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Curtis Mayfield

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Chicago, United States

Curtis Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) was an American , and , and guitarist from Chicago, Illinois.

Mayfield is probably best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions and for the soundtrack to the film Superfly.

Perhaps because he didn’t cross over to the pop audience as heavily as Motown’s stars, it may be that the scope of Curtis Mayfield’s talents and contributions have yet to be fully recognized. Judged merely by his records alone, the man’s legacy is enormous. As the leader of the Impressions, he recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s. As a solo artist in the 1970s, he helped pioneer funk and helped introduce hard-hitting urban commentary into soul music. “Gypsy Woman,” “It’s All Right,” “People Get Ready,” “Freddie’s Dead,” and “Superfly” are merely the most famous of his many hit records.

But Curtis Mayfield wasn’t just a singer. Born in in Chicago, IL, he wrote most of his material at a time when that was not the norm for soul performers. He was among the first — if not the very first — to speak openly about African-American pride and community struggle in his compositions. As a songwriter and a producer, he was a key architect of , penning material and working on sessions by notable Windy City soulsters like Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, Major Lance, and Billy Butler.

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