It is taking longer than expected to fetch the next song to play. The music should be playing soon. If you get tired of waiting, you can try reloading your browser.


Please check our Help page for information about troubleshooting Pandora on your browser.
Your Pandora One subscription will expire shortly.
close
Your Pandora One trial subscription will expire shortly. Upgrade to continue unlimited, ad-free listening.
You've listened to hours of Pandora this month. Consider upgrading to Pandora One.
Close
Hi . Pandora is using Facebook to personalize your experience. Learn MoreNo Thanks
Change Skin

We created Pandora to put the Music Genome Project directly in your hands

It’s a new kind of radio –
stations that play only music you like

 
Create an account for free. Register
Now Playing
Music Feed
My Profile
Create a Station
People who also like this

Curtis Mayfield

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 "Super Fly" are merely the most famous of his many hit records.

But Curtis Mayfield wasn't just a singer. 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 Chicago soul, penning material and working on sessions by notable Windy City soulsters like Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, Major Lance, and Billy Butler. In this sense, he can be compared to Smokey Robinson, who also managed to find time to write and produce many classics for other soul stars. Mayfield was also an excellent guitarist, and his rolling, Latin-influenced lines were highlights of the Impressions' recordings in the '60s. During the next decade, he would toughen up his guitar work and production, incorporating some of the best features of psychedelic rock and funk.

Mayfield began his career as an associate of Jerry Butler, with whom he formed the Impressions in the late '50s. After the Impressions had a big hit in 1958 with "For Your Precious Love," Butler, who had sung lead on the record, split to start a solo career. Mayfield, while keeping the Impressions together, continued to write for and tour with Butler before the Impressions got their first Top 20 hit in 1961, "Gypsy Woman."

Mayfield was heavily steeped in gospel music before he entered the pop arena, and gospel, as well as doo wop, influences would figure prominently in most of his '60s work. Mayfield wasn't a staunch traditionalist, however. He and the Impressions may have often worked the call-and-response gospel style, but his songs (romantic and otherwise) were often veiled or unveiled messages of black pride, reflecting the increased confidence and self-determination of the African-American community. Musically he was an innovator as well, using arrangements that employed the punchy, blaring horns and Latin-influenced rhythms that came to be trademark flourishes of Chicago soul. As the staff producer for the OKeh label, Mayfield was also instrumental in lending his talents to the work of other Chi-town soul singers who went on to national success. With Mayfield singing lead and playing guitar, the Impressions had 14 Top 40 hits in the 1960s (five made the Top 20 in 1964 alone), and released some above-average albums during that period as well.

Given Mayfield's prodigious talents, it was perhaps inevitable that he would eventually leave the Impressions to begin a solo career, as he did in 1970. His first few singles boasted a harder, more funk-driven sound; singles like "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go" found him confronting ghetto life with a realism that had rarely been heard on record. He really didn't hit his artistic or commercial stride as a solo artist, though, until Super Fly, his soundtrack to a 1972 blaxploitation film. Drug deals, ghetto shootings, the death of young black men before their time: all were described in penetrating detail. Yet Mayfield's irrepressible falsetto vocals, uplifting melodies, and fabulous funk pop arrangements gave the oft-moralizing material a graceful strength that few others could have achieved. For all the glory of his past work, Superfly stands as his crowning achievement, not to mention a much-needed counterpoint to the sensationalistic portrayals of the film itself.

At this point Mayfield, along with Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, was the foremost exponent of a new level of compelling auteurism in soul. His failure to maintain the standards of Super Fly qualifies as one of the great disappointments in the history of black popular music. Perhaps he'd simply reached his peak after a long climb, but the rest of his '70s work didn't match the musical brilliance and lyrical subtleties of Super Fly, although he had a few large R&B hits in a much more conventional vein, such as "Kung Fu," "So in Love," and "Only You Babe."

