It’s always interesting for those that appreciate
music to find out new and interesting things about those performers that caught their “eye and/or ear” with the rhythmic beat of their music or the charm or fire of their lyrics. Every tidbit gives insight into the mind of the artist which has pleased us by performing at their best—-so inquisitive minds love to learn more. Here you have some interesting finds about Curtis Mayfield, singer, songwriter, guitarist and record-producer extraordinaire.
It was obvious from his performances that Curtis Mayfield was a singer and guitarist, but few may know that he was a prolific songwriter and record producer engaged with the political and ethical times of the Civil Rights Movement as well as a period in the film industry when some TV/Movie productions were categorized as Blaxploitation film as revealed in the “Superfly” album which on the surface provided much needed film work and industry exposure for African Americans (better known during this period as Blacks) actors and actresses to be cast in more dominate roles as aggressors and not the prey or downtrodden. Blaxploitation films had/have positives, but far too many negatives in the exploitation of Blacks which Mayfield’s songwriting revealed.
Back in 1965, Curtis Mayfield wrote “People Get Ready” for the Impressions, which displayed his politically charged songwriting. Ranked at no. 24 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the song received many other awards, and was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll as well as being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
- Mayfield could be viewed overall as an activist for humanity via musical song.
Curtis Mayfield’s musical genres have been listed as being inclusive of Soul, Funk, R&B, Chicago Soul, and surprisingly—-Psychedelic Soul as the stigma attached to Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs) was not received as a good influence on society. However, the guitar notably used (as seen in most photos and videos) is theFender Stratocaster, known for its superiority amongst guitarist/professional musicians appear to have been also used by Jimi Hendrix who was established as a force in rock music amidst a dominate drug culture that may have led to the Psychedelic Rock era which in turn faded over into a Psychedelic Soul genre.
- The Psychedelic Soul genre appears to only have been a phase and not symbolic of the core of Curtis Mayfield’s musical genius and legacy as a singer, songwriter, guitarist and record-producer.
Many fans and music buffs may not realize or remember that Curtis Mayfield was once a part of the group known as The Impressions and after briefly touring with Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield became the group’s new lead singer and songwriter and after switching to ABC-Paramount Records, Mayfield, Gooden, and new Impression Fred Cash collectively became a top-selling soul act—The Impressions. Mayfield left the group for a solo career in 1970.
- Unknown to most (but like the majority) Curtis Mayfield has roots with other well- knowns as Jerry Butler and The Impressions.
Mayfield won a Grammy Legend Award in 1994 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995, and was a double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of the Impressions in 1991, and again in 1999 as a solo artist. He was also a two-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductee.
- Many may not be aware that Mayfield was a renowned award winning artist.
Curtis Mayfield’s career span was from 1956-1999; sadly, he died from complications of diabetes on December 26, 1999 at the age of 57.
- Surprising fact to know that he died at such an early age considering the medical advances, technology and advantages that are now present in the 21st Century.