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Monday, June 23, 2008

Legend: Curtis Mayfield

b. 3rd June 1942, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

d. 26th December 1999, North Fulton Regional Hospital, Roswell, Georgia, U.S.A.


Curtis Mayfield has played a major pivotal role in soul music over the last 40 years and has influenced countless musicians (and politicians).

Between 1961 and 1971, he wrote a succession of influential singles for his group, including 'Gypsy Woman' (1961), 'It's All Right, (1963), 'People Get Ready' (1965), 'We're A Winner' (1968) and 'Choice Of Colours' (1969).

Curtis wrote tender love songs and those protesting social and political equality.

Decades later Bob Marley lifted lines from 'People Get Ready' to populate his own recording, 'One Love'.

Two independent record companies, Windy C and Curtom, emphasized Mayfield's important role within black music, while his continued support for other artists as composer, producer or session guitarist, enhanced a reputation beyond that of just a singer.

Jerry Butler, Major Lance, Gene Chandler and Walter Jackson are among the many Chicago-based singers benefiting from Mayfield's songwriting skills.

Having parted company with The Impressions in 1970, Curtis began his solo career with '(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go', a suitably astringent protest song.

The following year Mayfield penned his biggest UK success when 'Move On Up', reached number 12, an energetic dancer that charted in the USA and U.K. alike.

There, the awards continued as success was maintained with 'Freddie's Dead' (US R & B number 2 / number 4 pop hit) and the theme from 'Superfly' (1972), a 'blaxploitation' film that he also, wrote.

Both singles and the album achieved gold status, inspiring further excursions into the movies.

The soundtracks including 'Claudine', 'A Piece Of The Action', 'Sparkle' and 'Short Eyes', the last of which featured Mayfield in an acting role.

The singer continued to prove popular and subsequent work, including his production of Aretha Franklin's 1978 album, 'Almighty Fire' is held in high regard.

In 1981, he joined the Boardwalk label, for which he recorded 'Honesty', his strongest album since the days of the early 70's.

The death of the label's managing director left an enormous gap, and Mayfield's career was then blighted by music industry lethargy.

The singer remained a highly popular live attraction, particularly in Britain where '(Celebrate) The Day After You', a collaboration with the Blow Monkeys, became a minor hit.

In 1990, a freak accident, in which part of a public address rig collapsed on top of him during a concert, left Mayfield permanently paralyzed from the neck down.

The effects, both personal and professional, proved costly, but not completely devastating in terms of his musical career.

The material from 'BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert' was gathered from the gig at London's Town And Country Club during Mayfield's 1990 European tour.

In 1993, Warner Brothers released 'A Tribute To Curtis Mayfield' featuring various artists including Lenny Kravitz, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Steve Winwood, which was an excellent tribute to the Mayfield songbook.

Aretha's version of 'The Makings Of You' was excellent.

A year later Charly Records reissued the majority of Mayfields 70's albums on CD as well as several compilations.

In 1996,Rhino Records gathered the best package in a three-CD box set.

At the end of 1996, a new album, 'New World Order' , was released to excellent reviews.

During the recording of 'New World Order', Mayfield had to lie on his front, supended by a harness, in order to give some gravitational power to his voice.

His contribution to soul music has been immense, whatever the limitations of his disability, his voice, however, remained perfect, sensitive and unique.

On Boxing Day 1999, Curtis passed away in his sleep at the North Fulton Regional Hospital in Roswell, Georgia, U.S.A. His contribution to society and music is unmeasurable. Curtis Mayfield Obituary

'Pusherman' is utilised as part of the American curriculum in the fight against drugs.

Article From:
Certain Links Provided By: FunkyUniversum


Curtis (Buddah 1970)
Curtis/Live! (Buddah 1971)
Roots (Buddah 1971)
Superfly film soundtrack (Buddah 1972)
Back To The World (Buddah 1973)
Curtis In Chicago (Buddah 1973)
Sweet Exorcist (Buddah 1974)
Got To And A Way (Buddah 1974)
Claudine (Buddah 1975)
Let's Do It Again (Curtom 1975)
There's No Place Like America Today (Curtom 1975)
Sparkle (Curtom 1976)
Give, Get, Take And Have (Curtom 1976)
Short Eyes (Curtom 1977)
Never Say You Can't Survive (Curtom 1977)
A Piece Of The Action (Curtom 1978)
Do It All Night (Curtom 1978)
Heartbeat (RSO 1979) with Linda Clifford
The Right Combination (RSO 1980)
Something To Believe In (RSO 1980)
Love Is The Place (Boardwalk 1981)
Honesty (Boardwalk 1983)
We Come In Peace With A Message Of Love (CRC 1985)
Live In Europe (Ichiban 1988)
People Get Ready (Essential 1990)
Take It To The Streets (Curtom 1990)
BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert (Windsong 1994)
New World Order (Warners 1996)


Anonymous said...

People don't take the time to understand the depth of some artists and your effort to outline the great works of the late Curis Mayfield are excellent. Please keep this in the blog and your efforts are greatly appreciated, even if people don't really take the time to comment.


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