Mayfield had a couple of hits in the early '80s, but the decade generally found his commercial fortunes in a steady downward spiral, despite some intermittent albums. On August 14, 1990, he became paralyzed from the neck down when a lighting rig fell on top of him at a concert in Brooklyn, NY. In the mid-'90s, a couple of tribute albums consisting of Mayfield covers appeared, with contributions by such superstars as Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, and Gladys Knight. Though no substitute for the man himself, these tributes served as an indication of the enormous regard in which Mayfield was still held by his peers. He died December 26, 1999 at the age of 57. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

One of the best....time l e s s music!
The music was & is still great. The best is his solo years with the percussion & horn section on point he rounded it out with innovative guitar work. Right on Curtis, right on!
Now This Is Real Music.
a musical genius....a prophet of soul
Curtis never glorified the life of drugs or dealers. He wrote of their pain and destructive lifestyle.
Pusherman... . . . That is all (Dancing)
I want to thank my wonderful mother for passing on her impeccable music tastes to me.. I swear i should've been born many centuries ago...
A true visionary and a man who was very socially conscious during the civil rights movement! An amazing man who wrote what he felt were the issues of the day and it always kept it real!. When I hear singer Pharrell sing, he reminds me of Curtis Mayfield. They both have beautiful voices.
I love Curtis Mayfield his music is timeless. You sit in your car light a fatty up and just be in the zone head just nodding to some good music
REAL TALK. 3M 14Y
I loved his music as a teenager,i remember the sixties and seventies,hi s music is the story of the black man;he was way ahead of time,you can hear it in his music....
dlambert489
Back To Living Again is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. RIP Curtis.
YOU WILL BE A WINNER TO ME ALWAYS SMILE..
I LOVE YOU FOR PUTTING THE IMPESSIONS ON THE MAP FOR CHICAGO AND YOUR BEAUITFUL MUSIC THE DIFFERENT MOVIES BACK IN THE 70S SMILE..
R.i.p. mr mayfield
THE TRUTH!!! I FUK WITH CURTIS MAYFIELD!!! LOVE THIS DUDE.....
Curtis Mayfield: in the soundtrack of so many lives with meaningful music. Miss the Brother!
Real life she
This is the man of all time
Real music!!!
Still relevant. Listen 14y
R.i.p. Curtis
born2assist
Brilliance - Always at the top of his game!
Curtis mayfield came to the mercury theater in the 70s with Ron o'neal. I met em both!! Gotta be from the D too understand !!
claricentp91 7
If you need some extra income you can use BLUDOS.COM this is a way to make cash with surveys for free. It's very simple.
shawnnavuz71 1
If you need some extra income you can use BLUDOS.COM this is a way to make cash with surveys for free. It's very simple.
Curtis Mayfield was simply put, brillant.
Folkz just don't know what they missin out on not listen too Mr.Mayfield one of tha world best singer ever of all timez...I love all his songz he ever maked Curtis Mayfield.... . i f u listen too him u know something about tha word called life...
gon' get me a half-pint,go i n g down to jinx's..
10chadfoya
I have this extended version on my ipod. I love listening to it on my way to work. Puts me in a terrific mood! (Until someone messes it up)
I was a little white boy growing up in a black community back in the early 70's and always wanted to be Super Fly but always ended up as Shamus. Never the less Curtis always lives in my heart.
stands the test of time
kingdada1
I am 52 years old (in 2013). I remember when Superfly, the movie, came out that there were newspaper articles that said that the producers of the movie came to Mayfield and showed him the script and asked him to write the soundtrack. He said yes, but that he would not glorify the drug dealers and the thug life. Because he was so big back then, they agreed. That is why the theme of his album is diametricall y opposed to the theme of the movie. I have always respected him for that.
jtucker961
Love me some Curtis, since way back in the day. He was our musical prophet and music healer. Miss you!
The writer of the bio is wrong, because Curtis did not cross over to pop does not mean that his talent and genius is not fully recognized.
We that behold his greatness know of his contribution s , those that don't know need to wake up and catch up.
It's rare to hear a song that is as positive and uplifting as Move On Up. Love Curtis!
a musical genius....so m e are the innovators of it all, he was one of them.....You r music lives forever....
Thanks Curtis. Rest In Peace.
Be sure to check out the Curtis Mayfield Radio station I created. Enjoy V""V
davewars54
master of the music, a true musical genius
freddie's dead
A true inspiration. This man was a genius.
grew up on his music Im a better man because of it
I remember seeing super fly at the movie back in the days
luvthestroke s
He was and always will be THE MAN!!!!
eah0429
Listen to Curtis Mayfield BABY DOLL!
This type of music make me think of home. Get lonely sometimes in Ohio. Put this type of stuff take me back to BAMA.. Demopolis, Alabama finest shawty 'ALREADY
ay I listened to him with the Impressions back in the day.
RIP legend one of the best
Curtis, was the n**ga back in the day.
Show more

We're sorry, but a browser plugin or firewall may be preventing Pandora from loading.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser.

