Curtis Meyfild

Curtis Meyfild

Musician (vocalist, bassist, pianist, saxophonist, drummer) and ideologist of African-American music.
Date of Birth: 03.06.1942
Country: USA

Biography of Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield, born on June 3, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, was a musician (vocalist, bassist, pianist, saxophonist, drummer) and the ideologue of African-American music. He started singing and playing the guitar at the age of seven. In his early teens, Mayfield formed the "Alphatones," a soul group, and began writing lyrics and music. At fourteen, he met Jerry Butler, and together with other boys from their church choir, they formed a collective called "The Impressions." In 1958, the group achieved eleventh place on the charts with their song "For Your Precious Love." As the vocalist and leader, Mayfield played a crucial role in the group's success.

Curtis Meyfild

During the 1960s, "The Impressions" experienced their heyday, and Mayfield became one of the first soul singers to infuse his music with lyrics about social and racial issues. Alongside Bob Dylan, he fought for civil rights for African Americans in America. Mayfield's songs always carried a message of peaceful coexistence among people of different races and classes. His humanitarian anthem, "People Get Ready," was covered by artists such as Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and the band U2 throughout the years.

Curtis Meyfild

In the late 1960s, Mayfield's music took on a new direction, emphasizing African-American pride (known as the "black pride" movement). The song "We're a Winner," recorded by "The Impressions" in 1967, serves as a characteristic example of this period. In 1968, Mayfield founded his own record label, "Curtom Records." In 1970, he embarked on a solo career, experimenting with funk and producing artists like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight. His most significant solo project was the soundtrack for the film "Superfly" (1972), which highlighted the theme of American ghettos and foreshadowed the later emergence of hip-hop. "Superfly" topped the album charts for four weeks and revolutionized rhythm and blues music.

Although Mayfield lost some of his popularity in the 1970s due to the rise of disco, his influence and reputation remained unwavering. In 1990, during a stage setup, Mayfield was accidentally struck by a falling lighting rig, resulting in his paralysis. In 1995, he was honored with a Grammy Award for his contributions to the development of American music. The magazine "Rolling Stone" included his name in the list of the "100 Greatest Musicians of All Time" at the end of the century.

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