inspiration for “Only the Strong Survive,” the most monumental record to come from the sessions that Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff used as the foundation stone, both creative and commercial, for The Sound of Philadelphia, i.e. what black music would get up to in the seventies and then some.
(Source: Liner notes, The Philadelphia Sessions: The Iceman Cometh, Ice on Ice and More, 2001)
Update: No word on whether the Yalie in question ever joined Weatherman. Just know that he was evidently simpatico. The terror masters are always really good at telling others what they should think of themselves.