Please check our Help page for more information.

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please upgrade to a more current browser
or install a newer version of Flash (v.10 or later).

In order to use Pandora internet radio, please install Adobe Flash (v.10 or later).

[103, 80, 74, 83, 64, 71, 74, 121, 122, 72, 118, 111, 82, 74, 121, 91, 99, 70, 77, 93, 124, 94, 78, 100, 88, 65, 102, 76, 88, 92, 84, 110, 74, 71, 91, 92, 104, 79, 102, 84, 96, 97, 77, 97, 116, 122, 109, 97, 79, 82, 66, 80, 121, 117, 85, 120, 76, 79, 101, 82, 116, 101, 110, 68, 74, 89, 82, 83, 67, 85, 68, 64, 117, 72, 90, 69, 66, 106, 91, 96, 121, 96, 116, 114, 73, 98, 105, 109, 118, 80, 88, 91, 92, 66, 77, 108, 92, 99, 108, 116, 67, 78, 100, 87, 102, 80, 110, 85, 66, 67, 121, 94, 101, 120, 114, 121, 72, 69, 88, 125, 105, 81, 95, 120, 102, 79, 87, 115, 93, 84, 103, 94, 65, 89, 77, 120, 75, 75, 78, 123, 107, 124, 120, 116, 118, 115, 117, 90, 117, 97, 80, 85, 82, 87, 116, 112, 107, 75, 65, 120, 125, 78, 115, 117, 119, 95, 98, 112, 82, 98, 115, 83, 112, 76, 65, 72, 121, 104, 127, 95, 79, 91, 102, 113, 82, 76, 78, 84, 120, 93, 108, 64, 90, 123, 87, 111, 99, 105, 120, 79, 115, 111, 119, 95, 74, 71, 96, 123, 101, 124, 111, 113, 83, 98, 109, 119, 121, 88, 112, 93, 90, 78, 74, 69, 82, 79, 113, 103, 87, 109, 92, 74, 85, 81, 114, 80, 99, 69, 70, 112, 115, 88, 77, 68, 77, 116, 73, 112, 115, 107, 74, 102, 78, 106, 98, 123, 126, 69, 99, 103, 96, 78, 99, 88, 118, 123, 124, 64, 123, 124, 123, 73, 98, 121, 75, 126, 69, 87, 99, 66, 90, 98, 123, 112, 73, 93, 83, 88, 112, 66, 93, 118, 108, 89, 90, 80, 66, 116, 103, 69, 116, 106, 91, 66, 84, 108, 116, 122, 120, 103, 75, 75, 125, 107, 114, 74, 106, 106, 126, 125, 83, 120, 85, 84, 126, 107, 76, 71, 122, 100, 92, 116, 87, 102, 75, 127, 93, 98, 95, 70, 123, 95, 119, 122, 69, 122, 106, 123, 121, 102, 103, 117, 81, 110, 89, 71, 98, 97, 103, 116, 122, 70, 114, 126, 123, 70, 126, 117, 98, 114, 72, 124, 93, 114, 66, 77, 82, 71, 66, 82, 98, 75, 70, 80, 86, 72, 89, 75, 110, 106, 109, 71, 91, 101, 95, 120, 105, 114, 107, 70, 113, 112, 103, 95, 121, 96, 121, 77, 119, 84, 120, 120, 108, 84, 75, 81, 95, 114, 124, 87, 69, 96, 84, 79, 113, 70, 111, 64, 99, 127, 79, 65, 100, 114, 122, 75, 77, 92, 107, 99, 115, 125, 120, 104, 113, 103, 75, 119, 101, 77, 118, 76, 105, 71, 102, 86, 91, 91, 77, 83, 103, 67, 106, 76, 68, 110, 69, 102, 115, 109, 76, 125, 124, 90, 84, 112, 91, 79, 108, 94, 77, 127, 106, 108, 76, 85, 82, 69, 64, 96, 85, 120, 83, 110, 72, 113, 112, 70, 67, 108, 102, 97, 83, 65, 79, 90, 75, 73, 80, 68, 117, 121]