The Musical Poetry of Curtis Mayfield

Celebrating the musical poetry of Curtis Mayfield born June 3, 1942. He was one of the greatest songwriters ever, as well as a phenomenal record producer. He is best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and for composing the soundtrack to the original classic film Super Fly.


He first achieved success and recognition with the Impressions and later worked as a solo artist. In 1964, with the hit song "Keep on Pushing," Mayfield became one of the first R&B singer-songwriters to bring a racial and political consciousness to his music. "Keep on Pushing," along with other inspirational anthems such as "People Get Ready" and "I'm So Proud," established Mayfield as both a pioneer of soul music and a singular voice of Black awareness and pride.


In 1970, Mayfield began a solo career, recording a series of albums and working as a producer for artists such as Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight and the Pips, Leroy Hutson and a precursor to the Jackson Five, the young group The Five Stairsteps. His most memorable solo project was arranging and scoring the classic 1972 album “Superfly”, the soundtrack to the hit film. “Superfly” was the No. 1 album on the pop charts for four weeks and solidified Mayfield's legacy as one of the most innovative songwriters and performers in history. Mayfield died, on December 26, 1999, however his musical poetry resonates somehow more so today than ever before.


– Greg Mickens for Black History Mini Docs

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